Friday, July 11, 2008

Miss C Hits the Road

When I saw cowboys on horseback riding into the pasture, I knew it was time for me to go rodeoing again. They gathered us up and took us to ranch headquarters where my truck was waiting.

I say it’s my truck and while I’ll ride in any trailer that will get me to a rodeo, this is the one I like best. Powder River Rodeo has one truck with my name on it and I love riding in a trailer behind it. So my traveling partners and all of our babies load on the truck and head east.

I’m pretty sure that we are on our way to Belle Fourche, SD. That’s usually where we are on the Fourth of July, and the Black Hills Round-Up is the second place I ever had a cowboy on my back. It has a real special place in my heart, especially now since it is the first trip my babies make with me. I think it’s real important for all of them to get on the trailer and have a rodeo experience when they are little. It prepares them for their future and gives them a taste of life as a bucking horse.

I kept an eye on the highway and watched the scenery along the road. There sure was lots of green grass traveling across Wyoming. The more we drove, the more convinced I became that we were on our way to Belle Fourche and I started getting excited.

My baby was being her usual self and wanted to know why we left the ranch and where we were going. I know she hasn’t got a professional name yet, but I call her Miss Sassy Pants. She is so sassy and sometimes she gets a little too big for her britches.

So I tell her that the one thing I haven’t really talked to her about is patience and that’s something she needs to learn if she is going to grow up to be a bucking horse. We had plenty of time to talk about that and I think she started to

We got to Belle Fourche a few days before the rodeo started. It gave us time to rest and more time to explain to our babies what was going on. The first day of the rodeo came around and I’m waiting to be sorted out of my pen. I watched and waited and I was a little disappointed when they left me in my pen.

The next day started early. We got fed and there was a lot of commotion at the grounds because of the parade. I’m watching horses coming and going and floats go by, so I know that today is the big day at the Black Hills Round-Up. It’s the Fourth of July and we’re going to have an afternoon performance. Sure enough, I get sorted out of my pen, along with Sundowner and Tangle Ridge and our babies. We’re in a pen in back of the bucking chutes and I’m pacing back and forth by the gate. I can’t wait to go kick up my heels in front of the crowd.

Miss Sassy Pants kept asking me what was happening. I told her I was going to be away from her for a few minutes that she needed to stay calm and pay attention. I finally had to push her away from me and explained I needed some time to get my game face on.

They opened the gate and I ran down the alley to the bucking chute. My heart is racing and I can’t wait to see who the lucky cowboy is that gets to try to ride me. They told me that Lyle Welling from Crawford, NE would get on me.

I’m thinking ‘who in the world is this guy?’ I’ve been to a lot of rodeos and never heard of him and I don’t expect much from him. So I’m in the chute and this tall lanky guy brings my Miss Congeniality halter and slips it over my head. He’s so calm and quiet I’m wondering if he knows who I am.

He puts his saddle on, measures the bronc rein and takes care of business like he knows what he is doing. I’m pretty calm in the chute, just waiting for the gate to open so I can plant this guy in the dirt. Well he pats my neck several times and I figure out that he knows who I am and I might have my work cut out for me.

They saved me for the last bronc ride of the day, so I got to watch my friends. Then the announcer, Chad Nicholson, starts talking about me and I know we’re getting close. Lyle settles down on my back and the guy is still calm as a cucumber.

He nods his head. They open the gate and I decide I need to rattle his cage a little bit so I just stood there. They closed the gate again and I expect him to get off and regroup. He just stayed right there, got settled again and nodded his head and it was game on.

I came out of the chute with my usual first big jump and surprise surprise, Lyle was still with me. I bucked, twisted my back end and he matched me jump for jump. Wow, this guy can ride. The buzzer went off and the pick-up men moved in.

I got to take a little lap around the arena. My mane was flying and I held my head up because even though Lyle rode me he did a great job. As soon as they got his saddle off, I headed back to the pen and Miss Sassy Pants.

She was glad to see me and full of questions again. She couldn’t see the arena, so I explained everything that happened. My lecture on patience must have worked because she listened to everything that I told her. We hung out in Belle Fourche another day before getting on the truck to go to Vernal, UT for the Dinosaur Roundup.

We headed west and when we got to Gillette, it reminded me I was near Wright, WY, where I was born. Then I saw a sign for Casper and it reminded me of the time I bucked at the College National Finals Rodeo there.

The road is full of memories and stories and I’m going to make more this year. We drove through Rock Springs, WY. I will be bucking there sometime during the Red Desert Roundup, July 24-26. I love that rodeo too. We always get good contestants because there is a little rodeo down the road in Cheyenne known as the “Daddy of ‘em All” and a lot of the guys try to work both.

I’m getting back into shape and ready for the rest of the year. Miss Sassy Pants is getting bigger and it’s time for her to let her independent nature shine. I think she’ll be leader of the foal pack and spend the rest of the summer growing at the ranch in Riverton. She’s learned a lot going to Belle Fourche and Vernal with me, and if she uses those lessons, she will also have a great life as a bucking horse.

My name is Miss Congeniality and I’m proud to be a Wyoming bucking horse.

Image Captions:

Little Miss Sassy Pants sneaking a peak underneath Miss Congeniality’s neck.

Lyle Welling and Miss Congeniality waiting for their turn at the Black Hills Round-Up Rodeo in Belle Fourche, S.D., on July 4th.

Pick up man Jeff Rector leads Miss Congeniality out of the arena after a successful performance at the Black Hills Round-Up.

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