Sunday, July 03, 2016

It's Cowboy Christmas and This Cowboy is a Long, Long Way From Home

For those not familiar with what is left of the cowboy West,  the week before and after - the Fourth of July is called the Cowboy Christmas. It's called that because there they are so many rodeos going on at one time in every part of the West that rodeo cowboys - both part and full time - have a hard time trying to figure out which ones to unwrap first. So it is not uncommon for rodeo cowboys to try to hit half-a-dozen – or more – rodeos – during Cowboy Christmas week by sharing private planes – or splitting driving shifts in packed pick-ups.
Now while I never did the rodeo cowboy thing – with a few exceptions – when I first hit the cowboy trail - we did train bucking stock which we sold to stock contractors and we , at times, went to the rodeos to see how they performed… which brings us to today’s tale…
During my first Cowboy Christmas, one of the contractor’s bucking stock couldn’t make it from one rodeo to the next in time and my own personal horse – Mr. D – the buckingest horse that ever lived – just happened to be with me. So with it being a seller’s market in the leasing of bucking broncs – I asked good old Mr. D if he would care to make his rodeo debut and he quickly gave me an eager snort - hell, yes.
The next few days were mighty entertaining for all of us - and particularly, Mr. D, as we watched one cowboy after another go flying in near record times.
So we repeated this several times during the following week. And it was a mighty sad day for Mr. D when we finally returned back to the ranch after our first Cowboy Christmas. The next year, however, due to small rodeo’s close proximity to a much larger rodeo – a couple cowboys who were in the money for that year’s championship showed up – and one of them got instantly tossed by Mr. D as soon as they cleared the chute.
Now as keeping a low profile was always our number one priority, with that kind of attention focused on my horse – we quickly broke camp and left – and returned to the ranch. 
The following year, we hit some smaller rodeos – making certain that no ranking cowboys would be there – but when one person moseyed over to us and asked us... if he was the Cowboy Christmas horse… we quickly packed up and left, thus ending Mr. D’s rodeo career to both our regrets.
So now I am sitting in a loft in Downtown Los Angeles and Mr. D has long been grazing up in horse heaven.  But while my body may be in one place - my mind today will be far way in another time and another place where Mr. D and I are getting ready to celebrate our first Cowboy Christmas.
Because it is Cowboy Christmas and this cowboy is a long way from home.

This is a short version of the Cowboy Christmas story which will be in my upcoming book - "My Cowboy Years; a Memoir of Lives Too Short".

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