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A short story by Emma Carpenter.

Something Interesting - Page 1 of 2

There’s nothing more dangerous than a cowboy or cowgirl all dressed up in hats and boots with nowhere to go. They’re usually just itching to do something interesting, as long as “something interesting” can be defined as involving a horse, a rope, and at least a cow or two.

At Hennessey, Oklahoma one year Bill and Danny were at the rodeo arena late on a Friday morning when the owner of the local sale barn pulled in. The sale barn at Hennessey was only a couple of blocks from the arena, which was only a couple of blocks from downtown, which was only a couple of blocks from the main residential area. It seems a bull had jumped out of the pens at the sale barn and had taken off running through town until he had disappeared into a maze of houses, backyard grills, flower beds, and hedges. The guy wanted to know if Bill and Danny would go rope the bull for him, which was a lot like asking a couple of bored Labrador puppies if they wanted to go for a swim.

The head and neck of a black bull

Bill and Danny took off running to catch a couple of saddle horses out of the arena. The sale barn owner gave Danny his business card in case they needed to get a hold of him, and they were soon riding along the edge of town toward the last known place the bull had been seen. Our friend Tiny followed along behind them with a pickup and trailer.

Before too long Bill and Danny had picked up the bull’s tracks and had followed him into an area that was a checkerboard of driveways, mobile homes, and the occasional camping trailer. Each home was sitting on an acre or so of ground and separated from the others by electric wire fencing. Some of it was actually plugged in and working.

The bull was a black, Angus-type cross and when Bill and Danny first saw him he was peeking around the corner of one of the mobile homes a couple of acres away, spying on them. He had already run through about half the wire in the entire area, knocking down rebar posts, snapping plastic insulators, and spreading the wire itself everywhere over the ground.

There was no harm done to his heavy leather hide, but the huge mess of wire, some down on the ground, some still up on the posts, put the odds heavily in his favor. A horse trying to follow his path would be slowed or stopped completely. By any standards this meant the bull had a huge advantage, and that Bill and Danny were about to get to do something interesting.

They had a hard time getting close to him at first. The bull was figuring things out fast, and soon realized that the wire, up or down, had some kind of magic affect on his pursuers. He used this knowledge to his full advantage: Whenever a horse got close he’d snort and run for the nearest shred or tangle of wire like an outlaw running for sanctuary. Instead of getting a chance to rope the bull, Bill and Danny spent most of their time keeping their horses out of the wire, and zig-zagging around mobile homes, above ground pools, and storage sheds.

After about a half hour of bovine tip-toe-through-the-trailers, the bull trotted back into a stretch of ground where most of the wire had been drug off in other directions. It was about three property’s worth, enough for a saddle horse to really line out and trail without too much wire to snag him up.

The bull was standing with his body flat against the long side of one of the houses, making sure he was at the very end of it so he could poke just his nose and eyes around the corner to see if anyone was getting close. Even though he was behind the house and was using a flower bed full of bright, chin high flowers for partial cover, Bill caught site of his nose and the comparatively wire-free stretch of ground. He aimed his horse at the bull the way NASA aims a rocket at the stars and let him go.

Blackie the bull spun like a reining horse and was at top speed in two strides. He got to the far end of the first house just as Bill reached the opposite end, and he instinctively swerved to cross the property line and run by the next house on the opposite side.

Bill was gaining. He was now about half a house away, and Blackie dug deep for more speed and more ideas. He got to the end of the second home, trying hard to convert his wilderness instincts into suburban-savvy survival skills. He cornered the end of the second home on two legs leaning hard, his rump banging the corner of it as he blew by. When Bill galloped by the same corner a couple of strides later he could still hear the picture frames swinging on the walls inside.

A quarter of the way down the side of the third house Bill’s red horse had gained enough ground, and they were momentarily clear enough of canvas awnings, tricycles, and satellite dishes, that Bill could make a throw. He swung, and a second later the loop of his rope flew over the head of the running bull.

Continued on page 2......


Something Interesting - Page 1

Something Interesting - Page 2


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About The Author

Emma Carpenter and her husband Bill are the owners of the website. Emma is the administrator of the website, and when not writing articles for other areas of CowboyWay she enjoys writing the occasional short story.

For many years Bill and Emma maintained a small cow/calf herd while also doing day work for area ranchers in the Kansas Flint Hills. The Carpenters are retired from Carpenter Rodeo Company, a family owned rodeo company that put on rodeos in Kansas and Oklahoma for over 40 years. They still own a small cow/calf herd.


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