My one rodeo

rodeo horse

My cousins loved to rodeo when we were growing up.
They were riding saddle broncs when we were barely just a pup.

I’d saddled up and rode a horse nearly every single day.
To ride a horse was how we worked and even how we’d play.

But for me to ride a horse whose only purpose is to buck,
is opposite of why I ride, for sure to bring bad luck.

One afternoon a friend of mine was taunting me to ride.
Said, “You say that you don’t like it but you’ve never even tried.”

So with strongest hesitation from listening to a doubtful source.
I was looking out the gate and sitting on a buckin’ horse.

I looked the gateman in the eye then hollered, “Let ‘em out!”
I was gonna learn my lesson of what rodeo’s about.

My so-called friend had teased me, “Give rodeo a try.”
But my grandma’s words were warning me, “First, you better learn to fly.”

And sure as heck the first buck sent me flying in the air.
I guess my dear ol’ grandma knew I’d soon be heading there.

I’ve heard it said that when you bump your head, you’ll see some stars.
Or maybe even hear the angels humming blissful bars.

But friend I’m telling you when I came down and hit my head.
I heard the angels yodeling. Dang sure thought I was dead.

A myriad of stars were flashing right before my eyes.
They were red and green and purple. Were they courting my demise?

My head was pounding like a dozen hammers in my brain.
I felt like I’d been flattened by a runaway freight train.

One cowboy pulled me to the side. He held two fingers up.
I saw his ugly fingers, but I babbled, “Giddyup.”

The cowboy brushed me off. He said, “Just sit here for a spell.”
For once someone with sound advice. He knew I felt like #%&&.

The cutest cowgirl stopped and said, “I know you really tried.
And I’m sure you broke a record with your half-a-second ride.”

Well, I didn’t need her teasing, so I left there hastily.
I knew right then that rodeo was not the sport for me.

That one night of my rodeo has been a long, long while.
And I’ve only ridden saddle horses, a little more my style.

I still love to watch a rodeo, but it jogs my memory.
It makes me glad I’ve got a gentle horse right under me.


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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.



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