Summer Fever

Broncs and Bulls
                I don’t have to tell you, all of the athletes in the finals have busted butt all year long to qualify. Clearly, for the cowboy in the chute, this isn’t his first rodeo. He probably caught the bull riding bug from his dad, who caught it from his own dad, and so-on and so-forth.
                As the chute opens, a meaty, white bull throws his boulder of a head toward the dirt, kicking up his hind hooves, throwing one shoulder forward, pulling all of his mass in a wide arc, along with the chaps and hat on top of him. In a second kick, the cowboy loses his balance and as the bull jumps up, the cowboy falls down.
                As the cowboy goes down, a horrified scream erupts from the bleacher seat behind me.
                Watching the bull, I can see his feet landing in one solid connection with the ground, centering the beast directly over the man.
                The scream has now become a series of connected screams – Ahhh! Ahhhhh! Ahhhh! – And the bull is jumping again, spinning. When he lands, the cowboy is still centered directly beneath him.
                It continues. The bull jumps and spins, jumps and spins. The screams repeat with terror. The cowboy stays on the ground. Four hooves land unified in the dirt… and I can’t help but smile. I can see the magic. As if it is choreographed, the bull comes down, missing the cowboy, every time.
                Finally, the pickup men see their chance and they pull the cowboy one way, pushing the bull the other. The crowd takes a collective sigh of relief and applause echoes through the arena.
                The screams from behind me turn into quiet crying and the voice mutters, “A mother is allowed to be concerned for her son.”
                Her friend supports her by the elbow, leading her down the bleachers and toward the chutes.
                Summer is rodeo season. One cowboy’s mother has just had a heart attack. It won’t be the last one. This is dust and mud, broncs and blood, and her son has the fever.
Over at The Rumpus, readers submitted stories having to do with Summer Fever.
My entry (written above) didn’t make the cut… but these great stories did!