Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bulls, Ropes and Georgia Cowboys

This story is more or less true, but it happened several years ago and the events have gotten cloudy with time and embellishment. I've heard about 20 different versions of it over the years, but most of the facts stay the same, so it's most likely somewhere in the vicinity of the truth, or at least what passes for the truth nowadays.

There's a fellow down the road a ways that used to rodeo in a serious manner. He's still involved in it, but not so much a participant as a promoter these days. Bigger Brother, back when he was younger and more foolish, used to run around with this fellow. That's where I heard this story the first time.

When CL retired from competing in rodeos, he got into another aspect of the sport. Raising roughstock to sell to the companies that put on rodeos.

Primarily bulls. And not just any bulls either. He had some cows that were a Charolais/Brahama cross. I'm talking some mean-ass critters... the kind you don't go into the brush after without a horse, a dog and gun.

Dadgum Braymer's is mean anyway. And just 'cause they're crossbred don't always help their disposition none either.

One day one of his neighbors called him up raising sand because one of his bulls had got out was playing hob with this neighbors fences and garden.

Here's where all the stories conflict. I've heard many different tales about who exactly was with CL when he saddled up his horse and went to retrieve his wayward bovine, but whoever it was, he was in over his head at the cowboying business.

The two of 'em saddled up and went after the bull, found him without too much trouble and started trying to work him out in the open to where they could try to run him home.

Well, he didn't want to go home. CL finally got disgusted and shook out a loop and roped him. Just as pretty as you please.

The bull took umbrage at this. Seems he didn't like having that rope wrapped around his horns. After shaking his head a few times to try and lose the rope, he got mad.

I mean really, really mad. As in crazy as hell Brammer Bull mad.

He went after CL. Now, CL is a pretty good cowboy. He'd handled cows all his life and he'd won some serious money as a roper back in his younger days. So he could pretty well take care of himself when it comes to dealing with outraged bovines.

And it probably helped that he was on the hurricane deck of a pretty good cowhorse.

He played tag with that bull for a few minutes before he decided that either him or the horse was about to get hurt. He started hollering at the fellow that had rode out there with him to "heel him!"

"Heel him!" Heeling, in roper parlance, means to get a rope around the critters back legs. That's pretty much the only way to get a big one down on the ground. And this bull was a big 'un.

I'd say CL probably needed some clean underwear about then, because the boy that was helping him shouted back "I don't know how!"

"Well now'd be a good time to learn!"

After several misses, the other fellow finally managed to get a rope around one back leg. They brought the bull down, which stunned him long enough for CL to make a couple of passes around a convenient telephone pole.

They left him there until they could come back with a stock trailer and a tranquilizer gun.