The truth? He was from Colorado. That, and the way his cheeks blushed from attention made him a shoe-in for celebrity, even if no one knew it yet. It surely wasn't his ability to hold a ride or rope a steer, both of which screamed fledgling. Who can say for sure what makes a man dream, or why this young one chose the rodeo? Some say it's the excitement, or the travel, or the visceral lure of man vs. beast. For Roy, it was about conquering the impossible, becoming a man. The other fellas on the circuit called him "slick" and "sissy" and snickered at him as he fed bales of hay to the stock, hanging around waiting for another chance. He'd hoped it wouldn't take forever.

It hadn't. When Chuck Horton broke three ribs on that midnight black bull, they'd needed someone else to fill the show. "This rodeo ain't no carnival, kid. Christ, don't kill yourself." Even though he had the cash to enter, Roy could never muster the qualifying ride. They'd put him out there on the meanest sonofabitch they had every time. He'd fly off at the first buck like clockwork. But tonight they needed another rider to up the purse, and the cash was bigger than their pride. They gave him another shot.

There's a young man that I know, whose age is twenty one
Comes from down in southern Colorado

His hands were shaky and his mind was on an old folk song when they mounted him on the bull that was going to win him that evening's gold buckle. The gate opened, his mouth opened wider, and the two of them bucked and humped to the cheers of a clueless audience. Roy's expression of pure terror made them hoot louder, hoping to give him some cock to his strides as he dug his spurs into the sides of the bull almost accidentally. Nine seconds. Over.

Nobody razzed Roy that night to his face, except for the sorest losers of all. They hinted the stock judge was sweet on him, or that somehow the ride had been less than fair. The kicker of it all was that Roy knew it was a fluke, and that he wasn't any good at bull riding. He could close his eyes to recount the ride and he knew, without a doubt, that he hadn't had any idea what was going on. Hell, he was just trying to keep his hat. It was luck. A fluke. A mistake.

That night he'd dreamed of buckle bunnies baring their chests at him as he dug into each buck, riding the violence with an easy smile. In the dream he was God's gift to women, and they all wanted a piece of Roy the Rider. They waved and writhed and blew kisses in the dusty Texas air at him. Grinning, licking his lips like a wolf as he went ten, eleven, twelve seconds on that bull, he turned. His mother, eyes decayed from time underground, had managed to keep that pursed expression of complete disgust. "Fluuuuuuke," she hissed. Roy woke up screaming and sweating.

The other riders thought it would be funny to use Roy's picture in the promotionals, but the boss had taken a shine to Roy, and figured he could play the fear angle. "Get some new blood up in here, make more green on amateur night we get this here picture up 'front of enough locals." By sunset, Roy's macabre expression was on every utility pole in a 50 mile radius.

While the other riders laid local girls or called home or had huge dinners that stuck to their ribs, Roy paced and dreaded his next go round. He was still replaying the end of his dream as he clambered to the top of the gate, squatting above his beastly fate. What they say about fear is true: it plays funny tricks on time. The hours leading up to the rodeo had flown by, and now the moments before his ride were barely creeping. He looked up for a clock but found her staring at him, eyes wide like a china doll's. He'd seen her before. In his dream, a girl just like her had been dancing to the sound of the bull riding, her nipples punctuating each grind of her hips. He shuddered, shook his head, and looked away. She was gone.

Minutes lurched on and it was Roy's turn. He cleared his mind of the girl and the dream and the gate opened and just as the bull came crashing out of it, he saw her in the stands. The china doll. The siren. A second later the white bull whose name must have been Justice bucked him hard to the ground. He was still shaking as he hobbled back to safety. One second.

On some intuitive level, the kind aligned by cosmos and weird coincidence, he realized he had to beat his fears if he was going to make it big as a cowboy. Like a sacrifice from an understanding God, she stood at the gate. The air turned from humid to determined as he met her gaze. He tried to stride to her, but his limp got in the way. For a second he thought this would defeat him, but in her eyes it was just the right touch. This is about where we left off.

My parents can not stand him, cause he rides the rodeo
My father says that he will leave me crying

Just a few more seconds and it's all over. He bites her neck and grins to himself and lies that he'll call to see how she's doing. His mind is on the prize--tomorrow night's finals--and if he can talk the boss into giving him another shot, he knows he'll best that bull the way he conquered his nightmare. He finds his jeans and hat, strokes her cheek, and whistles a tune all the way back.

He loves his damned old rodeo as much as he loves me
Some day soon, goin' with him some day soon