Time to Hang 'Em Up

Every cowboy fear this time of his life, the time when it's time to hang up his spurs, and trade his fast, racing horse for a slower ranch work horse. It always comes, whether they want it to or not. For some, however, it comes a lot faster, for others not so much.

Our cowboy here, he was different, but not by much. He live a hard way of way of life, but survived longer than most. Most call him Ranger, as that was his name, but others call him Bandit. This also was his name. The name Bandit had been given to him by several people. A shop owner, another farmer, and even his cousin had given him this name.

He deserved the name Bandit, as he lived up in the mountains with his horses. His stallion had been a horse that was used to steal mares from other herds that farmers had up in the mountains. He often tried to pen his stallion up, but he never managed to keep him that way.

He often did what they called rodeo. Rodeo was a long lost sport. Most had forgotten about it a long time ago. Rodeo was an American tradition, and on top of that, it was a family tradition. It proved who was an actual cowboy, and who just said they were. It separated the man from the boys, as the city folk would say. His father didn't trust him, because he was told he wasn't a man yet. When Ranger turned fourteen, he entered his first rodeo. Out of all the events he could choose from, he picked three, bull riding, bronc riding, and saddle bronc riding. All three were back to back, one after another.

He did just fine in the bronc and saddle bronc riding, for he placed third in one and first in the other. Barrel racing was between bronc and bull riding, so he would have to wait a little while to test his "manhood." Once the racers had passed, he was up first. He got ready, and they turned him loose. Ranger rode a eight second ride, and had eighty nine points. The score was good enough to get him fourth.

Ranger became a legend in his home town, and became famous after his accident. He was in his thirties, and after a long life of bull and bronc riding, he was ready to step up his game that season. He never got the chance to that year. On the first ride of the year, one mistake, and his season was ruined, along with the season after.

He was getting ready to be let out of the shoot, when the bull jumped. He said "hold up," but it didn't reach the other person in time. He had been let out of the shoot with a spur caught on the gate. The bull started bucking, with his hand tied to the bull, and his leg caught on the gate, Ranger was basically being pulled apart.

He somehow managed to get his hand untied, but his body snapped back and hit the ground. The clowns got the bull away, clearing the medics to get to him. He wasn't moving, so everyone feared the worse. He had a neck brace put on, carefully lifted onto a stretcher, strapped down, and carried off.

The next morning when he woke up, he was in the hospital. Ranger had so many needles and tubes in his arm, he couldn't move it, even if it hadn't been strapped to the bed. Shortly after he awoke, a nurse came in. "Good morning Ranger. You've been in a bad accident, so I need you to just stay put." He nodded. "Can you turn on the TV at least? It's way too quiet." She turned the TV on, then changed it to the news channel.

"Bull rider almost killed by bull!" was the story that they were playing, it looked as if it was on repeat. He watched the pictures, and the video, before rolling over the best he could and just listening to it. "Time for Bandit to hang up his spurs for good, unforchantly we will be saying our good byes to this famous rider, for his career is over," the TV said. Just like that, Ranger decided one more ride, once he got better, and that's what he did.

His last ride was on September 4, 2006. He rose a full eight seconds on the bull that ended his career. This same bull ended up putting him in the hospital again. He hung up his spurs, his vest, and his rope, and said goodbye to bull riding forever, shortly after returning to the hospital.

Today, Ranger owns fifty acres not far from where his last ride was. He runs Ranger doesn't ride horses anymore, he taught his son, who taught his, keeping the family legacy alive.