Three Flat | TSLN.com

Three Flat

Baxter Black, DVM
On the Edge of Common Sense

Now everyone I ever knew that did much work with stock has spent some time in practice throwin' houlihans at rocks. And be they real cowboys or pretenders with a hat, all dream of ropin' just one steer in three point nothin' flat!

Now me, I'm not much diff'ernt, I do a little dreamin', and my dream is usually pleasant but I always wake up screamin'! It's a nightmare rank and scary and it turns me gravy pale but since you'all are waitin. I'll continue with the tale.

I've made the National Finals in Las Vegas don't you see, and Clay O'Brien Cooper is my pardner, lucky me.

We're almost in the money when we get our final steer and in my dream I always get to sweatin' right in here.

I'm backed up in the box as the whole crowd quiets down. I shoot a look at Clay and he nods, "Let's go to town!" My horse is at the ready and the steer is pointed right. We need a 3 point 7 to be champions tonight.

I nod my head and out he comes, a'runnin' straight and true. I hear the headgate clangin' and we're just a step or two behind the poundin' footsteps of that corriente ox. I see my chance and throw it, not ten feet from the box.

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Clay, he's like a vision of a 'willer' in the wind; his smooth and graceful loop is flyin' under, down and in.

I look back past my shoulder, see him goin' to the horn, then I feel a solid jerkin'; fer this moment I was born!

I spin around and face him; check the heels, he's got two! I hear the flag a'snappin' and the crowd has come unglued! I glance up to the scoreboard as the speaker says, "THREE FLAT!" I can almost taste that buckle and I'm grinnin' like a cat.

But the crowd begins to groanin'. I get prickles on my skin. The judge is flaggin' NO TIME and the panic's settin' in! I look down at the critter, say a prayer but it's too late. There my head loop, once so pretty, is now a figure eight!

Now Clay, he don't seem bothered, disappointment, he's above. But, dang! I'm really hurtin' as I look down at my glove. It's not humiliation or the fact that I look dumb…I usually wake up screamin' 'cause I've dallied up my thumb!

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