It Could Have Been Worse (Best Of)
Hanging around renegade livestock all my life has taught me that no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse.
For instance, there was the wild bucking bull in Reno decades ago who celebrated Independence Day by jumping over the rodeo arena fence, frightening several hundred onlookers and doing extensive damage before knocking over a portable toilet in the parking lot. The bull of nondescript origin did not just politely tap the modern day outhouse over, he sent it sailing through the air before landing on its roof. When I mentioned the incident to the rodeo contractor who owned the renegade bull he replied, “It could of been worse.”
“How,” I asked thinking of all the potential lawsuits.
“Hey, I could have been the guy inside the toilet at the time.”
A similar incident occurred in Billings when a crazy bovine bull dozed his way out of the arena and hid out in the City Park. I am told the entire city went on “full bull alert.” When they finally did catch the bull five weeks later he was renamed, LongTimeNoSee.
It could have been worse. It could have been Central Park in New York City instead of Billings and the bull never would have made it out alive.
Then there was the Longhorn sale we had at the County Fairgrounds in Elko 25 years, or so, ago. The cattle were docile and so the organizers of the sale saw no need for a very substantial sale ring. For some unknown reason a bull got on the prod and decided to sharpen his horns on the pipe sale ring. He lifted the whole thing up with his horns and ran underneath into a packed set of bleachers. After the bleachers tipped over backwards someone had the presence of mind to open the door of the sale pavilion.
The bull saw his opening and ran through the door and on to Interstate 80. After the incident the sale manager told me, “it could’ve been a lot worse. Luckily this is the cow town of Elko and people around here are used to having the freeway blocked by cattle. It could have been a more booming metropolis, like Winnemucca, for instance.”
By far the worst renegade I’ve ever seen was a big bad bull at the Arizona National in Phoenix one year. This bull had been meaner than a biting boar all his life and really should not have been brought to town. Especially a town with so many freeways!
A bee got in the bull’s bonnet and the show bull went berserk, clearing several fences before proceeding the wrong way down Interstate 17 headed for Flagstaff. Alex, who is a friend of mine with no shortage of sand in his craw, took off like a cut cat, jumping into the back of the pickup, and yelling for another friend to get in and drive. They sped after the riled and ringy bull and caught up with him about Prescott. But not before driving over median strips, big boulders, and generally creating fifty miles of highway in the desert that did not exist prior.
The skillful driver was able to wheel the truck next to the bull who then rammed the side of the new pickup with his hard head. Several times in fact. With one swing of his loop Alex ably got a rope on the bull and dallied to the broken bumper. The new truck now looked like it had just been in a demolition derby… and lost!
Later when Alex returned to Phoenix as the conquering cowboy hero I referred to the terrifying incident.
“It could have been worse,” said Alex.
“You mean it could have been your bull,” I joked.
“No,” said Alex. “It could have been my truck.”