Wyoming’s Miss Congeniality – the life of a bucking horse
I had so much fun on the Fourth of July at Belle Fourche, SD, that when we got on the trucks to drive across Wyoming and go to Vernal, UT, I was still excited.
In case you didn’t read my last chapter, Lyle Welling, from Crawford, NE, won the rodeo on me. It was especially great because my foal, little Miss Sassy Britches was with me. All the other mares had their babies with them as well and it was a good learning experience for them.
We left Belle Fourche on July 6th and headed to Vernal. It’s not a bad trip, just 600 miles of Wyoming scenery. When we got to Vernal we had a couple of days to settle in before going to work. The rodeo was July 9-12 and I was in the first and last performances.
The night of July 9th, they sorted me out of the pen. I ran down the alley and headed to work. I was wondering who was going to ride me and heard it was going to be Shaun Stroh. Well I know this guy is tough. I was at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time in 2004 when he got bucked off in the second round, fractured his back and continued to ride.
I know this guy rides really well and we’re going to have some fun. I’m in the chute being my usual congenial self. Shaun takes care of his end, quietly and quickly putting the saddle on me. He measures his bronc rein, steps over the chute, settles down on my back and nods his head.
They open the gate and I stalled a little. I tried that in Belle Fourche, thinking it would rattle Lyle’s cage, but it really didn’t work. That time, they shut the gate, Lyle regrouped and it was on. This time, I could tell it wasn’t going to get to Shaun at all, so I just took one humongous leap out of there.
When I landed, Shaun was right with me and we started the party. He matched me jump for jump and when the judges added up the scores, we had a 90-point ride. I was happy. I think Shaun was happy too.
While I was waiting in the chutes, I heard him talking to the other guys about his family. They were all giving him a bad time about being the lucky guy to draw the big bay mare – that would be me – and I heard him say he’s got five kids. Well me being a mom, that set me to thinking about a cowboy’s life and I was honestly hoping that he would ride me and we’d get him to the pay window. I was thinking he could use the money.
He’s got four boys and one girl, the good news for him is he doesn’t have four girls and one boy. I know all about how high maintenance daughters can be. But my heart goes out to his wife. He’s out here trying to ride me and she’s home with five kids. She’s got to be tough.
I have two nights off before my next trip at the rodeo. And, I put the time to good use trying to instill those patience lessons on Miss Sassy Pants. She wants to know everything and do it now. I got back to the pen after Shaun rode me and she was saying that she thought I should have kicked harder and if it was her, she would have thrown him out of the arena.
I told her she’d get her turn and if she does what I tell her, listens to Khadafy, world champion bareback horse and mentor to all of Powder River Rodeo’s bucking horses, and follows her instincts she will get her chance.
After two days off, I was ready again. I waited patiently in the pens until sorting time. I was so excited, it didn’t even bother me that Miss Sassy Pants kept telling me what I should do when I got in the arena. This time it was Kaleb Asay that drew me. I’m thinking this is a Wyoming cowboy and wouldn’t it be cool to have a Wyoming cowboy and Wyoming bucking horse win the rodeo in Utah.
I knew I was going to have to turn it up a notch if we were going to beat the 90-point ride that Shaun had Wednesday night. But, it is Saturday night and these fans are wild. I was so pumped up I had to really work to stay quiet in the box and give Kaleb a fare shot.
I hear Roger Mooney talking about me and how Shaun is leading the rodeo on me. Kaleb is calm and talking to me and I think this is just another day at the office. Finally, it’s our turn and I explode out of the chute again. I guess I exploded a little too much, because Kaleb didn’t hold his feet, missed me out and got a no score.
I’m not sure who was more disappointed. That guy rode me really well and we could have really put some big numbers on the scoreboard. That makes me happy. If I buck a guy off honestly, that’s okay, but that mark-out rule doesn’t really help my record. I’d much rather have a new arena record.
So, I give myself five minutes to get over it and head back to the pens and I now have a whole new story and explanation for Miss Sassy Pants and all of the babies. They were glad to have us moms back and all in all behaved pretty well.
The next morning they back my truck up to the loading chute and I’m ready to get in it. They headed north and when we went through Rock Springs, I knew we were headed home. I have mixed emotions about going home because I know that it’s time for Miss Sassy Pants to stay there and let me focus on my job. Her lessons with me have come to a close for a while and as independent as she is, I know she will do just fine.
We weren’t home very long so I didn’t get to dwell on what was going on in my personal life. It was time to load up and head for Rock Springs. We went over there for the Red Desert Roundup, July 24-25. Because there’s a little rodeo down the road in Cheyenne known as the “Daddy of ’em All,” we always get good contestants at Rock Springs. I was excited to go and was hoping I’d draw Rusty Allen, or Chad Ferley. Or, maybe even Chet Johnson who has yet to be successful on me. I’m sure he’d like another opportunity and he is one of my friends on MySpace.
Boy was I surprised when I found out who would ride me. He’s from my hometown of Riverton, but I had never heard of him. I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with this rookie Justin Mills. I could tell he was excited and maybe a little nervous about getting on me. It was business as usual until they opened the gate.
I took my usual big jump out of the gate and he stayed with me. Another jump and he was still there. Well, I thought about those babies that want to grow up to be like me and I let this guy have it. I bucked higher and harder than I had all year and he got loose. My front feet hit the ground and he came out of the saddle. I kept bucking, he came over my neck and it was over.
So far I’ve been to three rodeos and they’ve won two of them on me. I’m still inspired to keep the legend of the Wyoming bucking horse alive and spread the word about our great state. So I’m really excited to tell that we’ve added that to my name. I will now be known as Wyoming’s Miss Congeniality and the first place I’ll be bucking with that title will be at Caldwell, Idaho, for the Ariat Playoffs. I’m sure I’ll have more great stories to share!
My name is Wyoming’s Miss Congeniality and I’m proud to be a bucking horse!
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Anthony Halby, who founded his Halby Group Inc. insurance company half a century ago, has died just three days short of his 72nd birthday.