By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 47

The trip back seemed shorter somehow, I don’t know why.  Maybe it was because we had so much to talk about.  We did get some rest while we were on the road. Most of the time, when it was time to walk the ponies and change drivers,  granddad or I would go to the bedroom and get some sleep.  We even made better time on the return trip.  Granddad suggested we might have a tail wind.  I groaned, but Rocky and Socks thought his pun was funny.  

We arrived at the Claymore ranch at five-ten in the morning.  The Claymores were already up doing chores.  Cindy and the girls were in the kitchen cooking breakfast.  Gip and the boys came out to greet and congratulate us.  He got a call from his dad Sunday afternoon telling them to expect him and his family sometime Tuesday.  They were leaving early Monday but they weren’t going to push it.  They would stay the night in El Paso or Fort Stockton.

We unloaded the ponies and Gip and granddad took them to the barn.  I parked the double ‘R’ in its space, but I didn’t hook it up.  I told Gip I’d wait and hook it up the following weekend.  I think Curtis wanted to get on the road back to the ranch right away, but Gip wouldn’t hear of it until we had breakfast with them.  He told Curtis his grandson needed to eat, he was still a growing boy.  Granddad raised an eyebrow at his nonsense, but good naturedly agreed with him.  We had a great breakfast and told the Claymores about the miraculous things we experienced over the weekend.   They couldn’t believe Socks was pregnant with Rocky’s foal.   We told him Griz confirmed it.

We finally got on the road to the Lazy 8 and made good time.  It was all blacktop country roads, and there wasn’t much traffic on a Monday morning.  We arrived at the ranch a couple of hours later.  We put our gear away, said ‘hello’ to Will, and went to the remuda to get a pony.  By this time, Curtis and I only had to think of a pony we’d like to work with and they’d be there waiting.  Big Red was waiting for me and one of Granddad’s favorites was waiting for him.  Red kept trying to get into my head.  He was curious about our weekend and about his friend Socks.  Beyond niceties, I told him I’d tell him when I told my partner, but I assured him he was in for a pleasant surprise.

<< We heard all about you and your grandsire winning the rodeo in Tucson. >>   he told me.

I assumed correctly,  they overheard Bart telling everyone.  I called him on his cell phone I gave him for his birthday.  I included a years service so he could keep in touch with me and his family.  It’s a great tool to have on the ranch, when you can’t find your partner.  Big Red continued,

<< I’m right proud of my man-colt, Casey. >>

<< Thanks, Red,— coming from you, ‘at’s just about the best compliment a cowboy kin git.   You proud enough of me to think on me as yore’ ‘man-stallion’ yet? >>  I laughed, teasing him.

<< Not yet, man-colt.  I done told ju’ not to hurry none about git’n there.   You’ll be there plenty damn quick, but once I tell you, you’s a ‘man-stallion,’ you cain’t never go back.  You done told me and your grandsire you wanted to be a cowboy for several seasons ‘cause you didn’t want the responsibilities what comes with maturity right now.  ‘Side ‘at, I still got a few things to teach my man-colt.  You don’t worry yore’self none about it, Big Red will let chu’ know when you’s a ‘man-stallion.’  >>  I heard him laugh.  He was in a good mood and I could tell he was happy to have me back.  Ponies worry sometimes about the ones they love.

<< I’ll trust yore’ judgement, Red.  If’n you cain’t trust yore’ pony’s judgement,— who’s a man-colt to trust? >>

<< Well said, man-colt,— that statement brought you one giant step closer to becoming a man-stallion. >> we shared a laugh.

Curtis looked over at me and grinned.  He no longer asked.  He knew I was talking with one of the ponies, probably Red, and was laughing at something he said.  I told him what Red told me and we shared a laugh.

“Red’s a wise pony, Son.  I think you should listen to him.  I don’t want chu’ grow’n up too fast.  My old heart aches sometime ‘cause I missed seeing you grow up.  I ain’t in no hurry for you to git there neither.  ‘Sides,—” he paused, “yore’ old grandpappy’s got a lot to learn from his grandson, and you jes’ might learn a thing or two from me.”

“I already have, Boss man. I’ve learned a lot from you this past year.”

We caught up with the others and they all gathered to hear us tell about our trip and rodeo experience.   It was a lazy day so Curtis let us sit around on our ponies and jaw for a little while with each other.  I didn’t tell them about the miraculous parts.  I was saving that for my partner, but we covered the parts that was of most interest to them.  We told them we were pretty sure we had at least six out of the dozen men we talked with coming to cowboy with us.  They were happy to hear that, and we still had the Chapel Creek rodeo to recruit a couple.  Curtis told them he was optimistic about our prospects for some good, solid, hard working buckaroos.

 I asked Granddad how we were going to choose from among the men who might actually show up.  He told me we’d take them all on for a trial period of six weeks.  He said some would drop out after the first two weeks, more after the next two weeks and by the end of the six weeks, if too many were left, we’d cull the herd.  Sounded good to me.  Every man would be given an equal chance to prove himself.  I began to think about all the men we talked with.  Most were genuine cowboys, but I wondered if one middle aged man who talked with us in Tucson would come for the trial period.  He was an unusual character to say the least.

He was a tall, raw boned, strange looking man with a large nose that gave a slight hook on the end and ears that stuck out from his head to rival Dumbo’s.  He reminded me of the Disney character “Ichibod Crane” from the film “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow.”  I think he purposely waited until the other cowboys talked with us and went their way.  We were getting ready to leave, when I saw him walking toward us.  I’d seen him looking at granddad and me in a strange way, but I couldn’t imagine what he might be thinking.  I would never touch the man’s mind to find out.  His private thoughts were none of my business.  I couldn’t tell if he was looking at us with lust, envy or nostalgia.  I learned much later, it was an equal mixture including a bit a melancholy.  As he walked toward us I noticed his gait was not like a regular cowboy’s.

He didn’t walk with his hips slung slightly forward, slinging his boots from side to side in the typical cowboy swagger.  Instead he walked like his knees were not happy with each other and kept a constant battle going on about which one should be in what place at any given time.  He looked like he might have suffered rickets as a child.  He didn’t place the ball of his foot down first like a normal man or cowboy might walk.  He very carefully place one foot in front of the other with his complete foot hitting the ground at the same time.

He was dressed in what looked like a pair of designer jeans that were too short for his lanky height and didn’t come to the bottom of his expensive looking pair of cowboy boots.  Cowboy’s call it a ‘high water’ look which is a none too subtle put down of folks who don’t know how to dress ‘cowboy.’  He was wearing a nice enough Western shirt but it just seemed out of place to the rest of his ensemble.  He had on a straw hat that looked like he got it out of a time machine from the sixties.  It was too sharply turned up on the sides and curved back in at the top to look like it was something a Victorian stealth engineer might design or an abbreviated male version of the flying nun.  I imagine him being blown away in a stiff wind,  carried up to the jet stream by his supersonic cowboy hat.

On the front of his hat was a fan or spay of multicolored feathers. There was a beaded tassel hanging down the back with more feathers that blew about in the breeze as he walked.  His hair was shoulder length and tied into a pony tail at the back.  It seemed to flow out from beneath his strange looking hat and only added to his peculiar look.  He looked like a disco cowboy reject from the seventies.  My first impression was, the man had no clue how to dress Western and his attire was a bad attempt or parody on cowboys.  If I wasn’t a cowboy and taught to be considerate, I might have thought his dress was almost a deliberate attempt to insult buckaroos everywhere.  He came to us and spoke to granddad first.  He shook Curtis’ hand and then mine.

“Gentlemen, my name is Evelyn Le Fleur.”  he introduced himself in all seriousness.  His voice sort of startled me.  I was expecting a rather highpitched voice.  Instead, Mr. Le Fleur had a, deep, fluid, masculine, baritone tenor of his speech which was rich and full of Western twang and patterns;  a decided dichotomy from his appearance.  He pronounce his first name accentuating the ‘E’ as a long vowel that came out as ‘Evil-lun.’  I almost laughed, but I knew better.  He never bothered to explain his name.  Because of his confident delivery, it was as if he never considered we might find it strange, and just expected it to be accepted as one cowboy to another; there was neither any discussion nor explanation needed.  Curtis introduced himself and me to Mr. Le Fleur.

“I’d like to congratulate you gentlemen on your performance today.  I was most impressed with your skills, and Mr. Longhorn, you are an exceptionally talented, fine looking young man.  Congratulations on winning the calf roping competition.  I can tell your granddad is very proud of you, and well he should be.  You men’s unusual eyes speak volumes about your love for one another.  It’s nice to see in this day and age.”

He had me at ‘exceptionally talented.’  We graciously thanked him for his praise,  granddad admitted he was more than a bit proud of me, and his observations were correct, we loved each other very much.  Mr. Le Fleur explained he attended the rodeo because he was in town for the funeral of a dear friend and decided to stay over for the weekend.  He explained he had made a fortune as a young man, lost it all, but picked himself up and made his fortune back again.  He was retired, and he didn’t have to work anymore if he didn’t want to; however, now, he was widowed, his children grown and scattered,  he was bored with his life and looking for something to do to fill the void.  It mattered little to him what the pay might be, but some recompense for a job well done was, in a way, a welcome sign of appreciation.

He explained how he had a rough childhood and was left on the doorstep of his great uncle, a widower living by hiimself on a ranch in Wyoming, who never had any children.  His uncle reluctantly took him in with the understanding he had to work for his keep.   He told us he was in the saddle from the time he was a boy of ten and remained a cowboy until he was almost twenty.  He worked everyday on the ranch for his meager upkeep provided by his  uncle.  He said he knew his way around horses and was pretty good with a rope; although, he admitted he hadn’t roped in years.  While it was a rough life, he remembered it as being one of the happiest times of his life.  He said he quickly learned in the cowboy world a man wasn’t judged by his name or appearance, but by his work and his abilities.  He heard the announcement we were hiring and wondered if it might be a chance for him to reclaim some of that happiness.

Strangely enough, I sat aside my prejudice of his dress and began to feel some empathy for him.  I was doing the same thing he was talking about.  I was trying to prolong a part of my youth to seek that carefree happiness and contentment; however,  I thought for sure, granddad would be put off by him, and graciously explain to him we were looking for younger, working cowboys who could hit the ground running.  My grandsire had another surprise in store for me.  Curtis was warm, generous, and gracious with the man.  He gave him his card and a couple of brochures.  He told him if he was still interested after the Fourth of July to contact him and arrange a visit to the ranch to look it over.  He told the man of the trial period for all cowboys and while he was looking for certain things in his men, he considered himself a fair minded man.

Mr. Le Fleur thought the trial period was a great idea for both parties.  He allowed it certainly would be plenty of time for him to decided if he wanted to continue, if he was fortunate enough to be considered for hiring.  He understood he would be coming to the job in a less than optimal position having to use skills he hadn’t used in years, but he was hoping it was like anything a man learns to do well,— he never forgets how to do it.  He and Curtis talked for sometime, then Mr. Le Fleur graciously thanked us, shook our hands, said his goodbyes and left with a smile on his face.  

“You was right, Grampa.  I still got me some things to learn from you.”

“You mean because I was nice to the man and didn’t turn him away?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I couldn’t, Son.  If’n he really was a cowboy at one time, he knows about the cowboy way, and he could tell in an instant if I was being dishonest with him or trying to shine him on.  Chances are, we may never hear from him again, but if we do and he’s interested, I don’t see no reason not to give the man a chance.  He may look funny to us now, but trust me, if he works out, in six months you won’t be able to tell him from one of the other buckaroos.  Men have a way of want’n to blend in to be accepted.  If’n I was a betting man, I’d wager he probably can hold his own with most of our buckaroos.”

I wouldn’t accept granddad’s bet if he offered.  I had a feeling he was a better judge of horseflesh than I probably would ever be.  I thought about granddad’s comments and remembered when I was talking with Big Red.  I realized I had a lot to learn from both.

* * * * * * *

I finally was alone with my saddle partner.  I told Bart everything that happened, and he marveled at my story.  He never looked like I was telling him a tall tale.  I think he believed every word.

“Only you, brother,—”  was all he said, as he smiled and shook his head.

Bart was looking forward to the Fourth of July Rodeo and us roping together.  Like most of the smaller rodeos they allow you to rope with multiple partners.  You pay your entry fee as a team, you rope as a team.  Bart knew I would be roping with my granddad as well.

* * * * * * *

It was a short week, and it flew by.  It was like I laid down to sleep that first night, but when I woke up the next morning, it was Thursday.  Curtis told Wade to have us knock off work about eleven so those going into town could be ready to go by noon.  Will had sack lunches for us to eat on the way.  All the cowboys going into Chapel Creek were loaded and ready to go by a quarter ‘til twelve.

Spirits were high as we ate our lunches and drove into town.  Brett and Curt planned to enter several events at the rodeo.  They were going to enter team roping, but Curt was going to enter the saddle bronc event and Brett the bull riding event.  The Lazy 8 would be well represented at the Chapel Creek rodeo.

We got to the sheriff station and the sheriff,  his deputies and secretaries came out to greet us.  Gip was so glad to have his boys home for the last time.  Granddad and I  said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to Hank and Brent Conners.  They came to pick up Bart and said they were looking forward to seeing us the next day at the rodeo and picnic.  Hank was impressed, the sheriff himself personally called to invite him and Brent along with Bart.  They left and Gip pulled me aside.

“Think yore’ granddaddy would let you hang around the station with me for a spell to discuss a few things about the rodeo tomorrow, Son?”  the sheriff asked in a needy voice.  I laughed at him.

“Don’t think he’d have no problem with it, Sheriff Claymore, but I didn’t git around to hooking up the coach before I left.  He won’t have no lights or water if he goes out there to wait for me.”

“No problem, I done hooked it up for you.  I opened it up to air it out a bit.  H’it’s open and all set.”  he grinned at me.  

“You turkey.”  I said lovingly to him and grinned real big.  He threw back his handsome head and roared with laughter.  I laughed with him.  Gip was so terminally full of himself, of love and life,  he was contagious.  He’d thought of everything.  I told him I’d ask granddad.  I walked over to Curtis.  He saw me and Gip talking and the smile on my face as I approached him.  He had a wry smile on his face.  He knew what Gip wanted.

“Uhh,— Mr. Langtry, Sir,— the sheriff would like to know if’n it’s all right with you if I might hang around the station with him for a while to talk about the rodeo tomorrow, and he’ll bring me on out to the ranch in a bit?”

“Why, I don’t mind, Son.  Gimme’ yore’ key to the coach, and I’ll be there wait’n for you.  I’ll get myself cleaned up.”

“I’d rather you wait, Sir.”  I smiled as I handed him the key.
He got my message, grinned and shook his head.  He leaned in close to say something the others couldn’t hear.

“‘Air’s zonely one Rodeo that man wants to talk to you about, Son, and h’it ain’t the one tomorrow.”  he laughed, “You tell the sheriff I said he better damn well leave me big ole help’n.”

“Ah, hell, ramrod,— there’s always plenty for you, Sir.”  I assured him.

I got my small bag I needed, and the truck departed for the ranch with the cowboys.  Gip invited them all to stay at the Claymore’s over the holiday.  Little Gip and Waddie Buck weren’t the least surprised I was staying for a while with their dad.  They both knew what my small bag contained.  They were good men.  They didn’t mind sharing their dad, or their brother for that matter.  They grinned and told me to have a good time.  I told them I always did.

I was surprised when we walked into the station,  there was hardly anyone there.   Only two deputies were on duty.  Gip let everyone go when we arrived to get ready for the weekend.  The Fourth of July was a big event for the small town.  Gip closed down the station for Thankgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July rodeo.  The only time he’d have anyone there during the holidays was if they had a prisoner waiting trial or being transferred.  Then he’d only have one man left to guard.  They didn’t have anyone in jail so he was closing down for tomorrow.  The two deputies would only have to work until ten and then they could go home to their families.

Gip told his deputies we weren’t to be disturbed.  He’d check back with them in a while, then we’d be heading out to the ranch.  They smiled and assured him they wouldn’t let anyone disturb us.  They were no dummies.  They knew what the sheriff and I were up to.  Gip treated his men with respect and they respected him in return.  If a new deputy said something bad or off color about the sheriff, he didn’t last long.

I followed Gip to his apartment.  He closed and locked the door behind us.  I threw my bag on the bed and opened my arms to him.  He came to me like a little boy who hadn’t seen his best bud in a while, except the kiss he planted on me was far more than brotherly.  I certainly didn’t mind.  ‘I can always use me some of the sheriff’s brand of love’n,’ I told myself and kissed him back with equal passion.

“Damnation, Son!  I ain’t had me no piece of yore’ fine cowboy butt in a while.  What?  Maybe twice since Christmas?  You’s all a’ time busy with O.C., Bubba and his boys, Bart Conners and his family, or you got one a ma’boys bunk’n it in with you at the ranch.  You ain’t even got together with yore’ poor old grandpappy much. I’m glad ya’ll could git away last weekend together.  It done him a world of good.  Cindy and talked about ya’ll and we swore ya’ll came back from Tucson changed men.”

Gip handed me a glass with two fingers of Comfort in it.  We clinked glasses and took a sip.

“Yes, Sir,— but that weren’t my fault, Sheriff.  Granddad made the weekend assignments ‘cause he said he didn’t wanna’ monopolize me.  He wanted me to be available to those I love.  He knows Ocie and I are close to say nothing of Bubba.  I love both them men like they’s part of our greater family.  Of course, Ocie’s my uncle.”

“Your granddad is a good man.  I can understand him not wanting to feel like he’s smothering you.  I’m shore’ ‘nuff glad he feels that way.”

“He told me to tell you, you better leave him a big old help’n a’ my butt.”

Gip roared with laughter.

“Don’t know’s I can, Son.” he said in a concerned voice,   “I’s got me the powerful hongries for some good, tight cowboy ass,— but I’ll do my best.”

We laughed again.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom to clean myself.   When I returned he was ready and waiting in the bedroom.  I brought my drink in and set it on the night stand.  I crawled up into his big, cowboy arms and felt like I was home.  We lay there together for a while stealing kisses from each other.

“I’m sorry we ain’t got together more, Sheriff.  I always feel like I’s home when I crawl up into your arms like this, and we have us an afternoon rodeo.”

“‘At’s the way I want you to feel, Son.  You’re as welcome in these arms as my other boys, and if’n I ever meet yore’ daddy, I’m gonna’ tell him so.  I’m gonna’ tell him he better git used to the idea he’s gonna’ have to share you.  Hell, I have a feel’n, the way you and Curtis talk ‘bout chore’ old man, he’d probably love my boys.”

“I done show’d him pitchers of you, little Gip and Waddie Buck.   He told me he’d love to meet cha’ll sometime.”

“I know I’d enjoy meet’n him.  Now, — you ready to rodeo, buckaroo?”

“Oh, hell, yes, Sheriff.   My saddle’s hot and ready for a good ride’n from my cowboy sheriff.”  I laughed.

“Oh, fuck!  Don’t talk like ‘at, boy.  You gonna’ have me dump’n my load before I kin mount up.”

Gip took the towel I brought in with me, popped the plug out of my ass and swiftly but surely replaced it with his fine dick.  He sunk it into me as far as he could get it.  He collapse on top of me with a heavy sigh like he felt like he was home.  I threw my arms around him, and locked my legs around his waist.  I was glad to be home and glad my cowboy dad was home in my ass.

“Oh, shit!”  he said quietly.

“What’s a matter?”  I asked.

“I kin tell the way yore’ little hole is feel’n you need another one a them hard ride’ns from the sheriff.  ‘At little ass feels mighty hongry to me.”

“Yore’ right, Sheriff.  It is a bit peckish.  I have to admit, I ain’t had me no good, hard ride’n in a while.  I shore’ ‘nuff could use me one a’ them Sheriff Claymore’s special fuck’ns.”

“You got it, cowboy.  Lay back and enjoy the ride.”

And that’s exactly what I did.  Aside from his boys, I knew Gip had very few males he could be intimate with.  He told me when his dad was home they would find time to get off together and share a little love, but now that Master Waddie had Titus, he didn’t feel like intruding.      

Gip was always a fine fuck.  This time was no different.  He rode me down hard and strong.  He had us both about to climb the walls when I felt my climax boiling up inside me.  I quietly yelled to him I couldn’t hold it no longer.  Once he felt my sphincter spasm around his big, rutting cock, it felt so good to him he shot and shot into my ass.  We lay there together dripping with sweat.  He was laying on top of me, and we were making a little more love.  I thought to myself, this was the perfect way to begin the Forth of July weekend,— with a big bang.   What better way to celebrate than to have the sheriff of the county shoot his big, roman candle up my butt.  I felt like Gip had me on the end of his sky rocket and after lift off we had just reached apogee.

We cleaned up together in his shower.  Gip enjoyed me pampering him and carefully bathing him like I did so many time with my old man.  When I washed his penis, I couldn’t help giving it a little extra love for his performance earlier.  The next thing I knew I was trying to swallow it whole and didn’t stop until it exploded in my mouth.  I sucked him dry.  Gip groaned as he shot for the second time.  We quickly finished up, got dressed and started for the ranch in Gip’s big truck.

“Thanks for that, Son.  I guess you could tell I needed some cowboy love’n from my boy.”

“I should be the one thanking you, Sheriff.  Ain’t had me know better fuck’n, Sir.’

I asked him on the way if the local community of Apache Indians would be at the rodeo and picnic again this year.

“Oh, yeah.  H’it’s an annual tradition.  Chief Red Moon done stopped by last week, and I took him to lunch at the café.  He told me they were looking forward to it.  You know Garth Yellow Hawk’s a member of their tribe, and he’s one of their best fancy dancers.   They perform ever’ year at the rodeo and sometimes at the picnic.”

“When did your dad and his family get to Chapel Creek, Sir?”

“They arrived late Tuesday afternoon.  Since that time they’ve just been relaxing and rodeoing.   My dad’s really proud of you and yore’ granddad for winning in Tucson.  He and Titus have been practicing and their times are getting better.  I know him, if you win, you win because you’re the best and he’s gonna’ push you to the limit.”

“I know, but that don’t stop me none from love’n him.”

“It shouldn’t, he loves you, too.  We got a surprise yesterday afternoon.  Dan Yates, Cowboy and Griz drove out to be with us for the Fourth.  They brought Cowboy’s big GMC motor coach.  It’s older, but they’ve kept it up,—  h’it’s in great shape.  It makes our coaches look like something from the ‘Grapes Of Wrath.’   Gip chuckled.

“That’s great news.  I know granddad will be glad to have them here and so will I.”

“Bubba and O.C. are already at the ranch waiting on Vince and Seth. I invited them up for the weekend, and they’re staying at the ranch.  This is gonna’ be the biggest crowd we’ve had stay at the ranch in years.  I love it, the more the merrier.”

“I don’t know how you and Cindy do it, Sheriff.”

“We got lots of help, and we don’t do it but a couple of times a year.  Look at you, you’re all the time volunteer’n to help me, Cindy or the boys git something done.  I done told ju’ you didn’t have to pay us no space rent for your coach.  Hell, we all think on you and Curtis as family.”

“Naw,— now you agreed to it, Sheriff, and I’m a’ hold’n you to it.  A cowboy don’t never go back on his word, you know that, h’it jes’ ain’t the cowboy way.”

“I know, I know,— Lord don’t preach to me about the cowboy way.  My granddaddy and my dad spoon fed me the cowboy way since I’s old enough to understand.  Cain’t says it ain’t kept me in good stead with my family and the people in my community.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”

“All right, then, I told ju’ at the beginning I wouldn’t do it less’n you allowed me to pay you something.  You’s all the time feed’n us and our ponies.  Now, Ms. Socks is with foal, she don’t wanna’ leave Rocky.  She wants to have her baby here.  I need to pay you some more for her upkeep.”

“Don’t be silly.  We’ll take care of Socks like she’s our own.  If the good Lord singled her out to have a gelding’s colt, she’s gotta’ be pert-damn special.  We’d be honored to take care of her.”  

* * * * * * *

We arrived at the ranch and everyone stopped what they were doing to come greet us.  All the cowboys were rodoeing and were in their cowboy gear.  Granddad was in his full gear except he didn’t have his spurs on yet.  I guessed correctly, he was waiting for me to help him with them.  He had Rocky and Socks saddled up and waiting just outside the arena.  Everyone laughed at them.  They were obviously so much in love with each other.  They saw everyone greeting me and moseyed over to pay their respects.

Lord, it was like a family reunion.  Bubba, Ocie, Dan Yates, Cowboy,  my beloved giant Griz, Master Waddie, Titus, Harley, Cass, and all the others of Master Waddie’s family. There was much hugs and kisses.  After I greeted everyone. I walked out to the double ‘R’ with granddad.  When we got to the coach,  I took him by his hand and led him to the bedroom.  I pulled him down on top of me on the bed. We kissed and continued to make a little love.  Laying on top of me with all his gear on, made me get hard.  He was hard, too.

“Ju’ have a good time with the sheriff, buckaroo?”  he asked with a grin.

“I don’t never compare the men I love, Grampa, h’it just ain’t right, but our sheriff,— he’s one hell of a man.   I told him what chu’ said.  He damn near laughed his ass off.  I think there’s plenty left for you, though.”

He ran his rough hand down my backside and gently felt around my ass like he was checking it out.

“Are you kidding?”  he scoffed, “They ain’t a plug nickle’s worth left back there.   ‘At big cowboy done used it all up.” he joked.

“Naw, Grampa,— my hole’s a renewable resource,— it snaps right back.”  I laughed, “ ‘Sides, you’d be surprised what a plug nickle will buy you in this coach.”  I teased him.

“We’ll see ‘bout ‘tat later.  In the meantime, help me with my spurs and git chore’ gear on.  Your Master and his mate’s been rodeoing all day and they been making some damn good runs.  We gotta’ git our cowboy butts out there and practice.”

I helped Curtis with his spurs as he sat on the side of the bed.  He’d gotten use to me doing small chores for him.  He loved the attention and I loved taking care of him.  Kneeling before him, smelling his strong masculine scent, the leather of his boots and chaps was too much for me.  As I was strapping the second spur to his boot, I spoke to him quietly.

“May I pay homage to your boots, ramrod?”

“You wanna’ be my slave this afternoon, boy?”

“Yes, Sir, Boss,— I’d be right proud to be your slave this afternoon.”

“All right then,— you have my permission to pay homage to my boots.”

We went through the ritual, and as I kissed him, I could feel him growing strong in his Wranglers.  I quickly undid his Wranglers, put my hand in like a kid looking in a ‘Crackerjack’ box, and found my prize.  I pulled out his big, tumescent cowboy cock and chowed down.  I proceeded to give my straw boss a damn good blow job.  Somehow, it was easier in his mind for me to service him if I became his slave for the afternoon, and the ritual became the seal of our contract.  I got Curtis cleaned up and gently returned his dick to his Wranglers.  He pulled me up to him and gently kissed me.

“You’re a good boy, Son.  You take good care of this old man.”

“I enjoy taking care of you, Grampa.  I love you.”

“God knows, I love you, too, Casey.”

* * * * * * *

We spent the afternoon rodeoing with the other cowboys.  Gip invited the Conners to rodeo with us and have supper.  They arrived shortly after granddad and I walked out to join the others.  Curtis and I went to greet them. I helped Bart unload his pony from his trailer.  Brent complained his daddy wouldn’t let him bring his pony Scratch.  I empathized with him, but I told him he could ride with me some.  I think Brent had bigger fish in mind.  He’d been eyeing Curtis for sometime.  The boy had good taste in cowmen.

I introduced them to everyone they didn’t know.  Brent was taken with all the cowboys;  especially, Harley Boone and Mutt.  The little shit had great taste in cowboys, he fell in love several times over.  He thought Bubba and Uncle Ocie were two fine looking cowboys, but he thought the big ugly cowboy Mr. Claymore with his handsome companion Titus was pert-damn fine, too.  

But there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who his favorite was.  He was most taken with his daddy’s ramrod.  He told me in reverent tones,  Mr. Langtry reminded him of my dad.  It was amusing to everyone there.  The hard, stoic old cowboy my granddad seemed at first glance, melted when Brent ran to his open arms to hug and kiss him.

“Oh, Mr. Langtry,— you look jes’ like yore’ son, Sir.”  Brent said to him with enthusiasm.

Brent’s statement sort of caught granddad off guard.

“Casey ain’t my son, young’un, he’s ma’grandson.”

“No, Mr. Langtry,— I mean yore’ son in California, my other granddad Mr. Longhorn.  Him and Casey was so good to me and my dad.  He went in with me when I had my operation.  I love him so much, Mr. Langtry.  I know my daddy works for you, but he also tells me he loves you’n Casey.  He said you’s a fine cowboy and a good man.  I ain’t never told him, but I think on Casey as my other dad.  Since I think on Mr. Longhorn as ma’other granddad,  I’s kinda hope’n,  if’n you come to love me and think I’s worthy enough, maybe you might consider allowing me to think on you as ma’great granddad, Sir.”

Bart started to say something to Brent for his boldness, but I caught his eye and shook my head for him not to.  We watched as granddad hugged the boy a little tighter and stole a kiss. A tear rolled down the old cowboy’s cheek.

“I forgot you met my son, young’un.  From ever’ thing Casey and yore’ daddy tells me about you,  I’d be honored and right proud to think on a fine, young cowboy like you as my great grandson.”

“Y’ain’t hear’d from yore’ son yet, Mr. Langtry?”  Brent asked in a concerned voice.

“No, Son, I ain’t,— but I ain’t lost hope none.”  Curtis said sadly.

“You’ll hear from him, Mr. Langtry.”  Brent allowed with conviction. “I know Mr. Longhorn.  He’s a good man like my brother, Casey.  He wouldn’t never let me down.”

“From the mouth’s of babes.”  said Hank Conners to granddad as he took Brent from him.

“He’s a fine young man, Mr. Conners.”

“Thanks, Mr. Langtry,— we’s kinda fond of ‘em.”  he laughed.  

* * * * * * *

We got into some serious rodeoing.  Bart and I made several runs together and our times were up there with the best; however, granddad’s and my times were still the best.  We kept beating Master Waddie and Titus by one or two seconds.  The sheriff and little Gip were roping really well.  Little Gip and his little brother Waddie Buck were rivaling all our times.  I wondered if during their time together at the ranch they bonded.  Brothers sometimes don’t get along with each other; not so with little Gip and Waddie Buck.  In the year they worked, ate, and slept together, no one every heard them say a bad word to one another.

Granddad and I roped with anyone who asked us.  We each roped with Master Harley and Cass.  Bart roped with a lot of the other men.  He and Master Waddie roped well together.  Bart really seemed to enjoy roping with the sheriff, and he roped well with his boss; however, at the end of the day, the best times were granddad’s and mine.  The next best time was me and Bart’s.   When Gip and his dad roped together, they gave us close competition.  I wasn’t worried.  I knew my insurance policy would be paid in full that evening.

Gip called a halt to the rodeoing late in the day.  He didn’t want to overwork the ponies, and it was a warm afternoon.  He wanted them to be fresh for tomorrow.  Bart, Brent and his dad were going to drive back to Spring Hill for the night after supper, but Gip offered to let Bart leave his pony at the ranch.  He told Bart he would bring his pony to the rodeo in the morning and bring it back again the second day of the rodeo so his pony wouldn’t have to make four trips to and from Spring Hill.  Bart thanked him and agreed.

Granddad, Bart, Hank, Brent and I walked to the double ‘R’ after putting the ponies up to wash up for supper.  Brent was excited to see my motor coach.  We took off our rodeo gear and cleaned up.  Bart left with his dad and Brent to take his gear out to his truck.   He said they’d meet us for supper at the big house.  Granddad and I put on fresh clothes and cleaned up.  We left the trailer and began to walk to the house.  All the cowboys were gathered outside talking to the Sheriff.

Gip saw us coming, excused himself from the men and walked toward us.  He told me to walk on and join the other cowboys, he wanted to talk with my granddad.  He put his big arm around Curtis, pulled him up tight and began to walk away from the group so he could talk privately with him. When he was satisfied he was out of earshot of the men he spoke.

“Casey done told me what chu’ said. It was awful damn hard, but I done managed to leave you half, ramrod.” he laughed.

“Half?  Are you kidding?  I felt around back there after he come home, and I told him he ain’t got a plug nickle’s worth left.”  Curtis played along and Gip roared with laughter.  “He done told me, I’d be surprised what a plug nickle might buy me.”  they laughed again.  “Lucky for me, I got me a pocketful of plug nickels.”  Curtis grinned at him.  You could hear Gip laugh all over the property.  They were sharing a joke between them at my expense.       “You’re a lucky man, Mr. Langtry, and Casey’s lucky to have you for a granddad.  He’s a special cowboy in my book.  I couldn’t love him more if’n he was ma’own son.”

“Thanks, Sheriff,— I think he’s pert-damn special, and I know he thinks the world of you and yore’ family.”

“Now, lemme’ tell you a little secret about chore’ grandson. . .”

* * * * * * *

We gathered around the table, and held hands.  Gip asked granddad to say grace.  Curtis prayed for all the cowboys who would participate in the rodeo the next day, to keep them safe from harm and for everyone to have a good time.  He remembered to be grateful for the food we were about to eat and ask God to bless us all.  We all said ‘Amen’ and sat down to a wonderful supper.

After supper, we sat around and talked for a while.  Brent crawled up in his granddad’s lap and went to sleep.  Hank told Bart they’d better get their little buckaroo home to bed, he had a big day.  Hank was right, at one time or other he was riding in the saddle with every cowboy on horseback.  Hank admitted he was a bit tuckered himself.  We said goodbye to the Conners and they left to return to Spring Hill.  I told Bart we’d be looking for them in the morning.  He left his horse trailer at the sheriff’s  because he wouldn’t need it until after the rodeo on Saturday.   

Granddad and I talked a bit more with the men and decided to go to the double ‘R.’  Dan Yates, Cowboy and Griz decided to walk with us.  Their coach was parked in one of the RV spaces near us.  It was a wonderful, warm, Texas, summer night with fireflies flitting about and whippoorwills calling to each other.  Every now and then you could hear a prairie chicken making its unique cry.   We said goodnight to them and went inside the double ‘R.’  I closed and locked the door behind us.

“Y’ont a sip a’ Comfort, Grampa?”  I asked him.

“That would put a nice cap on the day.” he replied.

I poured two small glasses and handed him one as I sat down on the couch in the livingroom.  I was going to sit for a minute and then go to the bathroom and clean up, but I had the feeling he wanted to talk a bit.

“What’s yore’ plans for the next year, Casey.”  he asked quietly.

“Everyone seems to be interested in what I wanna’ do.  I guess that’s good.”

“It is, Son.  People love you and wanna’ know you ain’t gonna’ jes’ up and leave ‘um.  Aside from the fact I’m yore’ grandpa, you can count me in that group.”

“Tomorrow’s a big day for me, Grampa, — more’n jes’ the rodeo,— tomorrow’s our anniversary.  We met for the first time a year ago at the rodeo.  To be honest with you, if’n I’d met you and you were like what my daddy done told me, I would a’ never revealed myself to you.  I would a’ jes’ gone on home.  Of course, I’d still come back to visit the Claymores.  They’ve become part of my family.  I told my dad, I could find no fault with you, Grampa.”

“Vince was right, Son, to tell you that. I was ever’ bit as bad as he done told ju’ and worse.”

“That was a long time ago, Grampa,— what’s done in done.  Let’s don’t dwell on that.  What’s important is when we met, I changed and you changed.  We ain’t the same men we was a year ago.  I know we’re better men for git’n to know and love each other, but to answer your question, I originally thought I’d work for you and the Lazy 8  about year, then go home to my dad.   The only thing is, I found out I like being a cowboy.  I like work’n at the ranch and the best part is git’n to work for my granddad.

I done told ju’ about having to grow up real fast when mom passed away to take care of my dad.  I guess being out on my own this last year has given me a sense of freedom I ain’t never had since mom died.  When I’s cowboy’n, h’it’s almost like I’s carefree without a worry in the world.  All I wanna’ do is be a cowboy.  I don’t want me a lot of responsibility other than to put in a good days work for my pay.  As long as my ramrod’s happy with my work, and I got my cowboy brothers, I’m happy.   I come to realize,  h’it’s sort a’ like I’m git’n a second chance to live part of my youth I had to give up ‘cause I’s forced to grow up so quick. I think it’s about the same thing Mr. Le Fleur was talk’n ‘bout, try’n to recapture a little of that happiness.  Can you understand that, Sir?”

“Certainly, Son.  I understand.  I don’t know much about psychology, but my gut feeling tells me h’it’s something you need right now.  Perhaps  later, you’ll change your mind, but for right now I think you’re pretty happy.  I know I’m happy to have you work’n for me even if you is my boss.”

“Don’t think that a’ way, I ain’t chore’ boss, Grampa.  You know I don’t never think that.  You’re my ramrod.  Don’t I show you and Wade the respect you’re due as my bosses?”

“You do, Son, and we appreciate it.  I never asked you to do that, but h’it makes a difference.  It makes a good impression on the other cowboys.  We’ve noticed they even seem to have a different kind of respect for us.  Wade Mulligan thinks the world of you.  He was sure you was gonna’ take his job away from him.”

“I told him I don’t want his job.  I didn’t tell him I don’t need the money, but I did tell him I wouldn’t want the responsibility.  I got enough on my plate jes’ being a cowboy.

I been looking for a way to tell you this, so I guess now’s as good a time as any.  Sid and Sticker asked me to take over managing the ranch, but I turned them down.   I told them the same thing, I don’t want that kind of responsibility right now.  I just wanna’ be a cowboy.  The fact that I own a third of the company ain’t what’s important to me.”

“I know about it, Son.  You don’t haf’ta’ guess who done told me.” he chuckled, “I’s wondering when you’s gonna’ tell me.  I figured you would in yore’ own time.  I’m proud and happy for you.  I’m also proud you wanna’ learn the business from the bottom up.  It’ll be a lot easier for you when you’re ready to step into the job.”

“‘At’s what Mr. Wiggins told me, Grampa.  He and Mr. Wainright talked to dad before they ever approached me about it.  Dad told me about it when I’s home for Christmas and Sticker talked with me some more at the roundup.  Dad urged me to stay on for a while if’n that’s what I want.  He thought it was a good opportunity.

My little brother’s take’n good care of him, and dad keeps him in line.  He thinks on dad as his second dad.  For all his smarts, my little brother can be a scatter brain sometimes.  He’s so gifted and he’s got so much going on in his head, he gits distracted easily and has a hard time completing long term goals he sets for himself.   He gits sidetracked and never gits around to finishing what he started.  Dad seems to be one of the only men who can control him, and he keeps my little brother on a short leash.  Logan loves and respects dad and would never tell him ‘no.’  They’re good for each other.   Dad promised Sid Wainright and Sticker he’d see to it Logan made it through med school; that may be another three, maybe four years.  Dad won’t let him take too many courses and burn himself out.

Dad told me as long as he gits to see me for a couple of weeks two or three times a year, he’ll be fine.  I know in my heart, I won’t never leave my dad behind.  I belong to him, not because I’m his slave like Master Waddie thinks, but because I want to belong to him.  I’m gonna’ talk with him when I go home after the rodeo.  I know I’ll be back for at least another year,— maybe two.  Whatever I decide, I won’t never be too far away, Grampa.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that.  I suppose that’s what I wanted to hear.  I know a lot of folks at the ranch and here in Chapel Creek would be disappointed if’n you’s to jes’ up and leave.   Yore’ Uncle Ocie and Bubba  would grieve themselves silly.”

“You wont another sip, Grampa?”

“One more and you better git in there and clean yore’self.  I should, too.” he smiled at me.

“Please, ramrod,— not until after you pay our insurance policy, then I’ll take care of you personally, Sir.”

“Y’ain’t too tar’d, Son?”

“Oh, hell, no, Sir!”  I exclaimed, “I want my ramrod to saddle his old cayuse and ride him down hard.   I wanna’ be able to feel it tomorrow when I’s in the saddle.  It’ll remind me my grandpa cared enough to take care of his grandson.”

“You’re a piece of work, Son.  I’ll do my best to make sure you do feel it tomorrow.”  he laughed.

Curtis suggested we should get to bed and told me to go clean myself.  I took off my boots and clothes and stood naked in front of him taking the final sip of my Comfort.  He sat his drink aside, snapped his fingers and pointed to his boots.  I sat my glass on the table and went through the ritual with him.  Afterward, I helped him off with his boots.  He laughed to see me hard again. He gave me a hug, another kiss,  thanked me and sent me off to the shower.   

When I returned, I got a pleasant shock.  It was one of the few times in my life I was at a loss for words.   Curtis was sitting on the couch with nothing on but his cowboy gear.  He wasn’t wearing his spurs, but he had on his boots, chaps, and vest.   He was stunning, and I was stunned.   He grinned real big at me as he stroked his huge shaft in anticipation.

“Wow, ramrod, Sir,—!”  I exclaimed.  “You been talk’n with the sheriff?”

“Yeah, Son, ‘at’s part a’ why he called me aside to talk with me.  I thought since tomorrow is a’ kinda special day for us, maybe we could make it little more special tonight.”

“Great idea, ramrod.   I gotta’ thank the sheriff for giving you that tip.  Does this mean I git to wear my gear?”

“According to the sheriff, and he should know, h’it’s the law in these, here, parts.  We don’t wanna’ break no laws,— do we?” he grinned as he asked.

“Naw, Sir, ramrod.  It’ll only take me a minute.”

I never got my gear on faster.  Curtis was watching me the whole time, and it was only getting me more excited.  I couldn’t wait to rodeo with him, and I know he felt the same.  I had an idea there would be minimal foreplay, and I was right.  We got on the bed, and I lubed up his big dick for him.  He was just too damn big not to.  He popped out my plug and easily inserted his huge,  ramrod penis into my ass.   He sunk it to the hilt, and it caused me to gasp a little.  When I had my ramrod inside me, I was full.

My ramrod straw boss gave and I got one hell of a fucking.  He built us up several times only to pull back and hold off for a while.  After the fourth time of some pretty intense fucking, he decided to ride us to the barn, and I exploded all over him and me.  He shot and shot into my ass his rich, thick, ropey, cowboy cream.  He won our rodeo.

Afterward, I took my gear off and helped him with his.  I took him to the shower and carefully bathed him.  He was resigned to me taking care of him, and he just allowed me to do it.  I enjoyed taking care of him as much as taking care of my dad.   That thought made me a bit melancholy; however, I soon got over it when Curtis ordered me to bend over so he could insert my plug again.  It’s a good thing he did, he took advantage of my cowboy hole a couple more times during the night.  I knew I was going to feel my insurance policy paid in full at the rodeo the next day.

* * * * * * *

There was much activity early the next morning.  Granddad and I were up well before the dawn to join the other men helping Gip and his boys get ready for the day.  Everything around the ranch was in good order, but there were last minute details that needed to be seen to.  After a wonderful breakfast we helped the sheriff load his big horse trailer with all the tack and ponies we were going to take to the rodeo.  Everyone was in a great mood.

Granddad and I rode with Gip and his boy in his big truck pulling the ponies.   After we were on the road I asked Gip about leaving Cindy and the girls behind.

“Aww, she and the girls had some last minute things they wanted to get done.  I told her we’d wait for them, but she insisted we go on.  She said she and the girls would be right behind us in the ranch wagon.  I hope so, she needs to be there to welcome our guests.”

Every year since Gip was sheriff,  he and Cindy had the Apache Chiefs and their families as guest to sit in their private box at the rodeo.  Cindy explained it to me the previous year.

A couple of years before Gip took office as sheriff there was several families of Apache Indians who settled in a small community just South of Chapel Creek.   The previous sheriff wasn’t a nice man.  He tried every way he could to get them out, but they wouldn’t leave.  

Before Gip became sheriff he made friends with a couple of men from the tribe and rodeoed with several.  He helped Garth Yellow Hawk get his job as a hand for the Lazy 8.   He even hired one of their tribe Charlie Little Horse as one of his deputies.   He was a fine man and worked for Gip for years.

Gip went to the elders and chiefs of the tribe when the county wanted him to run for sheriff and promised them, if they supported him he wouldn’t harass them like the other sheriff.  Naturally, they voted for Gip and he won by a landslide only equaled one other time by his granddad.

Gip let them be and would only go out to their community if they called and asked for his help.  Most times, one of the men would get drunk and become abusive.   Gip would haul his ass off to jail until he cooled off.  He wouldn’t bother to book them, he’d just let them sleep it off and drive them back to their community the next day.  The tribe was more severe in their punishment than Gip ever might have been.

He learned to leave them to their own justice and only get involved when he was called and asked.  Even then, whether he was on duty or not, he would always go with the deputy who was going out there.  Usually Gip and Charlie Little Horse would ride out together.

The first year they held the rodeo under Gip’s administration the tribe came to watch several of their men who entered the rodeo.  They had little money and didn’t have the price of an entry ticket.  The people at the gates, and some of Gip’s deputies turned them away.   One of his deputies had the good sense to notify Gip what the others had done.

As Cindy related it to me, when Gip heard about it he went postal.  Cindy said it was the only time in their marriage she was truly worried about her husband having a stroke.  In all their years together she never saw Gip so angry.   He called the rodeo staff and his deputies together and talked to them.

“Why in the hell didn’t you come to me about this?  I would a’ made damn sure ever’ one of ‘um had tickets if’n I have to pay for them myself.  No,— no,— fuck it!   You know what?   From now on, forgit about them having tickets.  Next time,— ticket or no ticket,— if’n they’s a member of the tribe or one of their own vouches for them,  you just let ‘um in.  They don’t need no damn ticket,— understand?”

They all agreed they understood.

“If’n they be a chief or elder,— you direct them and their families to my box and my wife will welcome them.   They’ll  be the sheriff and his wife’s guest for the rodeo.  Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir, Sheriff.”  they replied.

Cindy said Gip ran to the Chiefs and their families before they could leave and humbly apologized for the rodeo staff and his deputies.   He told them he would be proud and honored if they would stay and be his and his wife’s guest for the rodeo; and, after the rodeo they were all invited to his ranch for a Fourth of July picnic.  They graciously accepted and it became a Fourth of July tradition,  the elders, Chiefs and their families would sit with Cindy in the sheriff’s private box.

When the rodeo grounds were built by Gip’s granddad Buck Claymore during his administration in the fifties, they built a good size room above the chutes at the South end of the arena.   It was right next to the announcers box but had its own private entrance.  It was a big rectangular room with a slant roof in the front to cut the glare from the sun in the arena.   It was screened in to protect the sheriff’s guest from flies which followed the livestock and probably several of the cowboys.

While it wasn’t air-conditioned, it had big fans and several turbulators on the roof to exhaust hot air.  It was a large area with four levels of seating which would accommodate about twenty-five to thirty people.  Gip’s girls were competing in the barrel racing event and his boys entered several events.  Gip was too busy coordinating everything and making sure everything ran smoothly.  Since Cindy and a couple of her friends were the only ones who used it, there was plenty of room for their Native American guests.

Gip saw it as a great honor to have original Americas taking part in their Fourth of July day.  How more American could you get?  In the middle of the rodeo, the tribe would perform several of their native dances.  It was always a hit with the folks who attended the rodeo.   Their presence and participation gave an air of authenticity to the Chapel Creek rodeo that wasn’t found in many of the other, larger rodeos.  For that reason, even though it was a smaller rodeo by comparison, it attracted some top rodeo talent, and was always well attended.  Tickets were usually sold out in advance; however, Gip made sure there were enough extra seats reserved for the tribe.

When Gip’s granddad was planning and building the rodeo grounds he added a huge barn with open pavilions on either side to store the rodeo stock out of the heat of the day.   The cowboys who were riding in the rodeo brought their ponies to the barn to saddle up and put in a stall until they were ready to ride.  There were big exhaust fans in the eves of the barn for air circulation, and it was always cooler in the barn and pavilions.  Buck Claymore knew what he was doing.

Gip pulled up in front of the barn and we began to unload the ponies and  tack.  From the time Gip got out of his truck and his boots hit the ground,  he was busy barking orders and giving last minute instructions in the first light of day as the sun began to rise in the East.  If you’ve never worked a rodeo, you have no idea the amount of time and work that goes on behind the scene to make it happen and run smoothly.   One of the sheriff’s responsibilities, which came with the job, was coordinating and running the annual Fourth of July rodeo.  I heard it said that the rodeo was never worth a damn until Gip became sheriff.

Gip was assigning his deputies and rodeo staff their positions. After we got the ponies unloaded and little Gip moved the sheriff’s truck and trailer to the parking area behind the barn, Gip gave us our instructions.   Since granddad and I helped the previous year, he asked us to be in charge of the barn, assigning stalls and showing the men bringing rodeo stock where to put the critters.   He looked up to see the Conners pulling behind the barn to park their truck.

“Curtis, would you ask Hank and Bart to give you and Casey a hand with the folks bringing livestock?”

Granddad assured him he would and Gip went off to check on a dozen other things.  He was a man on a mission.  Gip had managed and run the rodeo so many years it became second nature to him.  It always ran smoothly, because he relied on his help to do what he wanted.  Master Waddie and his family were not exempt.   Gip even had Dan Yates, Cowboy and Griz helping out.  If a man volunteered, Gip had a job for him.

We barely had time to say ‘hello’ to Bart, Brent and Hank when we got busy helping unload the first of the livestock.  Pretty soon there was a line of trucks and trailers waiting to unload.  The idea was to get them unloaded as quickly as possible before the sun got too high so the animals wouldn’t have to stand inside a hot trailer.  Everything seemed to be running smoothly and we were about finished unloading.   Granddad and I were having a ball because all the cowboys riding in the rodeo congregated around the barn and pavilions.  I was helping a family get their ponies into stalls when Bart came to take over for me.

“Mr. Langtry needs to see you out front of the barn, brother.  I’ll help these folks.”

“Thanks, brother.”  I told him and excused myself from the folks and told them they were in good hands with my cowboy brother.

I walked to the front and saw granddad, and Hank talking with Cousin Rance, my brother Dwayne and his giant husband Lamar who was holding a happy little buckaroo Brent, Sid Wainright, Sticker Wiggins and Sid’s personal assistant, Kevin.  Also with them were their two pilots and steward, Jeremy.  I know my mouth must have dropped open.   They started laughing at me.  I was so shocked and thrilled to see them.  I hugged and kissed each one.

“We wanted to come see how well the Lazy 8 is being represented at the rodeo.”  Sid laughed as he told us, “Kevin expressed a desire some time ago to see you and your granddad rodeo together, so we thought this was a good time to bring him along.  From there, it just grew.”  he laughed

“I’m so glad you did.”  I told Sid as I took Kevin into my arms for a hug and a kiss.

“I’m so glad you could come with them and be with us.  You look great, Kevin.  You’ve been working out.”  I told him.

“See,— I told ju’ he’d notice.”  Sticker said to Kevin.

“Yeah, for about a year now.  Mr. Wiggins has been good enough to help me some with my training.  I’ve been looking forward to this for a month, Casey.  It’s so good to see you again and meet Mr. Langtry.”

I turned my attention back to Mr. Wainright.

“I wish dad and ma’little brother had come with you.”

“Casey,— we begged and pleaded with him.   Logan wanted to come with us in the worst way.  He begged and pleaded with him, too. Vince told Logan to come with us, he’d have Bodey and Flynn stay in the house with him for the weekend, but he refused to leave Vince.  You know how he feels about his dad.”  Sid smiled and shook his head.  “Can’t says I ain’t proud of my boy for stick’n to his guns.  He made you and Vince a promise, and by God he’s gonna’ keep it.”

Sid got a smile out of me.  I did know how my little brother felt about our dad; however, it hurt me pretty bad that dad was still being stubborn.  It wasn’t like my dad.  I thought I knew him better than that.  Why was this taking him so long to make up his mind?  It had been six months since he read granddad’s letter.  What more did he want?   I didn’t even have to look at Curtis, I could feel the sadness and despair coming from granddad like he’d been hit in his gut.

They flew out early in the morning to be with us for the weekend.  Unbeknownst to me, they contacted Gip and he invited them to stay at the ranch with the rest of us.  It was great to see them, and to know they’d be watching and cheering us on.  They knew we were busy and said their goodbyes to go get seats.  They would see us later at the picnic.  It was getting near starting time and Gip came around to tell everyone to get saddled up for the grand entry.  

“Last year me’n ma’dad rode the flags into the arena.”  he spoke to Curtis and me.  “This year I’d appreciate it if’n you men would ride the flags.  I know you know how.”

“Yes, Sir, Sheriff, we know, and we’d be honored and proud to carry the flags.”   Granddad told him.

“You turkey.”  I grinned at Gip.  He grinned back at me.  He knew why I called him a ‘turkey.’

“H’it was suppose to be a surprise, okay?   I ain’t all to blame.  Sticker done told me to keep my mouth shut, they wanted to surprise ya’ll.”

“It was a nice surprise.  Thanks, Sheriff.”  I laughed at him.

Gip grabbed me and hugged me.  “Any time, cowboy.  Now, ya’ll git mounted up and report to the head of the line behind the stocks.  They got the flags waiting for ya.’”

Granddad and I were ready and rode Rocky and Socks to the front of the line.  Everyone who was participating in the rodeo was expected to ride in the grand entry.  The grand entry is pretty much the same drill in every rodeo.  Most cowboys are so use to it they can do it asleep on their pony.  It consists of several configurations of riding usually ending up with a figure eight where all the riders have to time the crossing just right.  There’s rarely a loss of life or limb; however, I’ve seen a couple of nasty pile ups.

To ride the flags into the arena is a great honor.  The two riders hold the flags out away from their ponies and ride balls out, fast as they can around the outside edge of the arena, cross at the end, ride around to cross once more and come to rest together at the opposite end.  The announcer came on and welcomed everyone to the rodeo.  He made a few announcements about what was going to take place and when.  Then he began his opening speech.

“We begin our Fourth of July, independence day  rodeo with the entry of the flags.  The American Flag, Old Glory, will be carried by the foreman or top waddie at the Lazy 8 ranch, Mr. Curtis Langtry.   Our state flag of the great State of Texas, the Lone Star State, will be carried by Mr. Langtry’s grandson Mr. Casey Longhorn who works as a ranch hand at the Lazy 8.”

They opened the gates, Curtis looked at me and nodded, and we were off.  We opened our ponies up and they kept up with each other almost perfectly the whole ride.  Everyone stood and removed their hats as a sign of respect as the flags went by.  We came to a halt at the far end of the arena and sat there while they played the National Anthem and then the Texas State Song.  Then granddad and I took off in opposite directions from which we rode in around the arena twice and out.  Then the grand entry began, which Curtis and I rode in, along with all the other cowboys and cowgirls,  and it went off without a hitch.

Granddad, Bart and I helped Gip and his staff around the chutes during the rodeo until it came time for us to compete.  We had a great view of everything going on in the arena.  In the first half was the calf roping event which several of the cowboys from the Lazy 8 participated in including Bart and I.   I took first place and Bart took second.   Little Gip took third.  Curt won the saddle bronc even.

After the Apache men did several dances the team roping competition got under way, and again, by the luck of the draw, Curtis and I were to rope next to last.   Bart and I roped together.  We made a great run, and I thought it just might be the winning run, but granddad and I were yet to rope.  We could hear Hank and Brent yelling for us as we made our run.  Everyone was on their feet when we finished.

It came our time for Curtis and I to rope and we rode into the arena.  As we adjusted our ropes we could hear folks call to us to wish us luck.  I looked at granddad and could tell what he was thinking.  His mind wasn’t on the rodeo.

“Listen, old man,” I smiled at him, “h’it ain’t the end of the world.  Remember what chu’ have.   You got one son who loves you very much.  You got a grandson who adores you, who you made the finest love to last night any cowboy could with his partner.  I’m wearing your love inside me and can still feel my insurance policy paid in full back there.”  I smiled at him, “I know you, Grampa,— you can rise above this, and we can win.”

Curtis looked at me with a tear in his eye, reached back and got his bandanna from his hip pocket and wiped it away.

“Sorry, Son,— got a bit of dust in my eye there for a minute.  You’re right, we won that damn rodeo last night, we kin win this one today.  Let’s us do it!”

I smiled at him and nodded.  We rode to take our place in the stocks.  The announcer began to announce our run.

“Our next team is the same men who rode the flags in at the beginning of our rodeo, folks,— Mr. Curtis Langtry and his grandson, Mr. Casey Longhorn.  They’re representing the Lazy 8 ranch.   Last year, Casey teamed up with and won the team roping event with the sheriff’s dad, Waddie Claymore.  Casey also won first place in the calf roping event.”  the audience politely applauded, and I tipped my hat in acknowledgment.  He continued, “I’ve been asked to announce the Lazy 8 is hiring cowhands.  If any of you cowboys think you’d like to work for a fine outfit like the Lazy 8 see these men after the rodeo today or tomorrow.”

The announcer finished, the steer was let loose, the barrier rope dropped, granddad took off on Socks like a rocket sled and Rocky was half a step behind.  Granddad had the steer roped and turned before it could take four full steps.  I had it’s hinders roped immediately afterward.  Socks backed up and was pulling Curtis’ rope taught as I dallied mine.  Rocky took three steps back and we were done.

The crowd was on their feet, yelling, applauding and stomping their feet.  I could see my family from home in the stands, yelling and waving their hats.   Hank and Brent were with them doing the same.  The announcer immediately said, “And that’s the way it’s done, folks.  Excellent run gentlemen!”  he paused and announced our time as being a new arena record. Again the crowd went nuts; however, there was one team left to rope.  It was Master Waddie and Titus.

They got into the stocks and were ready.  The steer was released and Master Waddie had him caught as quickly as Curtis did and Titus was no slouch.  I thought for sure they tied or beat us; however, when the announcer announced their time they were two and a half  seconds short of our time.  Hell they were a full second behind me and Bart’s time.   Granddad and I had won the rodeo.  Bart and I placed second.  Everyone was applauding and hollering.  Master Waddie and Titus came riding out of the arena with big grins on their faces.

“Go on, git out there you two,— you too Conners, — you cowboys done won the rodeo,— today.”  he smiled like tomorrow was another day. “Congratulations, men,— the best teams won.”  he added.

Granddad, Bart and I rode out into the arena and took our hats off to acknowledge the crowds applause and cheers.

“And here you have our first place team and our second place team to take a bow folks.”

We slowly took a victory lap around the arena and as I passed the stands where our family was, I took my hat and sailed it into the stands right at Brent.  

<< Here comes my love, little brother,— catch it! >>

<< Oh, God,— I love you too, big brother, I’m so proud of ya’ll. >>

Brent  reached one hand up and caught my hat like he’d done it a thousand times and the crowd went crazy again as we rode out of the arena.

“I’ll say one thing for that boy.”  said Sticker, “He knows how to play to a crowd.”

“Just what we need, pod’na.”  Sid replied, “Nothing like good P.R.”  he added.  Kevin overheard them and agreed.

There was two more events and the rodeo was over.  It went off like clockwork, and we were through at noon.  We stayed around to help with the last two events, but as soon as we finished Gip asked the three of us to take our ponies back to the barn and see to those who had questions or needed help.  They were welcome to board their ponies overnight, and they would be taken care of.  Gip hired one of the young Indian men Charlie Little Horse’s son John to feed, water and guard the livestock for the night.  However, the sheriff wanted all of his and our ponies loaded back into his trailer for the short trip back to the ranch.  He knew some of the men would want to rodeo.  He wasn’t fooling anyone.  Gip wanted to rodeo.

We were working around the barn getting folks arranged and settled.  We helped John Little Horse feed and water the stock.  As we were loading the ponies being transported to the ranch,  I looked up and saw our family from back home with Hank and Brent walking toward us.  Brent had one hand holding his giant bear friend’s hand  he met for the first time and his other hand holding his granddad’s.  He was in heaven. We stopped long enough to get hugged, kissed and congratulated by everyone.  Brent handed me back my hat.

“Thanks, big brother, that meant a lot to me.”  he said.

“Aww, shucks, pod’ner,” I poured on my best buckaroo accent, “us cowpokes gotta’ stick together,— don’t we?”  I grinned.

“Oh, yes, Casey, we sure do.” he replied.

“Tell me, little brother, does the big man look like you thought he would?” I motioned to Griz.

“He looks exactly like I pictured him, but you done showed me a pitcher of him,— don’t chu’ ‘member?”

“I did show you several pictures of him.  I just forgot, little brother.”

Everyone laughed.   Curtis opened his arms to Brent and he ran to him.

“You gonna’ ride with me later today at the sheriff’s ranch, Son.”

“Yes, Sir, Mr. Langtry.  I’d be mighty proud to ride with you a spell, Sir.”

Curtis smiled, stole a kiss and put him down to return to Hank.  Once again I noticed granddad’s countenance fell.  He pulled himself up by his bootstraps long enough to win the rodeo for me, but now the cloud was back hovering over his soul.  I looked at Griz with a look of desperation and concern.  I didn’t project my feelings to him.  I didn’t have to tap his mind, he didn’t have to tap mine,— he just knew.

I watched his, big, fuzzy, ugly, wonderful face as a small smile crossed his lips.  His eyes projected nothing; however, there was a calm came over me like the good Lord himself placed his hand on me.  I shivered slightly as a chill ran up my spine.  It was like another voice, altogether, came to me.  I put my arm around granddad and pulled him close as we talked more with the men.  Griz saw my gesture of affection and comfort for my granddad.  He smiled again, ever so slightly nodded his head and in an instant I knew.  He didn’t have to touch my mind for me to understand what was going on,— I just knew.

End of Chapter 47 ~ Texas Longhorns
Copyright 2005 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All rights reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com