Western Fiction posted May 25, 2011


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the last ride

The Aging Cowboy

by sweetwoodjax

Gil Hodges got on the back of the meanest bronco this side of the Texas border. He had ridden broncos for years, but this one had the wildest eyes he had ever seen. He was young, green and already fighting to free himself from Gil's weight.

Gil started rodeoing when he was just a teenager, earning a place on the University of Texas Rodeo Team. He used his full scholarship to earn a degree in agriculture, which he used to help his father cultivate a profitable farm.

He had broken almost every bone in his body at least once, some others were broken two or three times over. He ached when he woke up every morning and he knew it was time to retire. His sweet wife was eight months pregnant and wanted him at home when the baby was born. He was 42 years old and had won the Grand Championship twice, putting him in the money. This was going to be his last ride and Midnight Adonis was going to give Gil the ride of a lifetime.

As soon as the gate opened, Adonis flew out, bent on ridding himself of the weight on his back. Gil felt each thud on the hard dirt packed arena and tried to hold on for the eight second bell. At seven seconds, Gil went flying over Adonis's head and hit the ground with a bone-jarring thud. Before he could move, a hoof hit the center of his chest. Gil felt the pain in his chest but it didn't compare to the pain of never seeing his child. He should have retired with the last ride.



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thank you to Dave Chappel for inspiring picture. i saw the picture and wrote this off the top of my head.
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