"Rodeo Bull Rider"

Rodeo Bull Rider The Beginning

By country ranch writer

Growing up, all Jake Ryder could think about was being a bull rider. He wanted to be the number one champion bull rider in the world. When Jake wasn't working on the ranch, he and Duke was riding in the rodeos. They trained with the best and they were so proud of the headway they were making. The P.B.R. Which is Professional Bull Riding was just around the corner for them.

Jake wanted to prove to his dad, he wasn't the dreamer, he said he was. He wanted to prove to him that he could be a better rider than his dad or his grandpa.
Jake told Duke they were getting out of Whiskey, Texas and not looking back.

Jake left without saying much of a goodbye to anyone other than his Mom. He felt she was the only one, besides Duke, who understood him. Not even his girlfriend understood his wanting to prove himself even after the accident.

Author Notes Written by Country Ranch Writer

Chapter 1
Jake Ryder Bull Rider

By country ranch writer

Jake Ryder was a P.B.R. Top ranking cowboy from a small town in Whiskey,Texas. He came up through the ranks at a young age. He learned from the best men on the circuit. It took awhile for him to get his P.B.R. permit he says but it was worth all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears. The broken bones are the worst he says, puts you really behind where you want to be. He thought he had a wonderful life ahead of himself till it all came crashing down.

Jake had come a long way from the small town of Whiskey,Texas where he had lived here during his young days. He was a young strapping cowboy of eighteen.years with big dreams.He was a little above five seven, weighed in at one hundred thirty pounds. He has been raised on the cattle ranch. Riding horses was his life even before he could walk. Rode his first bull when he was three.By the age of nine he was well on his way to the rodeo circuit.Since his high school years, he decided this is what he wanted to do with his life.

He had a steady girl friend at the time her name was Betsy Roan. She had a slim young body and long blond hair. She had been the home coming rodeo queen. She would ride in the girl's barrel racing on weekends. They were a perfect couple she thought until he told her he was leaving the day after his eighteenth birthday party. He has heading out with his friend Duke to start bull riding game.

"Do you have to go Jake?" Betsy asked, searching Jake's eyes."You know I have to do what I do best. To ride the bull and be famous,"his eyes glowing with anticipation

Feeling her dejection,Jake continued,"Please understand. "I am doing this for the both of us".

She knew there was no point in stopping him. Jake felt like a jerk for breaking her heart but he had told her the truth. He knew one day she would understand his ambition.

He said there was nothing holding him back in this 'one horse town' as folks there called it with only one of everything. One dry goods store, feed store, schools, stock auction house and slaughter house and one barber shop and the old country church sitting up on the hilltop.

Nope he said nothing holding him here, his dad called him a dreamer. He, his dad and grandpa were both well known in Texas for the bull riding and it was in his blood too.

Jake's dad never wanted to see him perform, but his mom came to watch him when ever she was able too get away from the farm for awhile. His mom had a lot of spunk for her age and his dad didn't like trampling in her ways.. When she got her mind set to it there was no talking her out of it.

He thought about Betsy one or twice but he never ran across her again Her mom said she had left town according to her dad. Jake just didn't want to be tied down for he was headed for bigger and better things. He just wasn't ready to settle down. He left without saying goodbye to Betsy as that would be more than hurtful.

Though she loved him, she was glad they never made out in the barn on that fateful day-rolling and giggling together until Jake's dad shouted,"you two coming out for dinner? Your mom is calling."

Almost ten years have passed and he did make a name for himself~not so famous, but still a name to reckoned with.

He had finally achieved his childhood dream of being the best of the best he can be. It has been a long lonely life for him out on the road. He would have to find the time soon to go back and see his dad and his grandpa.

Just before his accident happened at the rodeo, he and his friends decided to go to the bar down the way from the rodeo, it was a place to hang out and eat and socialize. Right after they had settled at their tables.

They gave the waitress their drink order and was sitting the listening to music up front. Something caught Jake's eye and he said to himself he is seeing things. He looked again and sure enough there was Betsy and some of her friends. He excused himself from his friends and went to see if she wanted to chat and catch up on old times.

"Hi Jake said".
Betsy turned around and gasped,"Is that you Jake?"
The one and only, ma'am," Jake replied.

They chatted awhile and both went back to his table and made the usual introductions and they all chatted seemed like forever. They realized it was getting late and they all had to ride the next day so everyone said goodnight. The guys teased him about being a womanizer poking fun of Jake as always.

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Chapter 2
Jake and Betsy

By country ranch writer

The next day the girls met up with Jake and said they would meet them at the P.B.R. After their barrel racing was done. They all agreed. They kissed and went on their way. The P.B.R. Bull riding wouldn't be until later in the evening so they would have plenty of time to hang out until the girls were done.

Jake was elated he and Betsy will be seeing one another again after being apart all these years. It seemed just like old times. Like they have never been parted. They used to have so much fun fooling around and making memories together. He wished they had made out in the barn that day after they had run in out of the rain. Maybe we could hook up again and see what happens, he thought to himself. He was still in love with her, maybe that is why he never settled on any girl yet. He had earned a reputation of being a ladies' man of sorts. The rodeo bunnies as they were called were ripe for the picking. They followed him from one rodeo to the next. He always wondered what the girls thought they were getting out of it. All the one night stands meant nothing to him. He did make sure he wore his protection when they had sex. He wasn't ready to be tied down by some whim, he had; he wasn't ready to settle down, let alone be a daddy, up till now anyway.

Jake was a saver, he had saved every dollar he had earned by investing it in stocks to buy a place to call home and be with friends. When he retired, he wanted to be a stock contractor with the bulls he was raising. He had learned a lot from his friends and he took night classes to learn the business.

Yes, he thought to himself things are beginning to look a lot better now Betsy was back in the picture. Yes, sir, indeed a lot brighter.

Being the last night of the rodeo, things were getting pretty complicated again with Betsy. They had talked about their future and agreed to wait until the fast paced of his career slowed down for both of them before making any commitment.

That night, Jake had a surprise for Betsy.

"Go open the present I have for you", Jake said.

"What is it?"Betsy asked.

"Go on. Open it!"

Betsy found a small card inside with Jake's beautiful handwriting.

"You want to read this to me, Jake", her eyes were filled with tears of joy.

"Sure, Honey"

Jake gingerly took the card from her and read as their eyes met;

I know I am a rodeo rider with nothing much. I also know I am not good with words. Since the day we met you have meant a lot to me.

Jake stopped reading and looked intently into Betsy's sparkling blue eyes and continued.

'"You are the sunshine of my day

But come what may, let me say

My undying love will not sway

I will love you in every way"

"I love you so much, Betsy. Can I take your hand to be my beautiful wife? Wait...don't answer me now. Do it after the rodeo tonight. Ok?"

Betsy was stunned and speechless and just muttered "Sure" as Jake hugged and kissed her passionately.
Jake then took the diamond ring he had bought for her and said,

"You keep this ring." It represented a token of his love for her. Lately they had spent every spare moment together. So much so that their friends started teasing both of them. Jake wasn't going to be scared off this time around.
Hell, he wasn't going to lose her again, not if he could help it.

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Chapter 3
A Nasty Twist Of Fate

By country ranch writer

A nasty twist of fate was hanging in the wind, and Jake just didn't know it. He had been restless these past few days as if the gloom and doom was about to drop on him. Jake tried to shake it off and keep his spirits up by telling himself it was his imagination running wild.

That night at the rodeo, Jake had drawn out the number four slot for the ride with an unknown bull called "Slaughter". No one knew anything about the bull except it was rank and had never been ridden.

The rodeo announcer took to the microphone and welcomed everyone to the rodeo saying:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Nevada P.B.R. Rodeo! Tonight you will see the best of the best bull riders of all time.

Please stand for the Anthem," as the girl with the flag came riding in. After all of the bull riders were introduced, the rodeo started.

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Chapter 4
Could He Have Prevented The Disaster

By country ranch writer

Jake wouldn't talk about anything with Betsy. He would just stare out the window. If he had not shaken off that nagging feeling maybe he could have prevented it?

His grandpa told him once that

"if you bull ride for the wrong reasons you might get killed or seriously injured and be put out of the arena permanently. Jake thought, I didn't do it for the money. I did it to prove to myself and my family I was worth something. I have a challenge and look what it has got me now. Will I ever walk again?"

He knew rodeo was a dangerous game. He kept thinking about it everyday. It became a part of him and rodeo was always on his mind. Anyone who lives this life wishes it could go on forever. Sadly the time to live in this dream is so short. He knew he was going to play a big man's game and now he had to pay a big man's price for what has happened to himself. No one's fault really.

Jake sat there as if in a trance. Betsy and Duke did not know what to make of it. They could see he was thinking about something from the frown he had on his
face. They wondered what he had been contemplating.

Betsy told Jake, "Fowler is coming over to talk to you." Jake had been to see him when he got injured two years ago. Fowler was in a wheelchair now. Jerome had given Betsy his number and she had the guys go call Fowler to come talk to Jake. But he just grunted, he did a lot of that lately, but no answer. Betsy thought to herself Jake

"If you don't get out of this mess, I am going to make you regret the day you crossed my path." "I will never let you out of my sight~you hear me Jake Ryder?"

Jake turned away from the window and asked,

"What did you say?"

"Oh, my God!" Betsy had said it out loud!

About the time they came to take him into therapy, Fowler showed up so Jake and he went on their merry way, wheeling chairs and all. Since Fowler's accident, he had been confined to a wheelchair, and he hoped to walk on day. Maybe he could straighten Jake's head out. Betsy knew she was going to have a word with him when he got out of the hospital.

"Maybe what he needed was a good kick in the butt to remind him he wasn't alone in this."

Jake was so tired and worn out after he came back, he laid his head down and slept soundly. The nurse told Betsy they given him something for the pain while he was out of the room. Fowler and Betsy went to the waiting room so as not to disturb him. They talked about what happened in his meeting with Jake. He said Jake had been blaming himself and he convinced Jake into getting some therapy. Jake was really worried about the future and what it held for him and Betsy. Jake was going to have to find a new line of work.

Fowler said he had to go, but would be back to talk with Jake again soon. He gave her his home and cell phone number in case she needed to reach him. She gave him a big hug and he left her. He had bought some bulls and had to go by and pick them up for the next rodeo.


Chapter 5
Jakes Proposal

By country ranch writer

Jake had no more tubes hooked to him anymore so Betsy could curl up next to him on the bed. As she snuggled up to him, his heart melted as he felt her sweet breath upon his face. She had been through so much with him. She looked so sweet and loving as she slept, and it puts a smile on his face.

She opened her eyes, yawned, and looked into his smoky blue eyes. She smiled at him and snuggled down deeper into his covers. Jake felt this was going to be a very interesting day. He had stirrings in him that had been dormant for quite a while now due to his own predicament which hardened him.

Out of the blue, he whispered, "I love you Betsy," "Thanks for everything you have done for me," kissing her forehead lightly.

He still loved her very much. Betsy didn't open her eyes, smiled lightly, and snuggled close to him as if afraid of losing him again. She wanted this moment to last forever. She had missed him terribly, as he caressed her face with the back of his hand and leaning slightly to give her another feather -like kiss. They both wished that Duke was somewhere else besides snoring loudly in the chair.

It just felt so good to have her there, just lying there listening to her even breathing after she had gone back to sleep. Poor dear, she must be so tired after all this trauma and drama. I will give you my best with all I have got, I must not fail this time.

When the nurse came in and spoke to them, they both jumped and opened their eyes. The nurse then teased them."You two need to get a room", as she smiled, looking over at Duke, winking.

It was the first time Betsy had seen anyone smile since she took care of Jake. While Duke went for his morning libation, Jake shared his breakfast with Betsy. They ate breakfast in silence.


Chapter 6
Stock Contractor

By country ranch writer

Jake was healing well and the doctor said he could be fitted with a new prosthetic leg. It would be months of rehab before he could get around well enough to get out and about. The doctor also warned him of the pain he would be enduring for the rest of his life. Jake sure looked forward to the day he could go home.

He won't be able to ride bulls, anymore, but he would be able to walk again at the rodeos. Since he did not wish to leave the rodeo completely, this was the best he could ask for.

Betsy said she was proud of him and this made his heart swell with pride. He told her sometimes one has to try something else for a living and his ranch was already set up for the business. It is all about doing what one loves to do. Betsy hugged him and agreed.

Jake, Betsy, and Duke visited Fowler and Joyce a year later. Jake had been released from the hospital and the doctor said if he had more problems to come back before his next appointment.

Jake was able to get around with just a slight limp in his steps with the aid of a walking stick. The mobility was doing wonders for Jake's ego. He thanked God every day of his recovery that he was still alive.

It came as a surprise to them all in Fowler's house when Jake said, "Betsy I need to have a word with you in private." The others excused themselves and Betsy was curious.

Jake continued, "I just wanted to tell you that I want to go back and say hello to Slaughter-you know the bull that got me into this shape? I really need to see him to let him know it wasn't his fault and that I don't blame him. "He was just doing what he does for a living."

"I see," was all she could manage to say. She was quite stunned.

"No, I'm not going to ride him again if that's what you are wondering. I just need to get it off my chest that everything was an accident and no one should be blamed, including Slaughter.

Of course I could have walked away from the rodeo circuit since I have lost the feeling for the excitement and the thrill of the audience screaming for more. I had nothing more to prove to live my dream and it damned near cost me my life."

She looked at Jake startled, as happy tears streamed down her cheeks.

"Oh, Jake, I am so happy to hear that!" She cried as she jumped up in his arms, making them both fall over, giggling. "Oh my God", "I forgot about your leg!"

Jake assured her he was fine, except for his pride, when he landed on his butt with her in his arms.

Jake and Betsy tied the knot and it seemed forever since Duke had seen them.. When they showed up at his rodeo, he was proud they were there. Happy tears and hugs all around. With Duke slapping Jake on his back, he was so glad to see him.
Duke asked how were things going? Jake said, "I have a beautiful wife, a new future, what's more important than that? I couldn't ask for anything more."

With only one leg, life had not slowed Jake one bit, for he had been working hard and pushing himself to be just as good as the rest of them. Fowler was true to his word on helping him set up a bull contractor's business and they became partners. Jake headed the business and Fowler contributed his knowledge and contacts.

Everything went pretty well. Being on his feet everyday was hard on Jake for a while. He was so tired most nights he just fell on the bed and slept. Betsy, in the meantime, went to a lot of places with them so she too could learn the business of the rodeo.

Most people have no idea how much effort goes into getting the bulls ready for the arena. Behind the scenes are the hardworking stock contractors. Jake and Fowler brought in the rough stock with the aggressive bull kicking and panting.

"You know, it felt funny being on the other side of the bull riding arena," Jake said to Fowler.

Fowler replied," since starting in the contracting business I have been lucky and have a good reputation for supplying the toughest bulls around town,"he chuckled,"Being back here with everyone was a great feeling. The respect from everyone in the rodeo. Even if it is just being a stock contractor, I am happy with it. Others have asked me how I felt not being able to ride in the rodeo"...

"So how did you answer them?" Jake interrupted.

"I told them I am still in the rodeo, but on the other side of the fence," Fowler laughed heartily.

"No regrets and I love doing what I do best too. I knew the risks, even before the accident and I am thankful God spared my life."

"Me too." Jake smiled.


Chapter 7
The Interruption

By country ranch writer

It was a beautiful afternoon under a big shady oak tree where Jake and Betsy sat together for their picnic lunch. They can still remember the days when they were chasing butterflies and climbing this little oak tree way back then. The warm summer breeze provided some relief on this hot day.

They laid the red and white checkered picnic cloth on the grass and set out the picnic lunch they had prepared. They had informed their families that they would be at their favorite oak tree just a short distance from the house.

A short while later they saw a lady walking toward them.

"Are you Jake?" Inquired the stranger who addressed them.

"That's me. How can I help you?" Jake replied.

"My name is Jessie. Oh, thank goodness I managed to catch up with the two of you. I presume you are Betsy?" Jessie inquired, turning her head towards Betsy. Nodding her head with a friendly smile, Betsy acknowledged, "nice to meet you."

"Here is my card and I am from the Rodeo Community News Magazine," handing Jake her card, Jessie continued. "Would it be alright for
Me to do a short interview with you?"

"Regarding?" Jake was curious.

"We are sorry to hear about your accident and would like to have an interview on the incident. Would you care to share your story?" asked Jessie.

There is nothing much to tell really,. Maybe Betsy can help you out as I was unconscious most of the time in the hospital.. And she can tell you more about what happened while I was there in the hospital," Jake managed a smile.

"Would you mind, Betsy?" she turned to face Betsy.

"Sure, take a seat beside me here, Would you like a glass of lemonade?" Betsy politely asked.

"Yeah, it's a hot day. A lemonade drink would be nice."
With Jessie asking the questions and Betsy tries her best not to get emotional, the interview left her with a sense of unease as she had not done anything like this before. It was going quite well until...

'So, did, you find the experience painful... I don't mean... To pry. It's just out of interest from the community to know how the two of you felt." Jessie tried to stir up the uncomfortable memories of the incident as much as she could.

Betsy looked at Jake for help.

"Oh, that You mean losing my leg? To be frank, I might have lost not only my leg, but Betsy as well." Jake replied holding Betsy's hand in his.

"What the heck! She's a strong girl and puts up with all the usual tantrums of a one -legged guy. I actually thought my worst fear was Betsy leaves me thinking she was beside me, out of pity and compassion but that's another story."

"Do tell please."Jessie urged him on.

"Honest to God, when I first opened my eyes in the hospital and found Betsy beside me, I actually heaved a sigh of relief as I watched her sleeping beside me in the hospital bed." Jake said looking into Betsy's eyes.

"If I have to lose the other leg as well to be with her, I would." Jake tried to control his feeling of guilt and the pain he had inflicted on Betsy.

"Hush, not another word of that now," Betsy put a finger over his lips.

Jessie was not going to let this drama unfold calmly and wanted more spice to her story.

"You ever thought of leaving him, then, Betsy?" Jessie jumped in.

'Oh! That. Never crossed my mind really. I guess if I really loved someone, it is the heart that really matters to me. Actually Jake proposed to me with a beautiful wedding ring right before the accident, but scooted off to the rodeo circuit before I could reply." Betsy's lips broke into a heartfelt smile. She must have been the happiest girl that night when Jake asked her to marry him.

"Wow! This is gonna turn out to be a big love story after all," Jessie's voice interrupted Betsy's feelings of euphoria and pain of that night-happiness and sadness rolling of a dice in her mind.

Jessie's head had already penned the story headlines:"Lad lost a leg, but found love." Yes, this story will make her famous, somehow. She thought of the ringing of the cash register and at the slot machine in the rodeo club.

There was silence as they went into their own world of dreams, wishful thinking and even forgot that they were actually sitting on the ground under the smiling oak tree.

"Another round of lemonade drinks?" Jake tried to snap them out of it.

'No thank you. I gotta rush back to the printing press and get the story onto the front page. The other female reporter in my office is always trying to get her story on the front page... Thanks so much Betsy and Jake. I will send you some free copies of the magazine when they are printed.

Thanks so much for your time., I gotta go now." Shaking both their hands, Jessie hurried off back to her office to write up her cash register ringing story. Writers have big dreams too, you know, as she looked up to the heavens.

'Oh, Jessie." Jake called out to Jessie. She stopped and asked, "yes?"

"Don't tell them I have only one leg, alright?"


Jake and Betsy looked at each other and cracked up. Jessie burst out laughing too.

"You guys got me there for a moment. Thanks again. Bye."

After Jessie left, Jake looked at Betsy's hair blowing in the breeze and thought to himself she is amazingly beautiful too.

"Don't be naughty, Jake. I know that look," Betsy quipped.

He gave her that wanting look ans she thought not in front of God and everybody, cowboy! He grabbed her and he kissed her passionately until she went weak in the knees. He let her go smiling. "That was just a warm up for later."

Chapter 8
What Does The New Life Hold For Them

By country ranch writer

Fowler, Betsy, and Jake went over to JB's spread while they were in town and looked over his stock. JB's wife asked Betsy if they were planning on kids and whether the doctor said Jake could.

"He is in good physical shape and I see no reason why he couldn't. When the time comes we'd be parents, but God hasn't blessed us with any right now. It wasn't because we weren't trying. It just wasn't happening." Betsy blushed when she said the practice is fun and that in itself was wonderful.

They laughed and went out to check on what the guys were doing. There was Jake looking so handsome in his new jeans and shirt. He wouldn't let her talk him into wearing a new hat since he liked his favorite one.

Men become possessive of their possessions, JB's wife told Betsy and they both looked at each other and burst out laughing. Possessive indeed! The guys turned around and JB's wife said, "I think we have just been found out, talking about them."

"What's going on ladies?" JB asked.

Innocently, they answered together smiling, girl talk."

They all knew they had to go prepare for the BBQ so all headed to the house to get started. Soon as Justin MC Bride showed up with his buddies, they all started the grill and Duke sets to building a fire and they all sat around playing music and Justin singing. Steaks were just about done and the tables set. They took the potatoes off and the steaks; salad and ice tea was on its way from the house. What more could a guy ask for JB said, good food and good friends.

All of them have come a long way from a tragic fatal accident to a life of new new challenges and ambition. Seldom is there a dull moment with this clan.

Author Notes Broke it up into two segments due to length.

Chapter 9
Jake Returns To Montana

By country ranch writer

The trip was taking longer than they expected it to, they had to detour several times due to traffic. Betsy was getting anxious and hoped she would hear from them soon. She sure missed Jake, their first time apart since the accident.

When Betsy got up that morning she felt like the place was closing in on her. So she fixed a light breakfast of toast and coffee. She had no plans for the day so she ran upstairs and came back down in her jeans and tank top. She saddled up her horse, Lucy and headed out for a ride. She was thinking out loud and Lucy had her one ear arched back like she was listening to her every word. She told Lucy, she was her best friend because she could always speak her thoughts to her and Lucy just listened quietly. Betsy told Lucy, she hates the whole macho thing the guys have,

thinking, well, "maybe I am feeling lonely because I had to stay home."

She was thinking how her heart was broken and her spirits stomped on when Jake had left town years ago. She used to pretend years ago that he would be back for her and apologize for what he did and said. It never came to pass.

He was gone ten long years. She was so naive back then and so young. She had now outgrown her blond pigtails. Despite her feelings she had always loved Jake, and she said a prayer for him every night and still does since they have been married.

Yup, her dad had said Jake got under your saddle like a burr and she couldn't shake him off, with a jovial chuckle. Dad had a funny way of putting things.

Jake, Duke and Fowler finally ended up in Montana and were ready to head on back home. Just as they come out of the office from getting paid for their delivery and their bill of lading for the accountants, a reporter came rushing out of the corner.

"Jake thought to himself,not again!"

She rushed to him and held the microphone to his face saying "I am Mary from the Montana News. Can I ask a question about you?" But before Jake could reply, she continued with one breath,"Please think carefully before answering my questions."

Jake again felt that old chill which had run down his spine again and his guts tied in knots as it echoed in his mind, even though the accident was years ago.

Mary continued,"Will you be riding bulls again?"

"Why should I want to?" Jake retorted.

She said sarcastically, "you afraid to tell everyone you were a coward to ride Slaughter?"

Jake felt his blood racing with her sarcastic remark insinuation. "For your information it is none of your business what I decide to do with my future!" I lost a leg out there in the rodeo and damn near died. You want to know more about that maybe? "I don't know what you are trying to prove, but this interview is over and done with. Thank you Ma'am, but no thanks,"

Jake pushed past her and kept going, but he heard her screaming at the top of her voice,
"So Mr. Jake Ryder you are saying you are afraid of Slaughter!" "Okay folks, you heard it here on Montana News! Mary from Montana News, signing off."

This was really starting to rub on him Sorley and he felt bad. Before he could recompose himself, his instincts picked up something in the air and he broke out into a sweat. What's up? And what's behind this? Then he saw Duke come running across the parking lot and headed toward him. Fowler was doing his best to catch up with Duke.

Duke blurted out "Jake, your face is plastered all over the Montana News-they said you were a coward, Jake!"

Back in her house from the barn, Betsy had turned on the TV to watch the news to see if there was anything interesting on. She gasped and shouted OH! MY! GOD!
She saw Jake's face on the news with the report screaming at him you are a coward Jake!

Chapter 10
Reporter Calls Jake A Coward

By country ranch writer

Things were not looking good but Jake was ready to put  an end to his tragic story and to face his demons.

Dammit! Why did that mouthy reporter have to show up when she did? Why couldn't she leave well enough alone?

When Betsy heard the news on the TV she ran to the phone and tried to call Jake.
Duke answered the phone, he told her almost everything  that  happened.. He was concerened and fearful  fot the mood Jake was displaying.

That horrible day had just about devastated all of them putting everyone on edge..

They had started a new way of life and why couldn't people just leave them alone?

Betsy was very upset all this anxiety brought upon Jake right now. She was fearful of what might happen. The reporter twisted the whole question and answer impromptu session into cheap sensational news.

How bad can people get?

After the incident, Betsy could sense that Jake was having the demons start rising to nag him again. He headed back to Montana with Duke and left her home again. Now she was wondering why he had to go to Montana again.

Is he going to try to ride Slaughter again? A shiver went through her spine as she thought of this

. Surely he is not insane enough to do such a ridiculous thing just because of that reporter?

The more she thought about the whole thing, the more worried she got. She picked up the phone and dialed Jake's number. Jake answered automatically with..

"Hi dear. How are things down in Montana?"

"Oh! Everything is great and I am excited."

"Excited you said?"

"You're not going to.."

Just then she heard Jake say easy,"Slaughter" that's the boy!"

Then Jake spoke hurriedly. "I got to go now honey, Slaughter is giving me some problems here. Chat later."

Her cell phone dropped to the floor and broke into two pieces. She felt the same as the phone torn in pieces, her world seem to be closing in on her. She felt motionless and just sat quietly on the floor trying to take it all in. When she got her composure back again, she tried to dial again but there was no dial tone. Damn, why did he go and leave her at home!

Back on the rodeo circuit in Montana, everyone was cheering and getting high as the announcer, as the riders and the bulls were getting ready for some action.

The reporter Mary has been just as curious as the spectators.

Is Jake going to ride Slaughter after she had made the story about him being a coward?

Her mouth opened real big and her eyes about bugged out when she saw Jake got to the  bullpen where Slaughter was..
"Next up is Jake Ryder" and it made her nauseous and it felt she might faint.

What if he died from this single act of courage to prove he is not a coward? Gosh! What have I done?

Jake acted like he was going to mount Slaughter and waved his hands to have the gate opened and Slaughter headed out. Jake stood there and took his hat off to Slaughter and bowed. The spectators cheered them on and Jake spoke to Slaughter.

"You and I are heading back to the ranch, you will be a stud and a father soon" Slaughter snorted .. It's breeding season and the ranch is where he is going.

Back home Betsy waited and said a quick prayer.

A knock on the front door, brought her back to reality. She heard a voice calling from outside. No, it can't be Jake, but it's his voice. Gosh! Am I out of my mind again? She turned the front door knob expecting it to be someone to bring bad news about Jake!

As the door opened, she received a big hug,"Honey I am back! Happy Anniversary!"
Jake gave her a wet kiss or was it her happy tears ?

Now that Jake is back, that is all that matters, wet or dry. Come what may!

Jake let his crutches fall onto the floor, for now he had Betsy to hold onto forever.

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