Second Chance

May 25, 2010
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“Hello?” I said with one of those anxious voices.

“Hey man, it’s Tony from PBR Headquarters in Wichita. I was wondering if you had a minute.

“Yea sure, just give me a second”, as I quickly sat up and hobbled over to the kitchen.

“OK, what do you need?” I asked.

“Well, I was just talking to your doctor about your knee. He said that the bone is still week, but the tendons are fine?”

“Yea, and?”

“Well, doc said that if you take some steroids that he would prescribe to you, then your bone should help get stronger. You could get back work, and even back to Bulldogging. So what do you say?”

So many questions were going through my head at once. What would happen if I go back? What will Ashley think? What will happen if I break my knee again? These questions were just racing through. I almost last it, but I quickly took a death breath, exhaled, and said, “I’ll call you back; I need to talk it over with Ashley.”

“Ok man, but you need to hurry, because PBR is going to start in eight months” was his reply.

“Alright, thanks for the call. Talk to you later.”
I walked back to the coach were Ashley was lying. I stopped and just looked at her. Her tiny little figure just lying peacefully with her long red, curly hair almost covering here face. I sat back down, trying not to wake her, but I failed.

“Who was that?” she said in a half awake voice.

“That was Tony, you remember him right?” I said.

“Kind of, what did he want?” she said as she began to slowly rub her eyes and get up.
I didn’t know what to say at first. I started to get a little nervous, like the first time you’re going ask a girl out, but a little different. I just didn’t know how she would take the news. To me it was my second chance, but to her, it would be a night mare all over again if I went back.
“Well, he said before he called me, that he talked to doc’. I took a deep breath and began tell the rest of the news’. ‘Doc said that he could give me some steroids to help strength the bone in my knee. He said I could get back to Bulldogging.”
As those last words came out my mouth, the look on her face went from happy that I can get back to work, to the face I saw that Friday night, the face of shear terror. We just sat there looking at one another. Nothing was said for three minutes. I guess we were waiting for someone to say something.
“You almost couldn’t walk the last time. What the hell are you thinking?” was her response.
I didn’t know what to say. I began to get up and go outside when she grabbed my hand. She gave me the look of I’m sorry, please sit back down. She slowly patted the coach and brought me back down.
“I’m passionate about Bulldogging. It used to be everything I would dream and think about every waking moment.’ As I spoke those words, her eyes began to water up. She saw the passion in my eyes and notice that I could get my life back. ‘It’s the same feeling you have going to work every day, please don’t let my second chance slip away.?” I asked.
As I finished speaking those words, I could see the tears beginning to fall gently down her face. She was trying to hold them back, but couldn’t. She quickly hugged me and keep saying over, and over, “I’m sorry.” We sat there for another couple minutes before we went up stairs to bed. For both of us, it had been a long day, but hopefully now, everything will change.
The following morning, I silently woke up before Ashley and waked out side to the barn. The walk wasn’t that bad, it was the feed of the horses and lifting of hay and feed. As the last horse was feed, I turned around and saw her standing there in her little two peace pajama and muck boots with the face of, really? She walked over, grabbed my hand slowly walked back to the house. We didn’t say anything all morning, except for the occasional oops and hi.
A few hours later we hoped in the truck and headed into town. It was a sunny morning, but the weather man said that were going to get a storm. Storms out in Kansas are not ones you push aside; you always need to keep a weary eye out to make sure you’ll have enough time to get home, but when got to town, the storm was starting to form. She dropped me off at docs as she went to the grain store to pick up some feed and hay.
I walked through the door and the familiar sound of the bells rang through the empty room. Ruth was sitting behind the desk and look up when she heard the noise. She was an older black woman with a heart of a grandmother. The look she gave was that of surprise and happiness.
“Well, well, looks what the cat dragged in!” she said with a big smile on her face.
“Hey Ruth, is doc in?” I asked.
“Up, you sit down and he’ll be out in a sec.”
It wasn’t more a few seconds after I sat down when Doc came out with a huge southern grin on his face. He was a big man, bigger than me. I mean, I’m six-two, but he makes me look five-ten. You would think that he played football back in the day.
“Well, well, how you doing Kurt?” he said as he handing out his giant hands for a shake.
“Not to bad doc, you?”
“Oh you know, kids coming in with cuts and all, that’s about it. Come on in the office, I think I know what you’re here for.” He said with his deep southern voice.
He helped me up; more like lifted me, and walked with me to the office. When we got there, we I primarily was just asking questions about the steroids and how they would help me. What the risk would be and how it could help me. I was in the office for only twenty minutes, before I agreed to take the medication. He gave me a months worth and said to come back once every month to get some more. He also said to take one pill every day. I said the normal, “thanks doc”, and walk out side to meet Ashley who just got back from the store.
It’s been seven months of taking the medication that doc gave me and not only does my knee feel better, it works better. I’m able to start working all day with no pain and able to ride again. Everything was going so well, that I called tony back up.
“Hey, is this Tony?” I asked.
“Yea, how yea doing man? Your back in?” he asked with an anxious voice.
“Well, I’m going to have to say, yes!”
“Oh thank god’, he said with a huge sigh of relief, ‘Because I was able to get a couple sponsors for you.”
“That’s great, when does everything start? I got the money.”
“It starts Saturday at 10 am at the State Rodeo Arena. Can you make it?” he asked.
“Yup I’ll be there. Ok, I got to go, see you then”
I hung up the phone and went back to work. As I walked out the door, Ashley came driving up the drive. I walked over to the truck and stuck my head in to give her a kiss. Then, opened the door and so she could go change. I was going to tell her when she came back out to ride her horse. The pain in the butt Dune mare that will only listen to her, but my horse is the best one we got. The Buckskin stud that will do anything you ask.
When she came out, we quickly hoped on the horse that I already saddled up and went for our ride. Just the two of us on the back trail of our property. That’s when I told her the news, that the first round of competition was this Saturday. She was happy, but you could see that she was nervous inside. I know she doesn’t want me get hurt again, but she also wants me to start my life again. So she just that little smile that all nervous people give that’s says ok, when they really means don’t get hurt.
When we finished our ride, it was almost dusk and the horse were getting a little anode that they hadn’t had there supper. So when we got to the barn, we quickly unsaddled and put them in their stales with feed. Then shut the barn doors and held hands on the walk back to the house when the last gleaming light of the day goes done.
It now was Friday afternoon and Ashley was able to come home early to help finish packing the trailer up. I got most of the stuff packed, but she always had to organize everything all over again. It was one of her pet peeves. It came to be six at night and we had to hit the road. The Arena was a ten hour drive and we need to get there early enough to register, get set up, and get a little sleep. I made the trip many of times, but this one seems to be a little better. I guess I was feeling good about doing it all over again.
When we got to the arena, it was almost three in the morning. I look over to see if Ashley was awake, but of course, she wasn’t. She sleeping like a baby, all curled up on the set with her hair all over the place, almost like bed hair. I pulled up to our camping area and I proceeded to open the horse trailer so the horses could stretch there legs. As I was opening the door, I heard the truck door open and close. When I look around the trailer, Ashley was stretching and was looked around to see were I was. I called to her and waved her down to the trailer. She did the normal sleepy walk to the trailer and lend up against just looking so happy, but tired at the same time, it was kind of funny.
After we got the horses situated, I quickly set up the tent and climbed to bed with my sweet heart. It wasn’t a full night sleep, but enough of a nap to get you charged up for the day. I woke up first and fed the horses and started the fire to cook breakfast. Once the aroma of eggs and bacon filled our area, you could hear the movement in the tent. I let out a big laugh while I poured a cup of coffee. She came out hair all over the place and gave me a look of; I’m going to kill you.
We ate, I went over to the horses and got Roger, my horse, saddled him up for the day. During the process, Tony came running over with a lot of papers in his hands. He looked almost like nerd that you would see back in high school.
“Finally, ‘he exclaimed with a huge side of relief’. I’ve been looking all over for you. You’re up in one hour. Better get that leg stretched out”, he said as he ran off to probably find someone else.
I quickly finished saddling Roger and went to the truck to get some pain medication and the steroids. As I opened the truck, Ashley came up and lend up against the truck.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked.
“Baby, I said in a sweet voice, but then could say anything else. I just looked into her eyes and took a deep breath. Honey, just cheer me on?”
She just gave a smile, like one on a first date, gave me a loving kiss and walked back to the tent to grab her hat. I hopped on the horse and waited for her to come out before I took off to the check in, but she stopped me. She ran up, gave me one last kiss along with her necklace her grandmother gave her when she died.
“Take this for good luck’, she said with a smile. ‘Now go kick their a***s!”
I gave a big smile and took off leaving only dust behind me. Right as I got checked in, my name was called over the intercom to report to the arena. So I booked it over and got into place as they were telling the crowd my history. Next thing you know, a huge cheer rang out from the crowed. I looked in front of me were the judge and the flag was. Flag went up and the steer came running out of the shoot. Roger didn’t even skip and bet. He and I took off after that steer. It felt like eternity when chasing that steer. Then the next thing that happened made all arena roofs explode with energy. I grabbed that bull by the horns and brought it to the ground.
“4.3 seconds to start the day. Wow, that’s going to be a hard one to beat” I heard.
I stood up and walked over to Roger who was just standing just a few yards away. Gave him a good pat, hoped back on and rode out of the arena. You could still hear the crowed going wild after I left. Man did that feel good. The Rodeo went on for the rest of the day and I had to go back out two more times, but then came the time for the finals to see who one the first round of the event.
I went up last, so I was able to see all the times. The time I had to break was four seconds flat. I shocked my head back and forth as I prayed to do well. As I finished, Roger came walking over and nudged me with his head. I smiled and gave him a big old pat.
This was my second chance to show all, you can over come anything. I entered the arena with blinding lights shinning in my face, luckily for Roger he new where to go and brought me to our spot. All you can do is breath slowly, and imagine the bull running. Feel the sweet run down face and dirt flying all around.
Next thing doors fly open and it all starts. “YA” I yelled as we start. Immediately we go in over drive and fly out of the pen. The wind is rushing against my face. I look up at the clock, 2 seconds, 2.5 seconds. As I look back to the bull, I’m right on top of it. I slid off and grab the bull. In one motion, twist and pull the bull to the ground. A defining roar came from the crowd. I quickly looked up at the clock, 3.9 seconds; I dropped to the ground crying.
“I did it, I did it”, I said to my self.
Three more months went by and I found myself at the championship. Again it was a close call. All my friends and family came to see me win the championship. It probably was the greatest feeling in the world. It has been three years since the last time it went for the win. My second chance had come, and I took it by the horns.

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