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Gold Buckle Dreams This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Adrenaline courses through your veins. You’re sitting on 1,300 pounds of raw power and it’s trying to pitch you into the dirt. The only thing holding back all that power is the chute gate. It blows open at the tip of your hat, unleashing all that chaos and it’s time for the fun to begin - it’s rodeo.

All you can hear is your own breathing, your heart racing, and the sounds of the bronc as he tries to throw you into the dirt. You tune out everything else - the screaming crowd, the rowdy friends - and it’s just you and that bronc. You move as fast as you can, but it doesn’t feel fast enough. Your reflexes seem gone, and each time you spur, it feels like an eternity before your legs reach the bronc’s shoulder. You feel the strain on your arm and the bite of your spurs as they hook the horse’s hide. The power of the bronc rushes through you and you can feel him beneath you, giving everything he’s got to pitch you. You glimpse flashes of the crowd, your friends, the rodeo queens, but this isn’t about them. This is a fight between you and that horse. Both of you give everything you have; every ounce of strength in you tries to stick the horse, every ounce he has is trying to make you eat dirt.

Finally, through the dust and the sweat, you hear that buzzer blare and know you’ve done it. The pick-up men rush toward you and you double-grip your rigging. As always, you try to dismount on the pick-up man, but that never seems to happen.

As soon as your riding hand is free of the rigging, the bronc seems to know you’re not fully attached and throws you high into the air. All you can see is blue sky, followed by dirt. You climb to your feet, stagger toward the chute gate and slump down behind it. Friends and fans arrive to congratulate you and relive the ride. When your name is announced over the speakers, along with your score, the crowd goes wild. Adrenaline flows through your veins; the excitement of the ride hasn’t diminished yet. Nothing tops it.

Later, the adrenaline will wear off, the excitement will die, and the shock will subside. That’s when you’ll start feeling the pain. Your arm will feel like it’s been ripped off. Your legs will feel like you’ve been running nonstop for hours, and your neck and back will feel like they’ve been twisted into a pretzel. But it was worth it to conquer that buckin’ horse. And now, you have a buckle to prove it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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