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Almost Touchable This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   At the Butte rodeo I was determined tocatch my calf in breakaway. As I backed my sorrel mare into the ropingbox, I heard my aunt yell, "Let's go, Amber, you can do it." I waspumped to do my best. Nothing could stop me. I was determined to see myrope trailing that calf down the arena. I nodded, gave my horse a bumpwith my spurs and swung a loop around my head. I was determined to takethe first opportunity to get that rope out of my hand. The crowd grewsilent. I opened my eyes just in time to pull my slack. Then, I cameback to reality and realized I'd just roped my first calf in 6.66seconds, good enough for sixth place and to qualify to go to the staterodeo.

Two days before we left for the state rodeo, my horse andI were ready to win the world. That morning, though, I realized she waslimping. I was devastated to hear I had to give her time off. It meant Iwouldn't get to go to state. My brother offered me his horse, which wasjust a ranch horse. I decided to enter her in the local jackpot thatnight to see if I wanted to take her to state. It was a nightmare; shewouldn't run at all.

Luckily, a good friend told me to try herhorse. If I liked her, I could take her to state. This horse wasexcellent.

At state I was a nervous wreck about running apattern of poles and roping on a horse I didn't know. In breakaway wecouldn't get close enough to the calf to have a decent shot. But inpoles, we left the arena telling everyone who we were. For a small-towncowgirl and horse, we ran a nice set of poles, way better than my horsecould ever have done even on her best day.

The state high schoolrodeo was a fun learning experience - I became a better rider with a newoutlook and realized I had a true friend in a time of need - but I'llalways wonder how things would have gone if I were on my own horse.




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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