After the disappointments, discouragements, and the repeated horrible beatings you take learning and endlessly practicing.... there comes that one, singular, incredible moment in time when it FINALLY all comes together.
Everything feels right, you nod, the gate opens, and seventeen hundred pounds of professional athlete explodes under you. You feel his rhythm and match it, a nanosecond ahead of his. You see him clearly, you feel his every move.... you hear his breath and grunts. Your mind is clear, sharp, and focused. Your body responds instinctively to his.
You and him meld together into a living, breathing, efficient, machine in perfect timing. His power and speed helps you. Your lift on the rein helps him. You complement each other with every move. You're partners, understanding each other.
No colorful adjectives can ever describe the energy, the symbiosis, the sheer joy of that moment. As near as it can be described is a free trip to Disneyland, seeing every sunrise and sunset, winning the big lottery, and meeting God face to face... simultaneously ... all in eight seconds.
You don't want it to end. You don't want to surrender that indescribable feeling to a pickup man, but end, it must. It changes to an intense exhilaration, an 'afterglow', but there's a secret letdown that goes with it, mourning the loss of that magical moment.
That feeling is addictive. It becomes part of every cell in your body, every thought in your mind. You spiritually, physically, psychologically and emotionally crave it. Heroin junkies call it 'chasing the dragon'. Bronc riders call it rodeo. It's why we willingly pay every dime we get to chase the rodeo dragon even though we might not be making money or a shoe-box full of buckles.
Getting old is inevitable. Bronc riders tend to get old a little quicker than most. I try hard to age gracefully and enjoy the knowledge, wisdom and experience that comes with age. Most things I wouldn't want to do over, that "If I knew then what I know now" thing comes into play. As hard as I try, I can't help but mourn the loss of the incredible feeling of riding a big, strong, fast, honest, professional bucking horse."
Written by Tom Streeter, Bronc Rider