Monday, January 23, 2012

It's In His Blood

I promised earlier to tell the whole story about how our son, Billy Quade, started riding bulls. Many a relative and friend has wondered how we could encourage such a life choice. Like I've said before, Rex earned a living riding all three rough stock events, and Quade watched intently from the time he was just tiny. In fact, when he was only 22 months old, and just barely talking, he would walk around saying, "sheep, sheep, sheep". We would go to a rodeo, get seated in the companion section with all the girlfriends and wives and kids, and he just couldn't contain himself when the sheep riding came up. He would fuss and fuss to go down to the arena. When the Spring Creek, Nevada rodeo came up  just 30 minutes from the ranch, Rex said that we were "going to break an egg in this kid" and let him ride in the sheep riding. I had a bad feeling from the beginning - and even told Rex that they wouldn't let a kid as young as 22 months in. But Rex said he had it handled - and Quade would get  in.

"Remember, he is going to get freight-trained and he is going to cry. DO NOT go down to the arena to pick him up. Let him walk back to me. If he gets real hurt, I will handle it!", Rex firmly instructed. When Rex swung our little son over the side of the chute and down onto the sheep, Quade started to have second thoughts. Rex employed Charlie Mariluch to help him get our baby unstuck from the wood slats, as Quade was now crying and sticking to everything like a piece of Velcro. "Hold on Rex, what exactly constitutes child abuse?", Charlie hollered above Quade's "No! No! No!"  "Just help me get him on the sheep, Charlie! We're breaking an egg in him while he's young!" Rex retaliated.

Long story short, Quade made it MAYBE one jump before getting freight-trained by the monster Suffolk. I watched my little baby, struggle to get up, looking around the big arena for help. He was crying uncontrollably. "How old is this one?", the announcer said in amazement. "I'll bet he's the youngest we've ever had so far!", he continued. I was seated directly across from Quade. Rex was motioning at me to stay where I was. The mothers around me were all talking. "Where is his mother?", one asked. "This is ridiculous!", she continued. I put my head in my hands. Quade turned and saw his Dad. He started to stumble towards him, arms outstretched.

Then, out of the blue, came the bullfighter. He had a two-liter bottle of pop, which he handed to Quade. "This little tyke deserves a Hard Luck Award!", the announcer yelled. The audience went wild. Quade heard the audience's approval. He immediately stopped crying. The pop bottle was dragging on the ground, his little arms just barely able to reach around. He had the biggest grin on his little face. And that's how it all started.

Quade went on riding sheep until he was seven.
Then, he moved on to calves - then steers - then his first bull when he was twelve.
And now, he's 19 and qualified for his first finals event, for the BRI Association.
So it's in his blood and it's what he loves. And as Rex so eloquently put it, "If it wasn't for that *%$!*ng bullfighter, we would've broke an egg in that kid!"

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