Growing up around rodeos had taken me through every feeling in the book: anticipation, excitement, fear… The last one being the hardest. Rodeos weren’t all fun and games. The animals didn’t compete according to anyone’s pre-set rules. And protective gear could only do so much if a 2,000 lb bull slammed his foot onto your chest, or any body part.
As a doctor, I cringed at the thought of men putting themselves on the back on danger. But truthfully, I couldn’t get rodeos out of my system. I wasn’t going to stop attending any sooner than cowboys would stop competing.
Man vs. Beast.
It called to me at a primal level and I had the utmost respect for the athletes who saddled up night after night on the rodeo circuit. As a doctor, I also had a special skill set I could put to use and joined the volunteer medical team.
The one thing that kept me sane was distance. Emotional distance. Watching a stranger in a cowboy hat, nice-fitting Wranglers, and boots, straddle an animal was easier when I didn’t have a connection. I cheered for them, gave them medical advice, and sent them on their way.
Then Colt ended up in the medical trailer. I was supposed to x-ray him, assess the damage, and give him the verdict. I’d known who he was before he ever said his name and I was about to do the one thing I promised myself not to do. Fall for a cowboy.
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