The Rodeo Cowboy
This is a story about a young man who had received a college rodeo scholarship for his ability to ride bulls. Will Malay was bound for rodeo stardom, if he could overcome just one obstacle. He kept tripping over his own ego.
Will had not yet learned to take advice from others, nor how to work with others to do things as a team. In bull riding you must have patience. There were three rounds in which a contestant would ride a different bull. They would get a score for each ride, which would be added together for their final score. It is hard to win all three rounds for the luck of the draw determines what animal you get each time. A bull rider must be consistent and keep their scores up on bulls that give them trouble. Until they get the right draw, the right bull that suits their riding style, which they can really score the points, the one that pushes their point total over all of the other riders. Most of the scores are in the 70’s and 80’s, the really good ones in the 90’s. Yet if you fall off before riding 8 seconds, your score is 0, which can really take you out of becoming the champion. It will also take your college rodeo team out of contention, when the scores of all of the other rodeo events are added up to make the winning team.
Will had yet to learn any of these lessons for he pushed everything to the limit. His theory of being top dog always meant risking it all, of getting the top bull riding score or nothing. This inconsistency kept the team from winning any rodeos, and Will from winning any individual titles. This attitude drove the rodeo coach wild. In the last rodeo Will only had to ride a bull and post a score for his team to win. But Will, wanting to show off his stuff and win it all, began pushing it to the hilt for extra points, and was thrown off. The team went from first place to a tie for sixth place.
This was the last straw for the coach and he called Will into his office when they returned home from the rodeo. “Will, I am kicking you off the team after your last fiasco. The national championship is all that is left, and you are part of our team which has qualified for it. But I have some high school bull riders who I want to recruit for next year’s team coming to watch it. I don’t want them to see your attitude; I want them to know I recruit team players only.” Will was shocked. The coach was kicking the star off the team. How could they win without him? He blurted out, “You don’t mean that. This is the national championship, my last chance to win it with the team and win the individual bull riding for myself. All my family will be there as well as professional rodeo sponsors. This is my big chance, you have to let me compete.”
The coach and Will finally struck a deal. The coach would let Will participate at state, if he would help coach Ray. Ray was a good bull rider only a notch below Will in ability, but he tended to freeze up under the pressures of competition. Being a junior the coach would need him to replace Will next year as his best bull rider on the team. And if Will could get Ray to relax a little, he could reach his full potential and help the team win the nationals.
Will began working with Ray and after the rough edges and hard feelings wore off, things began to go smoothly. Will also began to enjoy the friendship, respect, and camaraderie of the rest of the rodeo team; as he became good friends with Ray. Will would often tease Ray telling him the bucking bull was just like riding a rocking chair with a head on it. Before long Ray was giving Will a hard time right back and they were riding bulls better than they ever had. Will was sure with a little luck Ray could win the state bull riding championship if he didn’t. All that would be needed was for Will to divert Ray’s attention with their little games to keep him from getting so nervous.
The rodeo soon came and Ray was doing well with Will there teasing him on. The competition was tough and had come down to the last go round to determine the bull riding champion. Ray was in the lead, and with just a decent ride would win the bull riding competition and clinch the rodeo team championship as well. The coach stopped by to talk with Will. “Ray is doing real well, and you are not doing so bad either. Are you both ready for your final rides?” Will quipped back, “This has nothing to do with me, this is Ray’s chance to finally win a bull riding competition. And I’ll do everything in my power to help him win, even if I have to glue him to the bull.”
Will had drawn one of the toughest bulls just ahead of Ray. Will decided not to do anything fancy, just ride the bull through and completely control him. If he fell off it might take away some of the confidence that Ray needed. Besides there was no way he wasn’t going to hurry back and talk with Ray before he rode his last bull. Will’s bull was rank, but he just relaxed and hung in there with him. When the buzzer sounded Will jumped off and ran back to the chute to see Ray.
There was a whole lot of applause so his ride couldn’t have been half bad. Will was in such a hurry to get to Ray that he did not catch his score, but it did not matter. All that was needed was a decent ride by Ray. Will jumped up on the outside of the chute where Ray was getting on his bull. “These bulls aren’t that tough,” Will said jokingly. “I had a ranker bull then you have, and it was no harder than rocking in my grandma’s rocking chair. Relax, concentrate, and you have it made.” The gleam in Ray’s eyes told Will he had done his job.
Ray latched onto that bull and hung on for dear life. Will watched the ride, and loudly cheered Ray on. It had not been the greatest bull ride, but it should be enough for Ray and the team to win. Throwing his hat in the air, Will ran over and hugged the coach. “Ray did it! Ray did it!” Will yelled, not letting the coach get a word in edge wise. “This is the best moment I have ever had, having Ray win the bull riding championship, and the team win state. This is much better than winning anything myself. Thanks for making me work with Ray and getting my head cleared.”
Then Ray came walking over and they heard the loudspeaker boom, “The winner of the bull riding title is Will Malay.” Will turned around to the coach, “They have the wrong guy, Ray is the winner.” But the coach just smiled and replied, “Will, the ride you had on the bull before Ray was the best bull ride I have ever seen at the college level. You deserve the title.” Will looked over at Ray and said, “This was supposed to be your rodeo. You did so well, you deserve the title.” But Ray began pushing Will toward the center of the arena and quietly said, “I’ve really enjoyed working with you champ. Now go out and get your trophy.”
Will went out to get his bull riding trophy with a different attitude, a greater knowledge of what our lives are all about. For when Will had focused on others, it had only brought out the best in himself.
Faith with humility is just like the story. When we focus on Christ and do His will, it only brings out the very best in us. For the battle is not to see who can do the most or be the top dog. The battle is for the greatest to become the least, a servant to all for Jesus. When one focuses on Christ they are not even aware of all His love they are spreading. They will even be more surprised at all the blessings the Lord has waiting for them in Heaven above. So let it be dear Lord.
*And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Mk 9:35 NKJV+
*For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Lk 14:11 NKJV+
Copyright 2002 amended 2013 by Ron Borkey
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