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Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #6

Bucking Bull Go-Round

By D. Avery

Luck of the Draw, Resilience of the Rider

Bull riders are “today’s gladiators,” willing to risk injury and death for their ride to fame. Can you imagine straddling an angry, snorting 1800-pound animal that wants nothing more than to shake you off and perhaps gore and trample you, too? What must it be like to prepare for that, to face down fear as you approach the chute and settle atop this beast that you will dance with in the arena? What are people’s motivations to confront such a challenge, to set upon it and not only hang on for dear life, but to ride it with as much grace and finesse as possible, showing courage and skill in equal measure? Carrot Ranch’s Bucking Bull Go-Round event is a flash fiction approximation of rodeo’s most dangerous event, bull riding.

At the Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR) website, a bull ride is defined as

A contest of strength, balance, endurance, and effort between the world’s best bull riders and the world’s best bucking bulls. A rider must ride for 8 seconds with one hand in the bull rope and one in the air in order to earn a score. The clock starts when the bull’s shoulder or hip breaks the plane of the gate. It stops when the rider’s hand comes out of the rope – voluntarily or not.”

For the Bucking Bull Go-Round, contestants must first draw their bull:

  1. Enter for a prompt no later than 11:59 pm Friday, EST, October 27.
  2. Entrants will find out what prompt they drew on 12:01 am (EST) Saturday, Oct. 28 on the Flash Fiction Rodeo Event #6 post (this post).
  3. Then the clock starts, with contestant having until 11:59 pm Tuesday, October 31 to enter their stories, which must be in response to the prompt and include their own two unique prompt words, which are actual bull names from professional bull riders’ circuit.

The PBR also states:

The clock also stops if the Rider touches himself, the bull, or the ground with his free arm during the 8 second ride.”

To reflect the no touching rule in this event, you will show your hat in the air by sticking to fiction. Don’t even narrate in first person. While only the writer knows where a story idea germinates, your response should not be any form or function of non-fiction.

The PBR awards scores to both bull and rider.

A bull is judged on his athleticism and difficulty to ride. This takes into account spin (right or left), direction changes (movement forward and backward or side to side), kick in the back end, drop in the front, and body rolls. A body roll occurs when a bull is in the air and kicks either his hind feet or all four feet to the side. The more of these characteristics a bull displays during a ride, the higher the degree of difficulty.”

Your bull is your prompt words, so it is important that writers are aware of how bulls are scored so that they can enhance their own scores. The prompt words are each different and have their own inherent difficulties. It will be up to the writers to demonstrate these moves and their control of the prompt. In this event, the bull is not scored, but a high scoring story includes rolls and pitches, kicks and lunges, or changes of direction, based on the prompt words, even as the writing remains fluid and centered.

“A rider is judged on how in control he is during the ride. This takes into account how well he matches and counters the bull’s moves, how centered he is and how fluid his movement is during the bull ride.  Extra points may be awarded for style, such as spurring (marking out the bull; the rider lifts his legs up by the shoulders of the bull and returns them) which demonstrates complete control.”

In this event style is closely linked with control. Style is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Style is when the rider has mastered the moves of the bull and now is showing moves of her own. Style is when the whole ride looks easy and smooth.

So that, with a lot of borrowing from the Professional Bull Riders’ Association, is a definition of an actual bull ride and judging. Actual life can also be fraught with bucking snorting challenges and bone jarring kicks and twists. Perhaps you have faced your own trials and dangers in other arenas, have already experienced eight-second eternities that would either break you or make you. In this event, just as in bull riding, just as in life, you may or may not feel that you got a good draw, but like the professional bull riders, you will draw on your skills and experience to steady your nerves and meet the challenge. Because in life, and in fiction, meeting challenge and facing fear aren’t chosen so much as lived, confronted as responsibility, obligation, necessity, and even possibility. What has been your toughest ride? Take inspiration from those moments or situations that make you hold on and dig in despite an uncertain outcome, where no matter how your ride ends, you get cowpoke credit just for putting your butt down on the bull’s back. Draw one of these bull names and work it into a flash fiction that shows challenge and daring.

Submission information


FIRST: enter name and email no later than 11:59 pm (EST) Friday, Oct. 27 to draw a prompt. If you missed the contest, you can take the challenge with unclaimed Bull Names (see list). NOW CLOSED.


# Writer Bull
19 Etol Bagam Snake Eater
32 D. Avery God’s Gift
10 Charli Mills Lip Tricks
28 Bill Engleson Uncle Charlie
31 Diana Nagai No Refund
25 Jeanine Western Wishes
15 Susan Budig Poison Ivy
34 Lisa @The Meaning of Me Beer Goggles
17 FloridaBorne Chocolate Thunder
5 Frank Hubeny Perfect Storm
29 Judy E Martin Big City
38 Irene Waters Free Loader
14 Geoff Le Pard Two Telegrams
35 Khadija Chunky Monkey
16 Kim Blades Crystal Deal
4 Hugh Roberts Bad Rumor
2 Chris Mills Squirt Gun
27 Norah Colvin Fairy Tattoo
30 JulesPaige Drop Zone
33 Christina Steiner Perfect Poison
24 Colleen Chesebro Pearl Harbor
20 Theresa Gober Pork Chop
26 Jillian Green DiGiacomo Ugly Time
6 Liz H Houdini magic
13 jackschuyler High Tide
3 Bobby Fairfield Yellow Jacket
8 Kati MacArthur Cowtown Cartel
37 Kerry E. B. Black Law Dog
12 Michael Acid Rain
36 Nancy Beach After Party
1 Elliot Lyngreen Young Gun
9 Deborah Lee Sleeping Deacon
39 Robbie Cheadle Bad Medicine
23 Michelle Buck Final Fantasy
11 Joe Owens Maze Runner
52 Ritu Bhathal War Dance
47 Ann Edall-Robson Blueberry Wine
44 D. Wallace Peach Voodoo Child
21 FOR CHALLENGERS Pandora’s Box

SECOND: use the prompt assigned to complete the contest by 11:59 pm October 31.

Entrants must use form in this post to enter their stories. READ THE RULES. It’s more than using your Bull’s Name and the rules explain how to use the name.


The Rules

  1. Must enter your name to draw a prompt by 11:59 pm (EST) Friday, Oct. 27.
  2. Stories are to be 107 words in long in eight sentences.
  3. Stories are to include the two words drawn as your prompt (you may change the order of the words and they do not need to be adjacent).
  4. Write a fictional story that involves facing a challenge or fear.
  5. Stories are to be fiction only; no personal narrative, memoir, or non-fiction of any persuasion. Spur on a story!
  6. Go where the prompts lead, or buck, or twist. Hang on to your hat!
  7. Enter completed flash fiction for the Bucking Bull Go-Round by by 11:59 pm October 31.

 CHALLENGE OPTION: If you don’t feel up to entering a contest please feel free to respond to the challenge in the comments section of this post: BULL NAMES POSTED SAT. OCT. 28. You can pick from the list for the challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.

Judging by Nurse Crotchett, Ms. Critchley and D. Avery, all wild readers from the East.

Judging Criteria

  1. Word and sentence count; 107 words, 8 sentences
  2. Control; Story reveals effective moves based on the prompt words, even as the writing remains fluid and centered on the prompt theme
  3. Style; Deft handling of prompts, smooth writing, effective use of story devices.

Next up: Murderous Musings! by Sherri Matthews on Thursday, October 26.

Announcement of Winners

Winners will be announced on Carrot Ranch on December 12, 2017.

About Carrot Ranch

Carrot Ranch is a literary community committed to providing all writers access to literary art regardless of backgrounds, genres, goals and locations. Common ground is found through the writing, reading and discussion of flash fiction. The weekly online flash fiction challenges promote community through process, craft and exploration, and regular participants form a literary group called The Congress of Rough Writers. Their first anthology, Vol. 1 publishes in 2017. Carrot Ranch offers an adult-learning program called Wrangling Words, available to all communities where Rough Writers reside.












  1. Charli Mills says:

    Your big day is here, Kid! I’m cheering on this event because I’ve seen the list of names writers can draw.

    Writers! This will be spectacular! You need to enter your name in the drawing to receive your Bull. Bull names posted at 12:01 am EST this Saturday, October 28. If you are a contestant you have to use the bull name assigned. As a challenger, you can pick from the list.

    Get ready to ride the Bucking Bull Go-Round!

  2. Reblogged this on ShiftnShake.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I can’t wait to see the list of Bull names posted for the writers! You have gathered the best bulls!

    • While ya’ll wait fear the bulls to be drawn, there’s still two open events. Don’t forget or neglect event # 4 event #5.


      “Kid, they’s lots goin’ on, why’re you clownin’ aroun’?”

      “Ain’t clownin’, I’m gonna seriously help the bull riders.
      Gotta be ready to distract an’ divert them bulls.
      An’ Shorty’s pickup rider, she’ll make sure ever’one’s safe.”

      “Kid, ya might wanna reconsider this, rodeo clownin’s dangerous.”

      “Doin’ it fer the Ranch, fer the bull riders.”

      “Kid, yer too green fer clownin’ in the arena.
      Though seems you might’ve jumped in a barrel before.
      An’ why’re we still talkin’ in nine word sentences?
      CJ git ya hooked on that twitterature flash bullshift?”

      “I can stop anytime, but CJ’s event’s still open.”

      “Kid, we don’t seem finished at 11 x 9.”

      “We ain’t gotta be, ‘cause Irene’s challenge’s a double.
      Folks’s got through the 26th to enter her event.”

      “Yep, Irene’s until the 26th, and CJ’s the 29th.
      It’d behoove ya ta stay out’ve the arena, Kid.
      Unless you want a BOTS for the scar challenge.”

      “Don’t worry Pal, stop tryin’ to steer me astray.
      The riders’ll feel more confident with a clown nearby.
      You think it’s my first time at a rodeo?”

      “Uh, Kid, I know it’s yer first ever rodeo.”

      “Yep, an’ so far it’s my absolute favorite rodeo!”

  3. Susan Budig says:

    The hardest part of this challenge-contest will be the adherence to eight sentences. As soon as I read that part, I felt very challenged.

    • But you get an extra eight words, just in case you need some conjunctions. And if you enter, there’s a challenge faced. You’ve got this.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Susan, you can practice with the 9×11 Twitterflash! I admit, I also found the 11 sentences challenging, but the more I do it, the easier it flows. Just wait until you draw your bull name! 😀

  4. Liz H says:

    😮 (Running to check her health insurance is up to date & ice packs are in the freezer)

  5. […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo #6 […]

  6. Put my name in for the draw. Sounds daunting but fun as well.

  7. Reblogged this on Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) and commented:
    Up for a challenge. This one sounds a doozy – get your spurs out and join in.

  8. Ritu says:

    Oh My! Will my brain be able to handle this???

  9. […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo #6 […]

  10. This is going to be a real challenge, but a fun one! 🙂

  11. Reblogged this on judyedwinamartin.

  12. Norah says:

    I’m not sure I’m ready for this, but I’ve signed up and will give it a go. I’m looking forward to receiving my prompt. Yee-haw!

  13. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Another contest in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo. This time it’s a lot of bull. Are you in?

  14. Fun! Love the challenge and all the suspense! 🙂

  15. julespaige says:

    Holy Moly… you don’ say nuthin’ about them Rodeo clowns in the arena.
    Any help from them or am I thinking of a different event?

    Oh, wait I jist figured it out – We’re the clowns to take on the bull!
    I entered…. Helmet (check), Glove (check)… Brains… Not sure where I left my brains…

    I’ll jist have to up and see if I can also do a challenge piece once the names are put up. 😉

  16. A. E. Robson says:

    The best for last. Thanks go out to all the judges and organizers of this world-class, month-long event. I’ve been following along, but that is all I’ve been able to do until now. Finally, I have some breathing room to enter and now it all comes down to the luck of the draw. Good luck to the other contestants.

    • julespaige says:

      If you have a few extra moments… you can always put something in the other events as challenges.

      Thanks for poking in and enjoying the ride.

    • Jules speaks truth- there are two live ones yet, “scars”, and twitter flash, both good ways to get used to the flash saddle again. This has been a world class rodeo right outta the gate with Norah’s wise-ish childly prompt; Geoff’s request for funny really separated the men from the girls; and Jule’s septolet challenge stretched some into new territory. We are all fitter and faster riders as we count words, sentences, and syllables, stringing stories together. Write on.

      • Charli Mills says:

        That’s a fine summary for our Rodeo. I’ve been proud of each event as it unfurls, amazed at the creativity put into the Rodeo from leaders and writers.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Good to see you, Ann! May you draw a good bull!

  17. […] Prepare for a fast and furious ride, with a helmet, vest and a glove too, here: Bucking Bull Go-Round […]

  18. julespaige says:

    Hey Kid,

    I’m hoping to drum up some business for ya here:

    Sporting for a Bucking Bull Go Round

  19. Liz H says:

    And if I didn’t say before, please sign me up for this one, too.

    • Did you submit in the form above for your bull? Two forms, this first one for the bull, then Saturday they’re posted and the form for the entry is available.
      You do not scare easily, do you?

      • Liz H says:

        Uh yes. Yes I do. Thank yuh very much. But I’m doing it anyway, cuz life is short so why not stretch?
        Jules (Julespaige) sent me a head’s up on the first form, so I’m committed… 😉

    • Charli Mills says:

      I saw your name go into the hat, Liz! Get ready to ride!

  20. Another fun idea, Charli.

  21. Writing flash is analagous to bull-riding as you’re in the driving seat for a very short time but seems like a lifetime and has many pitfalls but hopefully fewer injuries, only to the ego

  22. Fun. Fun. Fun. Im in! !

  23. […] went live on Tuesday, but there’s still time to enter if you gallop over to this link today: Judges Hugh, Mike and I can’t wait to read your murderous musings and really hope […]

  24. Joe Owens says:

    Ok, I have been over this post too many times and feel like an idiot, but is there a place to ask for a bull name that I am just missing?

  25. Charli Mills says:

    D. what a fun list! All of these names of pro-rodeo bulls are prompt-worthy! Okay, I got on the back of my bull (Lip Tricks!) and I rode my 8 seconds (sentences) in 107 words.


    Lip Tricks by Charli Mills

    Belle shoved her Stetson back on her mass of short curls, worried the grandstands felt unfriendly. If Grandma weren’t in the hospital, Belle knew there’d be one kind face in the crowd. She balled her small hands into fists and quickly released her grip. Each time she did, her lip quivered.

    Someone behind the corrals snickered, “Look at that girl, she looks like a fish doing tricks.” Laughter followed.

    Belle remembered Grandma’s words: “Mutton-busting is all in the grip, Girl and you work those hands.” It was one of Grandma’s lessons, and by the end of the day, Belle was the last one laughing with first prize.

    • julespaige says:

      Just keeping up with confidence can be tricky. It is always good to have a few supporters – even if they aren’t in the audience at the time you’d like ’em to be. Remembering their advice, smile and embrace helps!

      I’ll be entering a challenge piece this afternoon…
      I waited because, well it’s full of bullshift….
      A little left over magic worked it’s way in…
      Ah well you’ll see…

  26. Mutton-busting? Who knew? Oh, you did.
    The best laugh is the last laugh. Congratulations on a fine bull ride. That was a name that I did not want to draw!
    That is a fine, diabolical list. This is going to get interesting.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I busted out laughing at my draw! And I never truly got to mutton bust, keeping it fiction. 😉 But my kids were dirt-eating, mutton-crashing sheep riders back in Montana. Kate’s grandkids are all legendary mutton busting champs in Helena, MT.

      • Some of those draws… knowing what was there made it worse, more frightening. Then I get God’s Gift?! I should be grateful.
        Glad to see those grandkids in your fiction. Thinkin’ Belle’s a bit of a buckaroo, too.

      • We don’t have rodeo in Vermont but I can testify that riding a sheep is not an easy feat. Nor do Angus heifers appreciate being ridden. The half Clydesdale, half Morgan that shared our pasture tolerated two or three of us at a time hanging out on his broad back but when he’d had enough he simply ducked his head and walked underneath a tree branch that he just fit under, scraping us off. But no bucking. I looked like a rodeo clown one day when I got off the bus and the steer was out of the fence and was drunk on green apples. He was a mean 1200 pound drunk and had me dancing with the mail box.

      • Charli Mills says:

        You are God’s Gift to bull, D. And I mean that in the kindest and and most appreciative sense!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Vermont has every day rodeos, it seems! Sounds like we shared similar childhood, crawling onto the backs of critters and escaping charges from others.

  27. cam8510 says:

    Submitted, and I have to say, I like this story. D. Avery, thanks for the creative, intelligent challenge with such thorough instructions. I like the symbolism of eight sentences for the eight seconds of bull riding. Well done.

  28. floridaborne says:

    My bull has bucked its way into the pen.

    • I will wait, yet can’t wait, to see your spin on Chocolate Thunder. I hope the ride was not too jarring.

      • floridaborne says:

        SciFi in 107 words and 8 sentences — that was a fun challenge. 🙂

      • There are worse genres you could have chosen with that bull. Glad you enjoyed the challenge. I started to write something, had to pare it down to 107 words, then remembered the eight sentence deal, which required more revision. Just as I started to like what I had I realized the story idea had led me away from the words I was meant to incorporate, they were not included! And now I have offered those words in trade so will not bother revising that piece until I know what’s going on with these bucking bulls. I cursed the instigator of this challenge, so it is good that others have liked it.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Fine ride, Joelle! You stayed on your eight seconds and rode Chocolate Thunder.

  29. I hope I have managed to cling on long enough for you to read my entry!

  30. Ritu says:

    Charli… don’t know if I’m going mad but I requested a prompt and my name isn’t on the list!

  31. Oh, no… I spelled possessed wrong in my submission. I couldn’t see that mistake for anything until I read it again and saved it to my computer. Good grief! (Eye-roll)

  32. Ritu says:

    I have tried to submit my entry… Don’t know if it has gone to you all though as is staying in the form after I click submit! I am being a right royal pain in the Ar*e aren’t I tonight!

    • Wow, what? How’d you write so fast? Did you use God’s Gift? (Seriously, did you, or can I have God’s Gift?)

      • Ritu says:

        You are most welcome to God’s Gift!
        I used my very own War Dance!
        But I just don’t know if it’s gone through lol!
        I have discovered a love for flash fiction, and try and write it off the cuff, with a self-imposed time limit!
        …just need to know if it’s arrived lol!

      • It will get to me. It is a magic that I do not understand, but it will get here. Somehow. Charli makes sure everything is all right. Everything is all right, now that the stray bulls have been rounded up.

      • Ritu says:

        I sure hope so! Charli will let me know, I’m sure!

  33. Ritu says:

    I sure hope so! Charli will let me know, I’m sure!

  34. […] bulls have been released at Carrot Ranch. For the sixth rodeo event writers must write a fictional story that involves facing a challenge or fear in 107 words and eight […]


    Well, heck, that was a pain in the butt, making all those pieces fit. Now I know. Challenge not contest:

    God’s Gift

    Ruth took great comfort at the arrival of the familiar midwife. “My Godsend is returned for me”, she smiled up from her bed.

    The midwife greeted her warmly, remembering the last time she’d come to Ruth, when her son was born, a difficult, dangerous birthing for Ruth. Now she was again holding Ruth’s hand, asking her in soothing tones if she was ready, if it was time.

    “It is time. I was so afraid before, but not now.”

    “We’re proud of how you used your gift, how you’ve lived generously and fearlessly.”

    As her children and their grown children wept around her bed, Ruth was peacefully borne away.

    • Ha! My word count is off here. Disqualified. Whipped by my own challenge. The revised version is at my site. Bleh.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I couldn’t count words through the tears! We all need a midwife when we are borne away and it’s an honor to be the midwife at either end of the life cycle.

      Yes, your word count and sentence count whipped me, too! Had me counting! It’s a good challenge because the structure makes us look for possibilities in the story that we might not otherwise see.

  36. Norah says:

    What a lot of bulls! It’s going to be a great challenge. I almost missed it though – forgot I had to come back to this post for my pick. 🙂 Good thing I was notified of D. Avery’s story and came back to see. Talk about a scatterbrain. I didn’t notice that as a bull’s name though. I’m looking forward to the ride. Thanks. 🙂

  37. It’s About the Ride

    “Hey Shorty, fine work, roundin’ up those runaway bulls.”

    “Thanks Kid. So, how’s it goin’?”

    “Oh, it’s goin’, Shorty, goin’ fast and furious; lotsa riders drew bulls, many’ve already ridden, but… I’m in fer lotsa really good readin’.”

    “Seems like a good problem to have, Kid.”

    “Well, I ain’t never liked cullin’ the herd, if ya know what I mean.”

    “Yer prompt was about meeting a challenge an’ you’ll meet this one by doin’ yer best, you an’ yer pals, plus ever’one knows this here’s a fun contest, ‘bout as safe as a rodeo can be, thank God.”

    “I thank God fer you Shorty, yer a gift.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Kid earned spurs for certain on this bull leadership. The next challenge of selection will be done with grace. All have given their best rides and we can take heart in that!

  38. Have you received my entry yet? I sent it yesterday, 28 Oct. Kim Blades

  39. Okay, mine is entered. That was hard!

  40. Awe man, forgot the title. Hope it doesnt mess up the story. Might have made more sense… shoot

  41. Gettin’ quite a corral full of ridden bulls. Congratulations bull riders, that was an iconic event. Yawl rest while you can. Now things are about to get real TUFF.

  42. julespaige says:

    hmmm….not to many challenge pieces. I wonder if I should wait or not?

    Ya know I think I’m just gonna go for it -Then I don’t have to worry about forgetting it past the deadline.

    Here’s the thing… I took all the challenge names and used ’em like a ‘Wordle’ (that’s a word list that you gotta stuff into a piece of verse or fiction that sometimes also has word count limits) just cas it tickle my fancy to do so.

    Here’s the challenge bull name list: Wild Onion, Crash Scene, Cat-man Do, Panic Attack, Pandora’s Box, Trick Treat, Shiver Shake.

    Enjoy the ride…

    Title: Just a Bunch of Bull Names

    “Pandora’s havin’ another panic attack Ma, she’s a shiver shake.

    Ma was prepared after the last crash scene at the Wild Onion
    Restaurant. And that weren’t no trick treat.

    “Cat-man” she says to her son; “Do, get me that box of large
    brown paper bags.

    “Pandora honey jist breath into the bag like the doc done
    showed you how.” Ma was looking around the place to try
    and figure out what in tarnation was upsetting her little girl.

    There on the floor in a double wide page spread was the
    ugliest Rodeo Clown face Ma had ever seen. No wonder
    Pandora had her knickers in a twist.

    (107 words, 8 sentence)


    • So glad to have you clownin’ aroun’ with the bulls we collected. And I think Twisted Knicker was another bull name, so more points for you.
      Also, Double Wide, Honey Jist, and Figure Out. You got ’em all. Well ridden. Thanks for rising to your self imposed challenge!

      • julespaige says:

        Know comes the TUFF part… and I haven’t a clue…

        Maybe tomorrow something will cross my path in the way of a grain of an idea.

        Thanks for putting up with my antics and laughing with me. 🙂

  43. OK, so my bull is a false starter and we had some technical difficulties. I’m the rider with the multiple entries, but I think I marked clearly which ride is the one I want to be judged. Hope all is OK – let me know?

  44. […] This post was written for the Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #6. […]

  45. […] Carrot Ranch Rodeo Prompt#6_Bucking Bull Go Round (10/31/2017): Write a Flash Fiction in 107 words, in eight sentences (no more, no less) that involves facing a challenge or fear. Fiction only, and you must use the words for the bulls’s name that will be drawn for you on 10/28/17). Bull’s name is Houdini Magic. […]

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