Some cowboys grow up knowing one day they will ride bulls. Others deny their destiny until the call of the rodeo arena grows too insistent to deny. The same could be said of writers. And no matter how hard she tries to shrug off the inevitable, D. Avery is a mighty fine writer.
D. introduced us to Kid, Pal, Aussie, and Boss through weekly Ranch Yarns that give character to the flash fiction prompts and the Ranch community. Through her writing explorations, she discovered the stories of characters who pushed her to the page, handling difficult issues with empathy, curiosity, and humor. Soon, she’ll release her first collection of fiction.
But first, D. is gonna get us riding bulls for the final rodeo contest in October.
Rodeo #5 The Sound and the Fury: Bull Riding
By D. Avery
Sometimes fear, respect, and awe are the braids of one rope. Sometimes that one rope is all a buckaroo has to hang onto. Sometimes that rope is wrapped around a muscular two thousand pound bull.
That bull will do everything it can to buck the rider off its back and should it succeed in that, will then try to trample or gore the dislodged rider. The bull’s reactions are natural and logical; some would even say athletic and beautiful. That’s why the bull in the bull riding event at rodeos gets scored by judges just like the rider; the bull can earn up to 50 points, the bull rider can earn up to 50 points.
Bull rider Carrson Hiatt says, “The bull, that’s your dance partner for the night.”
It is a very dangerous dance for the human partner. Injuries are frequent and frequently severe. Deaths are not unexpected and not uncommon. Bull riding would seem then to be an illogical thing to do. Unlike roping events or bronc busting it is the only rodeo event that isn’t derived from a traditional cowboy chore. Nobody has ever needed to get on the back of a bull; for that matter, no one needs to run with bulls or taunt them with red capes. But people do.
It is a complicated story, millennia old, of people dancing with bulls, of courting danger. The mystique surrounding el toro is documented in prehistoric as well as modern art; in cultural traditions around the world, the complex relationship with risk-taking and bravado is perpetuated, personally and vicariously, through ritualized confrontations with a bull.
In the U.S. bull riding is bigger than ever and is no longer just a Western event; many riders nowadays do not hail from a ranching background, and for the past twelve years the Professional Bull Riders league has opened their season in NYC, a seemingly incongruous place for rodeo.
What does any of this have to do with writing?
Well as you know Carrot Ranch is holding its second Flash Fiction Rodeo; at the end of October writers from around the world will take part in the second Carrot Ranch bull riding competition.
What is it about danger that fascinates people? What motivates a person to willingly subject themselves to pain and peril? Bring your pen, hang onto your hat, and get ready for a wild write that illustrates the sound and the fury of a dance with danger.
Rules and prompt revealed October 31, 2018, at 12:00 a.m. (EST). Set your watches to New York City. You will have until November 7, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. (EST) to complete the Sound and the Fury contest. Winners will be announced on December 07. Carrot Ranch will post a collection of qualifying entries.
Rodeo 1: Dialogue led by Geoff Le Pard and judges Chelsea Owens and Esther Chilton
Rodeo 2: Memoir led by Irene Waters and judges Angie Oakley and Helen Stromquist
Rodeo 3: Travel with a Twist led by Sherri Matthews and her judges: Mike Matthews and Hugh Roberts.
Rodeo 4: Fractured Fairy Tales led by Norah Colvin and judges Robbie Cheadle and Anne Goodwin.
The Tuffest Ride starting in September will see 5 writers qualify to compete in October and is led by Charli Mills. For Info