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Rodeo #2: Pro-Bull Mashup

Where else would you find a bull-riding flash fiction 99-word contest but at Carrot Ranch? Come on, all you pencil crunchers, gather ’round and listen to a  tale.

My dad rode bulls. His dad and his dad’s dad rode bulls. My second great-grandfather wore high-heeled vaquero boots in an 1880s photograph, and while I have no more evidence than those boots, I suspect he rode bulls, too. When you grow up around ranch critters, you ride everything that will hold your weight (you can’t ride a chicken, but you can ride a pig).

Getting bucked off is fun, or so you grow up believing. Your relatives and their friends, congregate in the corrals, hold down a critter, set you on it, hoot like crazy throughout your ride, and dust you off when you faceplant in the dirt and critter-pies.

Following this generational bent, I wanted to ride bulls, too. I never got to, but I did ride goats, calves, mustangs, and even a few mild-mannered steers. Somewhere along the way, I got the taste of goat-hide in my mouth, and it’s kind of like getting the smell of a skunk caught in your sinuses. To this day, the barest hint of goat cheese makes me shudder. Eating it is like licking a goat. That and my boots are all I have left of a bull-riding heritage. The boots, by the way, are for when the BS gets deep.

Bull-riding in the US has evolved into a huge sport outside its original heritage. It’s dangerous, fast-paced, and still draws crowds. Raising stock for rodeos is also a big business, and bulls have names as extravagant as carnies or prize-fighters. It’s from the list of Pro-Bull names that this contest takes inspiration. Take a moment to feel the vibe of this year’s ride:

At Carrot Ranch, our weekly literary art and wordplay are expressed in 99 words. Several regular Ranchers often include the prompts or constraints of other writing challenges, and that is known as a “mashup.” This contest has several mashups based on multiple prompts derived from three Pro-Bull names, and the amalgam of two genres. Read the criteria carefully because this contest requires you to combine multiple writing elements and prompts.

Rosin up your writing gear!


  1. Write a story using all three bull names as names, places, or things: Bodacious, Nose Bender, and Heartbreak Kid.
  2. Combine two genres: game show and pirate. (Use the provided links for genre tropes and plots.)
  3. It can be fiction or fictionized BOTS (based on a true story), but if true, wow, what a life you lead!
  4. It can include any tone or mood.
  5. Use original details to express your tale.
  6. Make the judges laugh, gasp in surprise, or remember your story long after reading it.


  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit. Check your word count using the Entries that aren’t 99 words will be disqualified.
  2. Enter this contest only once. If you enter more than once, only your first entry will count.
  3. Do your best to submit an error-free entry. Apply English grammar and spelling according to your country of origin style. As long as the judges can understand the language, it is the originality of the story that matters most.
  4. If you do not receive an acknowledgment by email WITHIN 3 DAYS, contact Charli at
  5. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 16, 2019.
  6. You may submit a “challenge” if you don’t want to enter the contest or if you wrote more than one entry.
  7. Refrain from posting your contest entry until after November 28.
  8. Use the form below the rules to enter.



Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo at Carrot Ranch, will collect stories, omitting names to select the top ten blind. Please refrain from posting your contest entry on your blog. A live panel of judges from the Keweenaw will select three winners from the top ten stories. The blind judging will be a literary event held at the Roberts Street Writery at Carrot Ranch World Headquarters in Hancock, Michigan. After selections are made, a single Winners Announcement with the top ten in each category will be posted on November 28. All ten stories in each contest will receive a full literary critique, and the top winner in each contest will receive $25 (PayPal, check, Amazon gift card, or donation).


  1. “Pal, I won us tickets ta see the bull ridin’. Nose bender seats.”
    “D’ya mean nose-bleed?”
    “Nose bender. From pressin up against the fence an’ peerin’ through the knothole. Guy said ringside seats is sold out, this is such a bodacious event.”
    “Sold out? This rodeo don’t charge.”
    “The guy said we had to pay, Pal, but said I could git these seats if the price was right. I answered some ranch trivia questions an’ I won!”
    “Nanjo Castille! This ain’t trivial, he’s a pirate! This could lead ta heartbreak, Kid. Where is he?”
    “Sleepin’ off Ernie’s ‘lixer.”

  2. Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:
    Hang on to your hats! The second Carrot Ranch rodeo event has begun. Give free rein to your creativity. This free writing contest will have you spinning and bucking.

  3. This is going to be tricky.

  4. Wowzer indeed! What a fun idea, Charli!

  5. Chris Hewitt says:

    If someone manages to deliver a true story for this one, I think they should win outright. Good luck everyone 😉

  6. Jules says:

    This was tricky… I submitted a contest piece.
    Have fun everyone!

  7. Jules says:

    OK I think I got a challenge piece here….

    Sink or Swim!

    The very bodacious hostess was looking for a ‘Romeo’, not a heartbreak kid for her contestant. Michael Nosebender needed a new name if he was going to compete on national television. So he pirated the first name he thought of; Mickey Rooney. Since this was a match up for the silver hair set Carol let the guy slid in the third seat. Not that anyone with any brains would want to date that old curmudgeon.

    The widow Della Street wanted someone young to offer her a very romantic cruise far away from raunchy buccaneers. Florida’s Gulf coast would do.


    • Liz H says:

      Uh oh! Della gave up on Perry, after all? Why I oughtta…somebody’s gonna walk the plank!

      • Jules says:

        I read (while looking up the cast) that maybe… Della and Perry (but that could have been someones imagination) finally did tie the knot. I was thinking the widowed ‘older’ Della wanted someone to look after her for a bit 🙂

        Didn’t Perry walk with a cane in the older shows… wasn’t that because he got shot? Anyway that’s what I ‘game’ up with 😉

      • Liz H says:

        I’d forgotten that Raymond Burr (Perry) also played ‘Longstreet’, a snipered detective who worked in a wheelchair. Burr did end up in a wheelchair in real life, due to failing health and kidney cancer.

      • Jules says:

        I remember Burr in a wheel chair… but I hadn’t realized it was a different show. I’ll never win on trivia night. 😉

      • Liz H says:

        (I googled all this–just whispy traces of memory in my brain)

    • Charli Mills says:

      Fun challenge piece, Jules!

  8. My brain is on vacation here in Maui, any thinking makes me dizzy any way, let alone this tricky one. I got all the criteria down except the #2, the only one makes me dizzy. Hope to be home in time to get my brain working, haha!! Good one, Charli!

  9. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Are you ready to ride another bull in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo? Now’s the time to write a 99 word story that includes the names of three bulls: Bodacious, Nose Bender, and Heartbreak Kid. And if you think writing about those is tough enough, just wait until you read the rest of the constraints. Just like bull riding, this one’s not for the faint-hearted. Are you game? Come on. Why not join in and have some fun?

  10. Norah says:

    Now you’ve really got these old cogs working, Charli. I hope they tick over in time. 🙂

  11. Here’s one that I’m not submitting as I’m not sure if it meets the criteria or not.
    I’ll try and get one done though before the cutoff date.

    And They’re Off

    Standing at the ticket window Ian placed his bet. Twenty dollars on Nose Bender to win. Meg the practical one put twenty dollars on Heartbreak Kid to show.
    At the starting gate, the bell rang, and the horses were off.
    Heartbreak Kid took the lead with Nose Bender three horses back. Meg and Ian, both excited stood cheering their horses on.
    Out of nowhere the favorite to win, Bodacious took the lead leaving the couple’s horses behind. The favorite won, Heartbreak came second, Nose Bender way behind, came in sixth.
    Both disappointed but they had a fun day out.

    • nightlake says:

      This was well-thought-out and interesting. I was not sure if mine met the criteria either, but have submitted one anyway.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m delighted to see that you brought your novel characters to the challenge, Susan. I like your use of the pro-bull names as racehorses.

  12. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Time for the second of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo contests and this week it is a Pro-bull mashup.. two genres, three pro-bull names in 99 words.. head over and saddle up.

  13. […] It’s another week, and that means another contest over at Carrot Ranch!! […]

  14. Oh this looks so hard… eek!

  15. Ritu says:

    And…. entered! Phew!

  16. Hi Charli, I entered the contest #2. Did I forget to indicate it was a contest for the Rodeo #1?

  17. nightlake says:

    Hi Charli, Hope you received my submission for the pro-bull mashup contest…If not, I will send it again

  18. Wow. That’s a real challenge. Nemas and the chosen genres. Good luck and have fun, all!

  19. Jim Borden says:

    there’s a lot going on here; two tropes and three bull names! I don’t think my vocabulary is big enough to fit all of that into 99 words 🙂

  20. Prior... says:

    Hi – I submitted my entry and just wanted to make sure it arrived – this was a lot of fun

    • Charli Mills says:

      Did you get a “Receipt of Entry”? I did fall behind! I had finals due on Sunday, and I think I melted mentally on Monday.

      • Prior... says:

        well I just uploaded it late last night – (before deadline tho )
        – and have not checked my email yet – I was only double checking (right after I submitted) because last time I think my entry went to spam

      • Charli Mills says:

        I did find two in spam, but I don’t know whose they were. Rescued them, though!

  21. I sent my entry several days ago, but I never received any acknowledgement. Do I resend it?

  22. nightlake says:

    Thank you, Charli. I received the acknowledgment.

  23. Good luck, all!

  24. antvadtica says:

    I saw this to late… nice themeanyway #BeCowboy

    • Charli Mills says:

      This is bull riding, literary style! 😉 If you have ideas for a prompt to inspire and dare writers, we host a flash fiction rodeo each year in October.

    • antvadtica says:

      I am reading this now, sorry for the mistake(s) here is the correction… 🤣
      “I saw this too late… nice theme anyway #BeCowboy”

  25. […] was written during the Carrot Ranch Rodeo for the Pro-Bull Mashup, wherein we had three bull names – Nose Bender, Heartbreak Kid, and Bodacious – that […]

  26. […] “Write a story in 99 words, no more, no less using the following three pro-bull names: Bodacious, Nose Bender, and Heartbreak Kid.” – a prompt for this week’s CW piece. [Source: @CarrotRanch] […]

  27. […] Ranch Prompt:  Rodeo #2: Pro-Bull Mashup. Write a story using all three bull names as names, places, or things: Bodacious, Nose Bender, and […]

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