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northeastern Oklahoma
About Shane Davis




The Wild Horse Race

It was July 19, 2003 at the Calvacade's famous Wild Horse Race,
The afternoon was spent fretting the bronc we were due to face.

We hadn't drawed yet, but we somehow knew which one it would be,
The infamous buckskin was destined to be the horse we would see.

Ol' Buck is the one that every fan loves and every cowboy fears,
'cause the old snake's never even been saddled in over 7 years.

Every year they haul him to wild horse races across the land,
yet every cowboy that's drawed him has failed to make a hand.

Sure 'nuf, when the gate flew open, here comes out ol' buck,
He put a jerk on us that he knew would try our best luck.

Clint and I drug on our bellies and we were sure taking a jolt,
Finally Buck slowed and I yelled for Bryan to get a big holt.

He wrestled with him back and forth trying to get Buck to stop,
Then he got a good bite on Buck's ear and he ended up on top.

I climbed to my feet and stumbled towards my awaiting saddle,
As I carried it towards the horse, I knew I was in for a battle.

The announcer was hollering as I eased my saddle onto his back,
and I knew Bryan and Clint were struggling as I screwed down my kack.

I moved quickly because time was something we couldn't afford,
Bryan was getting weak but Buck was not, so I swiftly stepped aboard.

Just as my foot was reaching for the far stirrup, Buck broke in two,
As I struggled to stay in the middle, the crowds' roar grew.

I knew I was in trouble when the saddle began to roll,
I never quit trying but gravity began to take its toll.

I was grabbing for leather as I rode for several seconds out of sheer grit,
But when the danged saddle rolled underneath, I knew I had to quit.

As I hit the dirt with a thud, I looked up at that outlaw buckskin,
and I my mind I vowed that we would someday meet again.

But for then, Clint, Bryan and I would leave well enough alone.
'Cause we were glad to be done having not broke a single bone.

I couldn't sleep that night, my adrenaline was still too high,
So I kept thanking the Lord for giving that ol' cowboy try.

I wished that grin was permanent and would never leave my face,
And I prayed we'd never forget that great Wild Horse Race.

2004, Shane Davis
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Shane adds: This came to me after an experience I had at the World's Largest Amateur Rodeo (International Calvacade of Round-Up Clubs) in Pawhuska, Oklahoma... It is not embellished and is 100% the truth...To let you know the characters, I was the rider, the mugger was Bryan and the anchor man was Clint.  

To better explain it to people not familiar with the Wild Horse Race event, they let 4 horses out of bucking chutes at the same time.  Each team consists of a rider, a mugger and an anchor.  Each team holds on to the horses lead rope as he is coming out of the chute.  If you let go, you're disqualified.  

Once the horse slows down, the mugger calms the horse down by covering his eyes with his arm and gently biting the horses' ear which acts as a natural "twitch."  Then the rider gathers his saddle from the middle of the arena and proceeds to saddle the horse while the anchor holds the end of the lead rope tight. Then the rider climbs aboard, the others let go and we all hope for the best.  

They normally have a line that you have to cross, that's how the winner is determined, however, at last year's rodeo, we were
one of only two teams that even got a horse saddled, let alone rode across the line.  

Most stock contractors use 2 or 3 year old horses, they are small enough to manage and usually aren't mankillers, but the Mendell Rodeo Company has a special group of "outlaws" that are used for nothing else but wild horse races.  They are old, seasoned horses who don't need flank straps to buck.  They'll bite, kick, paw and hurt you any other way they can.  It does get pretty western.  

I didn't mention it in the poem, but as I was going towards my saddle, a guy from one of the other teams had been knocked out and I actually had to go around him to get my saddle, talk about a bad omen! I praise the Lord I didn't end up like that this time.

We were featured in Travel Channel's Wild World of Rodeo.

About Shane Davis:

I am 32 years old and work construction for a living. I live on a northeastern Oklahoma ranch and enjoy starting colts and team roping in my spare time.  I am married to a bonafide cowgirl and we have a 3 year old daughter who loves to ride but doesn't understand why daddy likes to get on bucking horses (or "the mean horses" as she calls them).  My hero is Red Steagall, his poems inspired me to write this one.  My wife urged me to write about it so our grandchildren might better understand what their grandpa did for fun.



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