Quarter Horse

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Authors: Bonnie Bryant
began swinging her lasso in a tight circle, and when Tumbleweed had drawn even with the calf’s shoulders, she let the noose go. It fell over his head, right on target. Immediately Tumbleweed stopped and began to back up, keeping the rope taut. Stevie leaped off the right side of the saddle and rushed down to the calf. She had no difficulty pulling him over, but his legs flailed as wildly as the goat’s, and it took her a long time to tie three of them together. When she finally stood up and held her arms out, her time had almost run out. She looked disappointedly at Lisa and Carole as she got back on Tumbleweed, and when they announced the winners ofthe event, Gabriel had come in first, Stevie a distant third.
    “Uh-oh,” Lisa said to Carole after the announcer had read the results. “It’s two events to one, in favor of Gabriel. I think Stevie might really be in trouble.”
    “I know.” Carole frowned. “I hate to admit this, but Gabriel is really good. If Stevie doesn’t win the pole bending and the quarter-mile race, she’s going to be doing something awful.”
    “Wonder what it will be?” asked Lisa.
    “I don’t even want to think about it,” said Carole with a grimace.
    They trotted down to the end of the ring, where Sal was pretending for the crowd that she and Sadie had both fallen asleep. After she ended her bit to a round of applause, she rode over to Carole and Lisa.
    “Let’s give the horses a rest while they set up for the pole bending,” Sal suggested. She removed her oversized polka-dot nightcap and smiled. “Y’all have clowned hard and you’ve done a terrific job. Why don’t you go take a break as well? They won’t need us again until after the pole bending. Then we’ll do the fake roundup routine, and then it’ll be time for the race.”
    Actually, a rest didn’t sound too bad to Carole and Lisa. They had ridden every turn with all the goat-wrestling and calf-roping contestants, plus they had clowned through the barrel race on foot. They dismountedand led Pogo and Ghost over to a water trough, then gave them an armful of hay in a temporary corral. The two girls sat on the fence and ate an apple while the horses munched their hay.
    “Look,” said Lisa, pointing toward the Rocking S stable. “Here comes Pete.”
    Carole looked over her shoulder. Pete was crossing the racetrack and heading straight toward them.
    “Howdy, girls,” he said, tipping his hat. “I saw you two over here and just wondered how everything was going. Are Ghost and Pogo behaving themselves?”
    “Oh, yes, Pete, they’re terrific,” said Carole with a smile. It was true. Whatever the girls had asked them to do, the two quarter horses had done willingly.
    Pete watched the grounds crew setting up the poles for the next event. “How’s Stevie doing?”
    “Well, she won the barrel race,” Lisa reported proudly.
    “And she came in third in the calf roping,” added Carole.
    “Then there was the goat wrestling.” Lisa shook her head. “Don’t ask. You don’t even want to know about the goat wrestling.”
    Pete chuckled. “Those little goats can be right ornery critters.” He pushed his hat back on his head. “How’s her bet with her boyfriend coming along?”
    “Oh, he’s not her boyfriend,” Lisa explained quickly. “But so far he’s ahead two to one. They’ve got pole bending and the quarter-mile race to go.”
    “Well, if she remembers what I told her about Tumble-weed, she’ll do fine,” said Pete.
    Carole frowned. “What did you tell her?”
    “That all she’s got to do is touch him with her spurs.” Pete chuckled again. “If she does that, he’ll outrun every horse in this rodeo.”
    “I can’t imagine that Stevie would forget an important thing like that,” Carole said.
    “Probably not.” He smiled. “Well, you tell her I came by and wished her good luck.” He tipped his hat again.
    “Thanks, Pete. We will.” They watched him as he strolled back to the stable.

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