Sunday, January 30, 2011
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy
by Julie Carter
In the hearts of men is born a sense of adventure, a yearning to see what's over the next hill.
Today's world makes dreams seem very fragile as they shimmer from afar at what appears to be an unattainable distance. I find great hope in realizing that no matter the condition or the circumstances, there is still that burning desire to climb tall mountains, sail endless seas and travel toward the horizons that never end.
Last October, a young Arkansas cowboy decided to not become like the old men at the coffee shop that talked endlessly about things they wished they done when they were young and could.
He heard the disappointment in their voices and the regret in their words. So he sold what he could of what he owned to bankroll his dream.
He saddled his horse, tied a bedroll to the back of the saddle, slid a rifle in the saddle scabbard, filled the saddlebags with a few necessities and struck out for the California coast.
At the age of 20 his plan was, and still is, to ride until his horse steps into the Pacific Ocean.
Four months later, he is half way there. Against the odds and in spite of the doubts of those that didn't think he could get it done, he has serpentined his way across several states as the call of adventure keeps him moving west.
The looming dangers of such an endeavor are lost to youthful oblivion. The goodness of the people he has met drives a lesson about mankind deep into his soul. While living his dream, this cowboy is building a framework of manhood that will form the very essence of his character for the rest of his life.
Another dream, another way of life
The three of them laughed and poked fun at each other as they loaded their gear bags in the van, ready to the hit the road for yet another all night drive. Fort Worth was in their rear view mirror and Rapid City, South Dakota was in their sights.
The dream is rodeo. It is a siren's song to many, but a way to make a living for only a relative few. These three cowboys have conquered the financial plan and spend every day pushing the future their direction.
With the skill to keep the dream alive, they crossed two continents side-to-side, top to bottom, to spend eight seconds with a hack rein in their hand and 1,200 pounds of bronc exploding under their saddle.
Airports, hotels, gas stations and fast-food stops become the nuts and bolts of long days and longer nights between arenas in cities and towns that read like the lists in the back pages of an atlas.
All in their 20s, one comes from so far north in Canada that Google Maps struggles to find it. Another hails from the cold winters of South Dakota but now calls New Mexico home, where the third is a native.
National titles, Canadian and American, put buckles on their belts and patches on their "letter" jackets announcing their accomplishments. But none of those things are what orchestrates the song in their hearts.
A quick layover at the ranch between the rodeos and long miles briefly quiets the adrenaline that nourishes their perpetual dream.
The hum of traffic and the roar of crowds give way to the silence of solitude. Horses stomp at the corral gate waiting to be fed and cattle trail by to the water tank. All sounds of home.
This is the other half of the dream, the dream of the future beyond rodeo -- in place and waiting for that day when the cowboy comes home to stay.
Let the courage of these young men remind us that dreams are for living. Even if they need adjusted for appropriate age and circumstance, don't let yours fall by the wayside.