Down to the Draw

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

We’ve got more highway ahead of us.

by Cody DeMoss

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At the moment, I’m in my honey hole here in Molalla, Oregon. I’m up here tonight, but I’m also up tonight over at the St. Paul Rodeo. I drew a couple of good horses. They’re probably my two better chances of the week right here.

Both rodeos start around the same time. St. Paul is about forty minutes away, but I’ve made it in twenty before. At St. Paul, the first event is bareback riding, but Molalla starts with the bronc riding. So the guys entered in the bareback at St. Paul will ride and haul butt over to Molalla. We’ll do the same and pass them on the way.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

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So much comes down to the horse you draw.

I was supposed to ride in Greeley, Colorado, on the 30th of June, but I drew one of those horses nobody likes. Sterling Crawley had just got on him the week before and said it posted him real bad on the chute and just beat him to death out there for as far as he rode him. He told me, “I would NOT go get on that sumbitch.” So I stayed at Ponoka and made the short round.

Tomorrow, I drew a horse at Killdeer, North Dakota, that’s supposed to be a really nice horse. I talked to a guy up there who said I was probably in the top three match-ups. I can’t miss that. But I had to draw out of two other rodeos on the same day—Belle Fourche, South Dakota, and Livingston, Montana. I figure my best chances are at Killdeer.

July Fourth was a tough call. The horse I drew that day at West Jordan, Utah, is okay, but there are some rank match-ups there. Wade Sundell is on a really good bronc called Payback. Colt Gordon has a really good one. And a couple of the Wright boys drew pretty good there. On the same day, I drew a better horse at Cody, Wyoming. It’s stacked up pretty thick there, too. Allen Boore has Wild Bill, and Taos Muncy has Medicine Woman. But at Cody, there’s twenty-thousand-something added, and they pay eight places, so there’s a little room there to win money. I’m up in Calgary for the Stampede on July 5th, so it looks like Cody is my better option. I’ll have a half-chance to win money and not near as far to drive the next day.

It feels like all we’ve done is drive. Me and my buddy, Glen, left Louisiana last Thursday and drove straight through to Canada. That was a day and eight hours. We stopped in Okotoks, Alberta, to visit Mike O’Connor, a committee member at the Calgary Stampede. He and his wife, Sandy, are good friends to me and a couple other roughies. They served us moose steaks. We had a really good dinner, relaxed a bit and then headed up to Ponoka and stayed in the cowboy camp.

At Ponoka, I was 85 on the first one and tied for fifth. In the short round, I had some bad luck right off the bat. My horse ran me down the gate. They gave me another horse. He kind of quit on me. It was raining and slippery. That ride petered off. I was 81 and ended up catching the last hole of the average. I’m only placing, but that’s better than some years. Some years you get out here and don’t win nothing for a week, and you’re happy as all get-out for the $150 check you catch from a little rodeo.

We’ve got more highway ahead of us. I’m up at Killdeer tomorrow. It’s about an eighteen hour drive over there to North Dakota. We’ll book out of Oregon tonight, as soon as I’m done. We’ll probably make it to Killdeer in time for the announcer to say, We’re one hot song away from rodeo time!

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