This week, we all have a chance to return to a simpler time when the greatest challenge was man versus beast.
For 128 years at the Payson Rodeo, cowboys have pitted their wits against raging bulls, clever broncs and squirmy calves.
Riders tell stories of horses that gauge the intent of the rider as much as the rider sizes up their opponent.
Bronc rider Jason Amon swears a horse knows how to juke a rider. He says the horse will feint to the right and when the rider shifts his weight, the horse will jerk to the left tossing the cowboy off its back.
The reason the horse wants to buck its rider off so bad? That horse just wants to eat and lounge, says vet Drew Justice.
And eight seconds determines it all.
In their lifetime, horses and bulls bred to compete in the ring will “work” a total of 20 minutes.
Not so for the cowboys. Amon has broken more than a dozen bones in his body, but he loves to get back on a bronc — especially one that will challenge him.
Yet for the audience of this world, we get the pleasure of sitting in the stands oo-ing and ah-ing as man tries to overcome beast.
And for a few days, we can also forget the complexities of the modern world and return to the days of the cowboy.
Please note: Not many bull riders stay on for eight seconds. You can get on the bull in complete safety, so long as you don’t underestimate the grit of that young cowboy — hanging on for dear life.
So get on down to the rodeo — whether it’s the women’s rodeo on Thursday night or the shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
By the time the dust clears, you’ll understand a lot about the grit and determination of the folks who settled Rim Country 128 years ago.
Not to mention gaining a whole new appreciation for the jukey malice of a sideways thinking bronc.