“This is ‘bout the best time of year,” said Steve, “to get out and do something fun, like go to a rodeo.”

“Awful cold out there right now, Steve,” said Doc, who has more degrees than a thermometer. “I guess it’s a good thing they have all those building rodeos these days.”

“Well, that would take all the sport out of it, wouldn’t it?” Steve said. “Dud, pass the sugar please.”

Dud passed the sugar. “Don’t know what you mean, Steve. Why would it take all the sport out of rodeo if the folks in the stands were comfortable?”

“Cold factor,” he said.

“What?”

Now Steve was our resident cowboy here at the Mule Barn truck stop’s philosophy counter. He still worked on ranches and lived in bunkhouses and saddled his horses one at a time, but his rodeo days were far behind him. It’s a sport with a very short career … one way or another.

“You see,” Steve said, “when it’s cold, the rough stock bucks harder … ‘specially the broncs. Not sure why, but you can see it even with broke horses. On a cold morning, they’re liable to hump their backs and hop a few times just for fun, or to shake out the kinks. Same with rodeo broncs. With them, I think it’s just more fun, though.”

“Well, I can see where watching broncs in cold weather would make it more fun to watch,” Doc said.

“That’s only half of it,” Steve said, grinning. “Those poor cowboys who ride them are cold and stiff, too. Doesn’t help much with riding rank stock. And that’s the reason it’s more fun to watch a rodeo in cold weather. It tends to rain frozen cowboys.”

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Brought to you by Ol’ Jimmy Dollar, Slim’s children’s book about a happy hounddog man and his “kids.” See it at riograndebooks.com.

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