On the Ranch...

On the Ranch
The Devil's Dance
Poem by Cris Paravicini.

Bull Rider
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The Devil's Dance

While talkin' to some cowboys at a rodeo one day, 
I learned what's in the hearts of men, both young and temples gray. 
They tipped their hats to saddle broncs, the "bears" and ropin' stock, 
But for this rare breed of cowboy, 'twas El Toro of which they talked.

One old boy had lost an eye, his head slammed upon a horn. 
But old solitaire had served him fine, the absent one he did not mourn.
A young one dragged his shirttail out, pulled it up, exposed his chest;
An ugly scar had marked the path of a bullhorn's initiation test.

Each took a turn, recalled the pain of the many rides gone by, 
And dreamed of future bull hide they'd settle on before they died. 
They tried to trap the feelin' and put to it a word, 
But there isn't any language 'bout how a bull rider's soul is stirred.

A cowboy then stepped forward, he had a steely, rock-hard stare. 
His voice cut into all our hearts and vengeful eyes began to flare. 
"Why you perform in Toro twistin', you guys all have your cause, 
But I have lost my best friend to the bull that breaks all laws."

We knew he spoke of Devil's Dance; this demon's cut a bloody path. 
He lives with death's glow in his eyes, this bull knows about Hell's wrath.
He had come to be a legend and was feared within the draw, 
'Cause damnation stands there waitin' for the man with shortest straw.

He said--"My friend drew down upon him, down south in San Anton'
And now he's left a pretty wife to raise a little son alone. 
I swore upon my dead friend's rope that I'd even up the score, 
And ride the Devil back to Hell where he'll rise again no more.

"My pal had played a fair game and tried to fit a ride, 
But as talents clashed, the bull was best; he notched bloody horns in my friend's side. 
So tonight old Satan's in the chute and I've finally won him in the draw,
He knows that vengeance shrouds the air, I can hear him snort and paw."

The cowboy spun upon his boot and quickly walked away. 
There's toro twistin' to be done in the dusk of sun's last ray. 
Old Devil's Dance stared through the gate; evil eyes burned a sunset red.
As men approached, he tensed his neck and reared his ugly head.

He seemed to know this was no game and for this cowboy's blood he lust,
So he polished pointed, hat-rack horns upon the chute gate rust. 
This cowboy'd covered many bulls, the Angus, Brahma, Shorthorn, 
But he had never tried to set upon a brute that showed such scorn.

A flash of memory jumped to life and names of toros he had rode, 
Like ol' Hussein, The Texas Tornado, and Rambo and Morse Code. 
There was Mellow Yellow, Cream Puff, The Nighthawk and Orange Crush, 
And many times with The Reaper, his cowboy life did brush.

The crowd was now upon their feet; they began to chant and roar. 
And anxious was our cowboy still to send the beast through Hell's back door. 
He pushed ahead the sagging hide and there he set his rope, 
Said, "Give to me a bottom pull, and it will hold is what I hope."

He gripped the resin-covered hemp that he wrapped around his glove,
And thought about his buddy and the good Lord up above. 
The cowboy felt the rope pull tight on the bubble 'round his hand. 
As the bull expanded ample girth and signaled time to make a stand.

Our vigilante's pause was brief, solemn faces he did scan, 
Of his helper and the gate man and in arena, painted man. 
The announcer echoed from his mic', "We've saved the best for last-- You know the bull, 
The Devil's Dance, and you know his bloody past.

"This bull is feared and justly cussed, he's Satan's favorite comrade,
And in arenas near and far, there's none to the bone so bad." 
An angry cloud had settled in like an omen sent from Hell. 
As the gate swung back and bull jumped out the Devil waited in the well.

He took a dive, stabbed to the left and then began to spin, 
Then swapped his end, whipped forked tail; with this maneuver, he always wins. 
But man set firm upon his back and let him chase his tail. 
And when belly rolled to sunfish, you could hear the demon wail.

As lightning sparked and thunder moaned, the rain began to fall. 
With two to go and chest still out, the cowboy thought he heard his buddy call. 
"Hang fire, my friend, this ain't no waltz, you're really dancin' with the Devil. 
But you'll walk away the victor, when old "bullvine's" hindquarters swivel."

When eight had passed and buzzer blared, Hell's flames in anger fanned.
With twisted spine the bull went down into now most peaceful sands. 
Not every cowboy tries the sport and desires Death's supreme chance. 
Because the challenge lures immortal men, to attempt the Devil's Dance.

The Pearson Angus Ranch is located approximately 2 miles northwest of Daniel, and 11 miles west of Pinedale, Wyoming. Cris can be reached by e-mail at: cowgirl@wyoming.com.

Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted, Cris Paravicini, 1999. No part may be reproduced without permission of the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online, 1999.

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