We pulled into the stockyards at 4:15. I was an EMT/Clown, so I had a permanent parking place for my rig, but Half Pint would need to register her and Paint, so I left her in the front and I parked in the back.
I walked to the back door of the coliseum and opened the employee door, “Evening Mac,” Bud the guard called, “You got smallest straw?”
I smiled at him and lifted my hand to shake his, “Yeah, I’m pulling all of December to give the others some time with family.”
“You’re a good man.” He buzzed the inner doors open for me.
“Thanks Bud, by the way my sister, Patty will be here soon will you let her in when she gets here?”
He nodded, “Sure, I’ll let her in.” I turned to the door and walked in side.
I was almost done with my makeup when there was a knock at the door. “Mac it’s me.” Half Pint stuck her head in.
“Come on in.”
“I put Paint in a stall, they told me I could leave her overnight, so she won’t need to stay in the rig.”
I smiled, “Yeah a lot of the riders stay for both nights, so they also get their stalls for both nights.”
She walked to the couch and sat down, “You look so much different with all the clown makeup. Are you hungry?”
I was working on the lines around my eyes, “No I don’t usually eat before the show, I thought I’d take you to Billy Bob’s after if you would like.”
“Yeah that sounds great.” She smiled as she laid her head back on the couch. “If I fall asleep will you make sure I make it to the ride meeting?”
“I’ve got ya’, Half Pint.” I walked into my private bathroom and changed into my red flannel shirt and overalls. When I walked back into the dressing room Half Pint was asleep, so I left her there, she had time before her meeting and order draw.
I walked into the arena to talk to the cowboy wranglers for the night. Joe met me at the gates, “Joe you got the wranglers job tonight?”
“Yeah, and a new guy from the Flying J, his name is Gus.” Joe turned to the arena, “I don’t know how big the crowd will be tonight with Christmas just a few weeks away.”
We walked into the arena and made our way around to check all the fencing. “Patty’s going to ride barrels tonight and tomorrow night, so if the crowd is smaller she should be a little less nervous.”
“Okay, I look forward to seeing her again.” He stopped at the sheep and goat pens to look in, “What she’s 17 or 18 now?”
“She just turned 18 on November 6th.” I punched his shoulder, “and she’s still off-limits, cowboy.”
He laughed, “Yes sir, I wouldn’t want to be on your bad side, I know she’s off limits.”
Chris walked up to us, “Everything ready boys, can I clean the dirt?”
“Yep, it all looks good.” Joe replied.
We walked back to the gates, “Who’s bringing the bulls this weekend?” I asked Joe.
“I think the Bar S is up this month.” He said as I turned to the stairs to the sound box, “Should be some good rides.”
“Mac,” Rocky called from behind the sound board, “You got your line up ready?”
“Yeah,” I gave him a copy of my script, “Hey, Rocky did you hear about Alyson?” He went to school with us in Alvord.
“No is she okay?” He looked concerned.
I nodded, “Yeah, she set a new World Record for Barrel Racing in Las Vegas last week.
“No way, on that big Nokota she rides?” He looked shocked.
“I assume so, she has been riding that monster horse since 9th grade.” I turned to start down the stairs.
“Hey Mac, you think she’ll be home for the off season?” He looked a little too interested and why was I feeling jealous?
“Yeah she usually stays with her brother in Decatur.” I turned and walked away unable to catch my breath.
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