Some time ago, I was in an online conversation about guys pretending to have rodeo experience in order to impress girls. And that reminded me of a story from my past. We are still not doing much traveling, so I’ll relate that story here.
Decades ago, I was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas with the First Cavalry Division Horse Platoon. We did horse mounted close order drill and weapons demonstrations at rodeos, fairs, and such all over Texas and beyond. After our shows and horse chores were done, we would often head out to the country & western watering hole in whatever town we happened to be in that week. I wasn’t much of a drinker, and had no interest in hooking up with the honky-tonk angels in those places. So, I ended up as the defacto designated driver for the group.
Staying sober while everyone around you is getting drunk and foolish gets pretty old after a while. I began to sit off against a wall by myself, drinking Cokes, and watching the band. At some point, women began coming over to my table asking me to dance. Sometimes I did, sometimes not. I didn’t think much of it. Over time, the women became more aggressive. They bought my Cokes. They tried to sit and chat with me. This happened week after week, in bar after bar, in town after town.
Eventually, I mentioned to the guys that I couldn’t figure out what the deal was with all these different women. They all broke out laughing, so I knew something was up. It turned out, that night after night, women would ask them why their friend sat off alone in the dark drinking Cokes. They had invented a story about a broken down, recovered alcoholic bull rider that struck a chord with the ladies.
As time passed, the story was embellished, week after week, in bar after bar, in town after town. In the final version of the story, I had become a PRCA bull rider who had been thrown and stomped during the championship round. During my long hospital stay and recuperation, my wife had left me for another man. That had driven me to drink.
Then one night in a drunken rage, I had killed a man in defense of a woman. The horror of that act and the prison time was enough for me to swear off booze for good. So now, I followed the rodeo with these guys, staying sober and keeping them out of trouble.
They protected the secret by saying that I hated talking about the past, and just needed to get on with my life. They told that story over and over. In bar after bar, in town after town. Then, they sat back and watched the mother hen instinct sweep over these gals.
With me in on the secret, the fun of the joke dried up. And so did the string of honky-tonk angels buying my drinks and asking me to dance.