Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Last 8 Seconds

He's in the shoot. I see his hat disappear behind the gate and I know he's ready. He's leaned back low, almost flush on the back of the bronc. The bronc is antsy, agitated and ready to rock. The gate swings wide open as his name is yelled over the load speaker. For the last time.
I've got butterlfies in my stomach. It's hard to watch, even after several years. I don't mean to hold my breath but I do. I hide behind my camera with my hand on the trigger. And pray.
The horse is wild,it flails and jumps. It kicks and bucks. It's strength is visible and uncontainable. He hangs on as long as he can.
The buzzer sounds. 8 seconds. That's all it is. 8 Solid seconds that can take your breath away and extended into hours and days and eternities.
But this last 8 seconds was in fact, the last 8 seconds. Nathan rode his last bareback bronc.
Now sitting in the stands next to me, I've never been prouder. For in my opinion, a true man of character, isn't the one who can get on any horse and ride till the buzzer or get bucked off, trampled on and get back on again. A true man of character is a man who can recoginze that even though it's one of the things in life that he loves most, if it causes pain, it breaks you down and if it could be your undoing...he knows when to walk away.
And when I leaned over and quietly asked him how he felt, he said, "I gave it everything I had. I left it all out there. And I feel good about that"

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