Sunday, April 22, 2012


Cowboy Rider, painting by Russell Bly
Stephen Bly 

The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is like the World Series or the Super Bowl. The very best cowboys and cowgirls in the world converge on Las Vegas every December to compete for millions in prize money. Not only do you watch superior rodeo athletes, but also the top bucking stock. Every bareback horse, saddle bronc and bull puts on an entertaining show of their own.

In addition, the event attracts the most knowledgeable rodeo fans. It’s not unusual to hear someone high up in the Thomas & Mack Arena holler, “Hook ‘em, cow!” That’s a shout of encouragement used since the days when rodeos provided after-work recreation at the branding corrals.

“Hook ‘em, cow!” That’s rodeo talk. Every sport’s got its own vocabulary. When a team-mate’s down or just getting steam, you’re liable to hear roars from the crowd or dugout or the coach’s bench. Sure, there’s boos. But also plenty of bravos and cheers.

The Bible exhorts us to spur others on in their trials and troubles: “Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).

What do you say to someone who’s going through a mental, physical, or spiritual struggle? You might mention how sorry you are that they have to go through this crisis. “I’ll pray for you,” often means you’ll pray that the problem will go away, that he or she won’t have to face hard stuff.

That’s misguided.

What if you told the rodeo cowboy, “I’m so sorry you have to ride or chase that mean old bull. Maybe he’ll get sick and not show up. Or not buck at all!” But what he wants is the bull’s full participation, to buck its head off, so better to prove his ability to stay on anyway. To be a champion.

Life’s a ride, sometimes a very rough one. You need cheerleaders. You also need to be the one who reassures and heartens others. So those in the chutes can meet each new challenge head-on midst roars of "Hurrah!"


Ever been to a rodeo? What impressed you most?

When was time you most needed and encouragement and who gave it to you?


Stuart Brannon's Final Shot
Now available -- hardback & ebook & paperback
Stuart Brannon's Final Shot, by Stephen Bly
with Janet Chester Bly, Russell Bly, Michael Bly & Aaron Bly
Finishing Dad's novel was a family affair. Can a committee create fiction? We had the passion and four months to find out.
It's 1905. Two orphans flee from Oregon's Tillamook Head. One of them is branded a hero. Dare they tell the truth and risk the wrath of a dangerous man? Meanwhile, a retired lawman searches for his missing U.S. Marshal friend while he grapples with the game of golf on behalf of a celebrity tournament.
The first 3 original Stuart Brannon Series and Stuart Brannon's Final Shot now available on Amazon Kindle, Nook & Apple iBook. Paperback releases soon. Titles: Hard Winter At Broken Arrow Crossing, False Claims At The Little Stephen Mine and Last Hanging At Paradise Meadow.
"Stuart Brannon's Final Shot delivers and reminds us what we'll miss most about the beloved author." Jerry B. Jenkins, NYT Bestselling novelist & biographer

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