by Donna Penley
He sat on th’ bleachers at th’ rodeo, cowboy hat upon his head;
Had a neckerchief around his neck, with designs of black an’ red.
He did’t own a pair of boots, wore tennis shoes instead.
He rode there on a yellow bus, with a lot of other folks;
Kids who looked a lot like him, they talked an’ laughed an’ joked,
Glad to be there for an outing, an’ watch a rodeo.
He watched all th’ riders ride their horses ‘round an ‘round;
Wishin’ he could be out there -- he stared hard at th’ ground --
Wantin’ t’ be a country kid, instead of livin’ in a town.
His group leader saw th’ sad expression on his face;
He knew what th’ kid was feelin’ as he stared off into space.
Wishin’ he could help th’ kid an’ th’ past he could erase.
“Come on, Joe, let’s take a walk, go an’ get ourselves a Coke;
Slapped th’ kid upon his back as he tried t’ make a joke.
“Let’s walk out behind th’ chutes an’ meet a few cowpokes”.
A smile returned t’ th’ boy’s face, as they walked behind th’ chutes;
Cowboys everywhere -- Stetsons, chaps an’ cowboy boots!
Getting’ ready for their rides, they laugh an’ talk an’ hoot.
One older cowpoke walked to them, extended out his hand;
“Welcome to th’ rodeo”. Th’ kid was feelin’ grand!
Th’ rodeo about t’ start, they walked back to th’ stands.
Th’ kids all watch with baited breath as th’ rodeo unfolds;
Watchin’ ropers, an’ barrel racers, their breath caught in their throats,
As th’ winners were assembled, awarded buckles big an’ gold.
Th’ rodeo was over, th’ yellow bus headed back t’ town;
Bearin’ tired but happy kids -- wild stories did abound!
But one kid didn’t say a word, uttered not a sound.
He was thinkin’ of a family, an’ th’ way things used t’ be;
Back when they were all together, his Mom an’ Dad an’ he.
Vowed to himself he’d be a cowboy an’ be able to roam free.
Time changes everything, as we all come t’ know,
Years later he’d remember as he headed down th’ road,
That night upon th’ bleachers at th’ Haysville rodeo.
Donna Penley is a Cowgirl Poet with deep Kansas roots who has been writing cowboy poetry for over twenty five years. She is a real Cowgirl and an ex-barrel racer.
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