I met a guy when I wasn’t looking to meet a guy. I was innocently walking around Cheyenne Frontier Days when I got roped, literally, by a 3-year-old kid walking behind me. I felt the rope come over my boot-clad ankle, then heard a giggle. I turned around and saw a cute kid in a cowboy hat holding the end of the rope. Next to him was a laughing older gentleman who hollered, “Look Tripp, you caught her!” He stuck his arm out, pointed ahead, and said “There’s my son, he’s a cowboy about your age…you should go say hi.”
I looked ahead and sure enough a guy in his 30’s had a slightly amused grin on his face, and I immediately noticed his blue eyes under his cowboy hat from 5o feet away. Glancing over at my friend, Alison, we smiled knowingly at each other…this guy was cute. We picked up the pace and walked up to the cowboy. He had a dimpled grin and was walking toward to barn to water his roping horse. We asked if we could meet his horse and he said sure.
After watching him fill water buckets for his pretty roan gelding named “Roan”, we mosied to the horse trailer where other rodeo contestants and kids were practicing roping. The cowboy gave me a roping lesson and I learned he’s a professional steer roper. He showed me how to rope the fake horns on a hay bale while Alison watched approvingly. When we left the fairgrounds that day, the cowboy, Luke, and I exchanged phone numbers. I knew I wanted to see him again.
Fast forward a month later, I have been to Texas, he has come to Colorado, and it’s been a helluva ride so far. Sweating in the humidity of the northeastern Texas summer heat, I learned they do things much differently in the Lone Star State. Cowboys don’t ride for leisure, they ride for work. They ride to win roping competitions so they can pay their truck payments. They travel from rodeo to rodeo, then come home to the ranch, and work like dogs to brush hog the weeds from taking over the pastures.
Luke has opened my eyes to new things. He’s taught me how to deworm heifers and yearlings, shoot a 223 rifle and hit clay disks, keep my toes down in the stirrups while swinging a rope on the back of a horse, and how to effectively herd cattle without yelling “yeehaw”. (I was getting cows worked up with my enthusiastic hootin’ and hollerin’.) Patiently, and with a smile, he showed me another way.
Conversely, I’ve opened Luke’s eyes to new things; I’ve taught him what gelato is, how to order an Uber cab, introduced him to his first comedy show, and what the breakaway rubber bands on English stirrups are for.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had someone teach me new things and ride outside my comfort zone. I like it, and I like him. There’s excitement in not knowing what’s ahead on this long distance trail and I’m happy I got roped in.
Heads Texas, Tails Colorado,