Precinct 333

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Rodeo Is Coming!

Anyone who has ever lived in Texas knows about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As we get closer to opening day (March 1), my wife and I get more excited, and the local news begins to publish more rodeo-related news.

And this story is so heartwarming. Barrel racing is one of my favorite events at the rodeo, the only one in which women compete. I'm hoping that someday little Brittney Holland is among the top 64 competitors in the world, so that I get a chance to see her ride.

The horse knows the girl's voice.

He knows her touch and the loving way she lays her cheek against his neck and feeds him treats from the palm of her small hand.

Some say that seeing is believing.

But one doesn't have to see to believe.

Fourteen-year-old Brittney Holland believes in her well-trained horse, Dollar, and in her skills and experience as a rodeo performer.

The ninth-grade honor student from Aledo High School also believes what Susan Holland, her mother, has told her since she was 3. When Brittney asked if she would ever be able to see Hayley, her older sister, her mother told her no.

"Britt, you're going to do greater things being blind than you ever would if you had total vision," Susan Holland said.

Yeah, that's right. Brittney is legally blind, and can only see two letters at a time in her large-print school books. The kid has big dreams, and I hope and pray that they all come true.

Oh, and if you want to learn a bit about the real stars of bull-riding -- the bulls -- check out this article.

"Bulls have their own personalities," says Rorey Lemmel, general manager of Stace Smith Pro Rodeos of Texas, a supplier of bucking bulls for the Dixie National Rodeo, running through Wednesday at the State Fairgrounds in Jackson.

Among the 70 or so bucking bulls bringing their reps to Jackson are Speckled Bird, Copper Top, Smokeless Drifter, Bounty Hunter and Dirty White Bull.

"Some fans show up as much for the bulls as for the cowboys," says Mike Mathis of Lufkin, Texas, rodeo announcer for this year's Dixie National.

Riders and fans alike are savvy about certain bulls: They know that some, for instance, may lean either to the right or the left, like a Supreme Court justice or a car with bad brakes.

And some of us, like basketball fans from Chicago, want to see the bulls win.

So I'll probably be posting a couple more rodeo related articles in the next couple of weeks, and then deluge you with rodeo coverage for those glorious three weeks in March when cowboys and livestock go at it in the Reliant Center.


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