Save for the tracks of the rodeo queen carrying the American flag, and the skiing duck mascot that hyped up the crowd, the corduroy is pristine. The lack of tracks is a bit disconcerting, but by now I can visualize every jump and turn.
It takes a while for us to get the all-clear. I stretch while my teammate Jake walks our horse Bruce in circles. It’s bluebird and 40 degrees—the cold won’t be an excuse today.
We splay the rope out and I grab it somewhere in the middle. I hear Brian the announcer shout our team name over the PA system: “Bruce on the Loose!”
When the starter drops the orange flag, Jake gives a slight look back and takes off. I squeeze with all the strength my hands can muster, and for an instant it feels like the rope might rip me right out of my bindings…