Mutton Bustin’

Mutton bustin’: a rodeo event in which children ages 4 – 7 attempt to ride running sheep for 6 seconds.

On ranches out West, mutton busting is probably a useful skill. Cowboy kids grow up learning to rope calves, break horses — and maybe one day ride broncs or bulls in rodeos. Clinging to a high-speed sheep is good training.

But where we live mutton busting is nothing more than adult entertainment.

But dammit, it’s entertaining.

Before I post more photos, let me state these facts:

1. Martin and I polished off a round of cocktails. Judgment might have been impaired.
2. This was Cayden’s idea. He wanted to try mutton busting.

I didn’t remind him that our sheep are virtually impossible to handle, much less ride. And I didn’t mention that there’d be only one way off.

Instead, I advised him to dig his fingers in the wool and stay low over the sheep.

Martin and I exchanged looks. We knew who’d win this match. I hoped for no broken bones. With the kid aboard a sheep Martin opened the gate, officially launching the farm’s first — and possibly last — mutton bustin’ event.

Initially, the selected sheep hid under the herd, probably wishing this to end.

But then the herd bolted. Fast.

Cayden didn’t stay low, but he hung in there anyway.

He made it a good 20 to 25 yards aboard the speeding sheep…

…before things went amiss. He tipped to the side…

…and the sheep rubbed him off against the fence.

From the way he rolled, I knew he hadn’t broken anything. But he was crying. He lifted his shirt to reveal a swath of fence scrapes on his back.

“You did great! You’re okay,” I said hugging him. “You want an ice pack?” He shook his head still crying.

“Honestly Cayden, that was –hands down — the coolest thing I’ve seen all day,” I told him. “Any chance we can get you to do that again?”