A Rodeo Ranch specializes in breeding animals for the rodeo–broncs for bustin’ and bulls for ridin’. Several years ago, I interviewed the owner of such a ranch, one that specialized in raising tough riding bulls. Amazing how much science goes into it. Owners keep a close eye on genetics, animal husbandry, and rodeo scores.
Ben Kilgore is modeled a bit after the man I interviewed way back when. He and his wife, Sadie, own the Flying K.
Ben is a good guy, a friend of those on the Circle Bar Ranch since way back when Jake and Loretta McAllister were alive. He raises some tough bulls, checks them early for their abilities in the arena. Patricia got a good look at several of them when she and the Circle Bar gang went to watch him “buck the babies” (an event recorded in Give the Lady a Ride). Strapping a device on their backs that had a disconnect button for Ben to hold, he could tell which animals would try to buck it off and which would run scared. He liked the buckers.
Last year, Burnt Biscuit, one of the Flying K’s best, threw Talon in to the ER. This year, he wants Talon to try Biscuit’s brother, Burnt Beans–guaranteed to give him a high score.
Ben’s wife, Sadie, is a tough woman–she’d have to be to live among the rugged men on the Flying K. But she smiles a lot, laughs easily, yet maintains a gentle poise. She can hobnob with the richest–something that doesn’t impress her–or oversee a cook-out for a hundred hungry visitors to their ranch. Considering a baby-bucking event brings in breeders, buyers, rodeo execs, and the general curious public, sometimes she has to hobnob with an apron over her jeans.
Among those who work on the ranch are brothers Cody and Colton Royder.
Cody and Colton have worked on the Flying K for a number of years–since they were both teenagers. As different as day is from night, the two brothers fight often, but work together and with the other ranch hands well. Cody’s satisfied with being a cowboy, but Colton wants to be a bull rider, earn a name for himself. With Talon Carlson and Chance Davis always vying for top spot, he never could break through. Until Talon broke his arm and couldn’t ride.
But Talon’s arm is healed now . . .