Pedro and Charley Saunders were the only Quarter Circle KT cowboys participating in the events of the first day of the Rodeo. The Mexican did a fancy roping stunt in front of the grandstand and finished his exhibition directly before the Clagstone “Six” in which Carolyn June, Ophelia, Old Heck and Skinny were sitting. At the conclusion of his performance Pedro bowed to the little audience in the car and swept his sombrero before him with all the courtly grace of a great matador. Carolyn June generously applauded the dark-skinned rider from the Cimarron and waved a daintily gloved hand in acknowledgment of his skill with the rope. Skinny gritted his teeth while a pang of jealousy shot through his heart.
Charley took part in the bull-dogging event. He drew a black steer, rangey built, heavy and wicked. When he lunged from his horse on to the horns of the brute it dragged him for a hundred feet before he could check its mad flight. At last he slowly forced its nose in the air and with a quick wrench of the head to one side threw its feet from under it. Man and beast went down in a heap—the neck of the steer across the cowboy’s body. A groan went up from the crowd in the grandstand and Carolyn June’s cheeks paled with horror—it looked as if one horn of the creature had pierced Charley’s breast. But it had missed by the fraction of an inch. Straightening himself up to a sitting posture the cowboy bent forward and sunk his teeth in the upper lip of the prostrate animal and threw up both hands as a signal to the judges that the brute was “bulldogged.” But the fight had been too hard for him to win first place. Buck Wade, a lanky cow-puncher from Montana, in three seconds less time, had thrown a brindle Anchor-O steer and taken first money.
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Before the sun dipped into the Costejo peaks the Ramblin’ Kid left the Rodeo and returned alone to the Quarter Circle KT. He told Parker and the cowboys, all of whom intended to remain in Eagle Butte every night during the Rodeo, that he would be back in town the next afternoon and bring with him the Gold Dust maverick. Word had been passed among the Quarter Circle KT crowd to keep Dorsey and his bunch in the dark as long as possible regarding the fact that the filly, Ophelia, was the famous outlaw mare of the lower Cimarron.
After supper Parker, Chuck, Bert and Charley drifted into the Elite Amusement Parlor. The place was crowded. Mike Sabota immediately singled out the Quarter Circle KT group and began jollying them about the coming two-mile sweepstakes. Dorsey and Flip Williams had been in the pool-room earlier in the evening and told him of the Ramblin’ Kid’s entry of the filly against the Thunderbolt horse.
Within ten minutes Bert and Charley had placed two hundred and fifty dollars each against five hundred of Sabota’s money that the Vermejo stallion would not finish in first place in the big race.