Surely you’ve heard tell of Pecos Bill. He was a cowboy down in Texas. He was about the bravest cowboy that ever lived. Once, Bill used two rattlesnakes as a lasso. And then there was the time Bill shot all the stars out of the sky—all of ’em except the Lone Star, that is.
Now everyone in the West knows that Pecos Bill could ride anything. No bronco could throw him. No sir!
So here's one about the time he rode a tornado. You see, there wasn’t a horse in the world that was too wild, too big, too fast, too strong or too ornery for him. So it’s not surprising that one day, Bill decided he wanted to ride a tornado—and not just any tornado. No, sir. Bill waited for the biggest, the mightiest, the most terrifying tornado ever born from the clouds. It was so big that folks on the moon could see it swirling. It sucked up elephants from Africa and whales from the Pacific Ocean. But that didn’t scare Bill. He just reached up and grabbed that tornado out of the sky. He threw it down to the ground and hopped right on.
That tornado whirled and swirled and wiggled and wagged and whip-sawed like an alligator with its tail on fire. Bill hung right on. This here tornado tied the rivers into knots, flattened all the forests so bad they had to rename one place the Flat-Bottomed Plains. It sucked up Lake Michigan and dumped the water into the Grand Canyon. Bill hung right on. At last, that tornado got tired. It stopped its whirling, and Bill fell off. He fell so hard that the ground sank. Folks now call that spot Death Valley.
Anyway, that's how rodeos got started. Though most cowboys stick to broncos these days.
by S.E. Schlosser