Thursday, June 21, 2012

The hull of a prop plane, long-defunct, juts from an empty field. As if it took a nose-dive into the red dirt years ago, and its rust grew roots.

A left at the lone blinking light and a right onto CR 112 until it butts into Bug Tussle, where pavement gives way to gravel.

A trailer painted like the Texas flag, parked in the corner of a dusty arena. A Sorrel horse, galloping under the guidance of a gentleman who tips his hat in our direction.

He waves our miniature production fleet through the gate.

I extend a hand and praise for the best set of directions I've ever received.

I'm allowed to say so, he nods, because I found the place.

He slings the rope with the precision of a scientist. It writhes gracefully in midair before jolting to life with a snap.

A patch of shade under the tin roof is prime property for watching Pat Ivey work.

He doesn't miss. Not once.

Ivey's skill is coveted by many, mastered by few. His pupils are a grab-bag of ages and ethnicities and backgrounds.  City slickers. Aspiring cowboys. Retired professionals. Ladies. Little kids. Even a Londoner.

"London London?"

"He bought a roping dummy over there, believe it or not. Drags it out to the forest to practice. His friends give him a real hard time." 

"How'd he find you?"

"Same way you did, I suppose."

No horse, no boots, no Texas citizenry required? 

"Just bring your tennis shoes and a twenty-five dollar bill and we'll rope." 

(If you can find the place).

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