Black Wolf is one of the series of books I’ve written. The first book, Black Wolf: Lakota Man, is for sale on Amazon, but the second, Black Wolf at Rosebud, is still in editing and should be out this summer.
The premise is about a family of four Lakota Sioux brothers who form an R&B band in Austin, Texas. Here is an excerpt from the second book, involving a wild cow milking contest at a rodeo.
Once the men quieted down, the starter gun sounded and the cows were let loose. Eighteen men scrambled amidst cavorting hooves and tails. Two members of one team grabbed two different cows. Seeing their mistake, they both turned loose and passed each other running for the other cow. Laughter roared from the watching audience.
“Well, dogonit! Pick one!” a frustrated contestant yelled.
Dan followed Kele, who was chasing a black and white cow. They sprinted across the dirt, dodging the bucking, bellowing cattle and frantic men. With their cow backed up against the fence, Kele lunged for her neck, throwing both arms around her and hanging on for dear life. Chayton clutched his milk bucket tightly in his right hand while waving with his left, shouting instructions like some crazed traffic cop.
Dan ran behind the cow, trying to grab her thrashing tail. He got hit in the face with her bristly whip and staggered backwards. He could hear Kele cursing as the cow tossed her head, throwing him to the ground.
With bowing neck and kicking hooves, the cow refused to be handled. The noise from the crowd and from the other bellowing animals made her nervous and angry. Managing to turn away from the fence, she trotted toward the middle of the arena. Dan dodged two other men and leapt toward the tail again, but missed. Glancing over his shoulder, he could tell other teams were having as much trouble.
“Keep the blasted thing still!” Chayton yelled.
“I’m trying!” Dan yelled back as he made a grab for the flicking appendage. At last, he had it in his hands. Planting his feet, he leaned back as hard as he could, holding on with all of his strength. The angry animal wasn’t having it. She bolted, jerking Dan headfirst into the dirt. He refused to let go of her tail and tightened his grip, praying Kele and Chayton could stop her mad dash before he ate half the arena. Dirt and manure packed into his nose, his eyes, his hair. He could feel grit in his teeth. Still, he hung on. He’d never gone cow-dirt skiing before and swore he’d never do it again. Somewhere in the frenzy, he and his cow ran into another team, sending them and their animal scattering. The people in the stands roared with laughter.
“Kele, stop this thing!” Dan yelled.
“What do you think I’m trying to do?” Kele yelled back as he made another lunge. With both arms locked around her neck, Kele plowed his boot heels into the dirt, slowing the animal down. With the tail still in hand, Dan leapt to his feet, spitting dirt out of his mouth, and trying to shake the worst of it off his face. Finally, the two men had enough torque on the front and back of the cow to get her to stand still.
“Now!” Kele yelled to his brother. Chayton had already ducked underneath and began grabbing at the udders with one hand, the bucket ready to catch the first drop in the other. The cow kicked, sending the bucket flying across the arena. Cursing mightily, Chayton dashed through the melee to retrieve it.
Taking a chance, Dan glanced at Lainie in the stands. She was rolling with laughter, wiping tears from her eyes. When she met his gaze, he heard her yell. “Get ‘em, Dan! Get ‘em!”
Her encouragement turned his serious mood and he began to realize just how funny they all must look. At the same time that Chayton returned, a roar went up from the crowd. Looking over his shoulder, Dan saw one team running toward the judges with milk sloshing in the bucket. Just a few yards away, another team’s cow bucked, sending one of the men sprawling backwards. He knocked the pail bearer over, which sent the milk spilling into the dirt. A collective groan from the crowd filled Dan’s ears, but he grinned. They still had time.
“Hurry!” he shouted.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Chayton answered as he dodged a hoof. Dan could hear milk hitting the inside of the pail.
“How long will it take to get enough milk?” Dan asked. No one answered.
Finally, Chayton stood up. “Got it!” He held up the pail.
“Go!” Kele shouted. He and Chayton took off for the judges’ table. Dan let go of the tail and turned to follow. Across the arena, another team also raced toward the table.
“We can beat ‘em!” Dan encouraged his teammates. He could hear Lainie screaming, “RUN! RUN!” The noise in the arena magnified as different people cheered on their teams.
The other team grew nearer, trying to run as smoothly as they could without spilling the precious liquid. If this were football, Dan would have gone into a flying tackle and stopped them. But, he could only run defense, keeping obstacles and animals out of Chayton’s way.
They were twenty yards away from the table. Blue jean legs were swish-swishing in their frantic endeavor. Both teams kept judging the distance from their buckets to the table and, out of the corner of their eyes, the proximity of the other team.
“RUN! RUN!” Lainie screamed.
Now they were ten yards away, all six men grim with determination to reach the table first. Chayton twisted away at the last minute from an on-coming cow, narrowly avoiding a collision.
“GO, DAN! RUN!”
At the last few feet, all of them hurled themselves at the judges. With a half-second difference, the other team’s pail hit the table first.. The crowd went wild as a third team raced to the table, making Dan jump out of the way. Dan shot a regretful look at Chayton. Leaning over, both hands on his knees, Dan tried to catch his breath, and then burst out laughing. Even covered in arena dirt, even with shoulders he knew were going to kill him soon, that was the most intense fun he’d had in years.