Rodeo Daze

by Twyla Jane


There’s no money been made off of this. Don’t own these boys wish I did. So don’t sue. This story ain’t been beta-ed. All the mistakes are mine own. This story takes place in the ATF Alternate Universe where the boys are well… this is a result of a very strange dream. Just read the story. 7/8/0

The smell, a combination of damp saw dust and manure, wafted through the air in the enclosed stadium. There was a large crowd in the stands watching on an isolated rodeo clown, after distracting an irate bull away from the downed cowboy, careened over a fence and into the partially empty stands only to be followed by the pissed off thousand pound bovine. The startled spectators screamed as the painted face clown tried to escape the crushing body of the beast, and but could not avoid being trod on by its hoofed feet, one connecting painfully above the knee snapping the bone before it inexplicably jumped back into the rodeo ring wrangled back into its pen. J.D. Dunne was having a very bad day.


Sprawled across the trampled bleachers, he lay there trying to catch his breath too tired to move as the others came running towards him. The tall mustached cowboy reached his side first.

“Kid? J.D.? Aw hell…. ” Noticing the odd angle of the young man’s leg and the wet patch of blood spreading above the right knee. Buck was afraid to touch him unwilling to risk hurting his young friend anymore than he was. Nathan’s arrival relieved him of that responsibility and watched on as the dark man began asking their friend the long list of all too familiar questions.

“J.D. You hurt anywhere else ‘sides the leg?”

It was hard to tell under the heavy grease paint and filth but Buck was sure that the boy turned a few shades paler as the minutes passed. The medical team had arrived, the kid’s vitals were taken, an I.V. started, and the damaged limb was splinted for transport. Along with Nathan the E.M.T.’s had J.D. quickly and carefully loaded on a stretcher and moving towards a waiting ambulance. Buck jogged along side as they made their way through the crowd.

“Buck!” The young man cried out for his friend.

“I’m right here kid…” Buck leaned in close as the entourage stopped. The rear doors of the ambulance were opened and as the men lifted the stretcher in J.D. called out to his big brother.

“Check the tape! You gotta check the tape!” J.D. was desperate for them to understand.


Across the arena Vin laid tightly curled up trying to breathe after losing his seat he was crushed into a sidewall by the Brahma bull he had ridden in on. Unable to hear the screams of the crowd as the beast jumped into the stands over the ringing in his ears let alone the voice of the man crouched by his side. Instead he felt the comforting grip on his shoulder and when he was able the regain his breath he cracked opened his left eye to see a heavily made up clown leaning over him its mouth moving making no sound. The longhaired sharpshooter blinked again and almost laughed.

“Mr. Tanner? Are you unharmed?”

Vin let a giddy giggle out when he rolled over onto his back staring at his fancy friend dressed in long johns and over sized pants that were held up by suspenders. The world was spinning, Ezra alternately split between two clowns to one clown and back again Vin let another laugh escape.

“Bozo. Honk…” Befuddled man said as he reached up and squeezed Ezra’s red nose before he started laughing.

“I am quite pleased that my attire amuses you…. but are you unharmed?”

Standish leaned over and held Vin’s head still noticing the hugely dilated pupils.

“It seems that you have concussed yourself Mr. Tanner. Can you depart this arena under your own power or do we need assistance?”

“That’s a nice suit…”

The slick con man smiled while he helped Vin was back to his feet, with Ezra’s support they managed to walk out of the ring and towards the ambulance arriving shortly before young Mr. Dunne. A testament to Mr. Tanner’s confusion was his boarding the vehicle without comment.


The ambulance pulled away with lights flashing and sirens blaring leaving three men in its wake.

“Where’s Chris?” Nathan asked wondering where the team’s leader had gone, it seemed everyone at the rodeo knew of this mishap yet he wasn’t there.

“I dunno…. I saw him and Josiah earlier ‘round the concession stands haven’t seen him since.” Was Buck reply as he scanned the crowd looking for his long time friend. His first thought was to go with J.D. and Vin to the hospital but he understood where Nate was going with the question. Where the hell was Chris? And where was Josiah? Ezra was off running after J.D. had been loaded onto the ambulance. The Kid had said something about a tape.

“The tape?” Buck said aloud.

“The tape? Buck what… they are videotaping the rodeo for the local stations!” Nate understood and a second later so did the ladies man and they were racing through the crowd towards the mobile television van. The pair found Ezra still in his clown costume giving order. The former con man had cameraman scanning through several of the recorded events at the same time on four different monitors.

“Stop…there that one … back it up.” Standish pointed to the upper left hand monitor and the cameraman rewound the action. A brief clip of Chris and Josiah being led away it seemed at gunpoint by several men, the camera redirected to the earlier destruction caused by the bull.


Larabee was furious, he and the big man Josiah were hand cuffed and gagged in the back of a trailer. The two men surprised him when he had been watching Vin’s bull riding fiasco hauled away before he could lift a finger in his own defense. Sanchez remained quiet through out the ordeal, either thinking of a way out or pondering the fate of their injured friends Chris wasn’t sure probably both. Damn he hoped that Tanner and the Kid were all right. The slowly ticking bomb set next to them didn’t make the thoughts any more pleasant.


It was all that Nathan and Buck could do to keep up with Ezra as he ran through the crowded grounds through the concession area and into the parking garage, taking the stairs two at a time until they were on the top of the garage where the tournament trailers were housed. Standish ran through opening doors until he found the missing men. The three men managed to haul their friends out and safely away before the small trailer exploded.


The dust and debris were settling the men liberated Chris and Josiah from the restraints.

“To quote Ezra here gentleman your timing is impeccable.” Chris huffed as they removed his gag.

“Glad to be of service. But do you mind telling me what the hell is all this about?”

“Call the locals authorities, tell them to pick up Benjamin Wheeler and his associates for attempted murder and smuggling illegal arms into the country.”


Early the next morning J.D. Dunne’s leg was in traction after having surgery to set the badly broken leg. Buck was watching an old Tarzan Movie and he kept nodding off because of the pain med’s. Vin was in the next bed recovering, doing little other than sleeping. J.D. couldn’t believe when Vin slid off the bull right after it left the gate slamming into a sidewall and he himself had paid the price for distracting the enraged animal away from his downed friend. The doctors were surprised to find the former bounty hunter had been hit with a tranquilizing dart it was still imbedded in his upper arm when he arrived at the ambulance. Vin was lucky besides being loaded up with the drugs he was virtually unharmed save a few bumps and bruises. J.D. had been right all along the answers had been hidden on the tapes after reviewing all of the footage recorded the day of the bombing and the out of control Brahma bull. A sweeping crowd shot had revealed the shooter that had tranquilized Vin along with clips showing a virtual whose who in the underworld. Apparently Wheeler and his crew were selling illegal weapons through the concession stands under the noses of local authorities.


The most amusing thing about the entire situation was that only reason Team Seven was on the scene at all was because they had volunteered for a weeklong charity event. When Wheeler recognized Larabee and Sanchez the man freaked out, had Vin darted to cause a major distraction while he and his goons got away. Didn’t work out that way the man and his cronies were apprehended trying to leave the country. J.D. didn’t know why Wheeler caught his attention, a face in the crowd passing by the arena, when it did. The young man was grateful to whatever forces were at work that day.

“Hey Kid… you okay?” He heard Buck talking to him.

“Yeah, just thinking is all.”

“Anything I can help you with?”

“Nah, Vin doing better?”

“Yeah, sure was out of it for a while. Doc say’s that all he needs now is to sleep and should back to his normal self in a day or two, that boy was lucky he could have been killed. You done real good kid.”

J.D. flushed red with embarrassment and tried to change the subject.

“Where are the rest of the guys?”

‘Tying up loose ends, giving statements about what happened to the authorities. Thank god you noticed thing would have turned out… ”

“Was afraid I didn’t make you understand what was had happened. After I got stepped on.”

“Boy, you got trampled… no six ways about it. You scared the living shit out of the boys and me. Glad your okay.”

“Me too!”

“But Kid I didn’t tell you the best part. Got some real good pictures of ole Ezra …”

“Hey I thought he said he’d kill ya if you did…”

“Didn’t have to…. Kept replaying the footage on the news…” Buck started laughing waking the Texan.

“Oh man…” Groaned Vin as blinked his eyes open and watched on in horror while Buck raised the volume. There was a newsbreak covering the incident at the Rodeo. A larger than life close up of him and Ezra dressed in full clown costume as he was assisted climbing into the ambulance followed by a shot of J.D. still in the wig and make up strapped to the stretcher being loaded in.

“Bucklin as soon as I kin get out of this bed yer a dead man…” Tanner growled as he pulled the blankets over his head. Some days it did no pay to wake up. “ No Bucklin let me change that Ez is goin’ ta kill ya when I let him know it was you that volunteered him as a rodeo clown.”

“You wouldn’t?”

Vin didn’t say another word just rolled over and tried go to back to sleep. The kid was still laughing as he drifted away and he popped his head out from under the blankets and looked at the young man laid up in the other bed.

“Thanks J.D.” Then smiled and closed his eyes. J.D. grinned then settled back ignoring Buck letting sleep take him as well secure in the thought his family was still safe.