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“Gonna be a tough job getting it out of that mess.” He said, just before he lit the cigarette and flipped the lid of the lighter closed.

“Yup.” Was all his partner had for a reply.

Harry Hemlin was not so plain as Brett, but the man was no flamboyant type either. His blue and yellow plaid shirt still matched well with his plain denim jeans, but the large silver belt buckle set it off nicely. He had a black wide brimmed hat that had seen better days, and his leather chaps were not much better, though they were still a little cleaner than Brett’s.

Taking a puff of his cigarette, Brett pinched it between his teeth as he drew his lasso around and swung it over the long horns of the beast stuck in the mud. Giving his reins a pull, he turned his horse and started pulling the steer free.

A moment later, Harry’s rope went across the steer as well, and suddenly they had both of their horses pulling it free. The animal was exhausted from working to get free on its own, and was not bothering to try helping them much. The two horses had to do all the work. The two cowboys yelled words of encouragement, mixed in with a little colorful language, and slowly the large steer came out of the mud. Then it gathered its strength and charged them.

The steer dipped its head and came full speed at Brett and there was nothing he could do but try to avoid it. He yanked on the reigns but he knew he was too late for that, so he pulled his leg up, trying to save it from getting busted in the inevitable collision. The impact never came.

Harry’s rope went taught as he pulled his own horse around hard, and the strength of the horse yanked the already weakened steer’s head upward. Its long horn caught Brett under his raised boot and shoved it high, then slipped past the heel and swiped across the inside of the cowboy’s leg. The next thing Brett knew, he was falling over the other side of the horse to land in a heap.

The ground hit him hard and he felt pain along his leg and in his hand. Jumping up, he never gave the pain a second thought as he jumped up and hopped back into the saddle. He already knew what the beast was going to do.

Just as he expected, the cagey animal had turned on his partner. As soon as he landed in the saddle, Brett grabbed the reigns and gave them a sharp tug, pulling the lasso, which was still tied around the saddle horn, taught, and suddenly the large steer was caught between the two cowboys with nowhere to move.

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