Sage Faulkner: Thankful Amidst The Smoke

Bayler and Keelin Faulkner saddle bronc riding during a practice. Photo by Sage Faulkner

Lee – Sage’s old cowdog and appreciator of pats. Photo by Sage Faulkner


Like most of us in Rio Arriba County, we got a call Saturday saying if we were on 111 north of La Madera, evacuate.  We are not even close to the area, we are not in the line of fire travel forecasts, but we have friends who are, and my answer to the call was to walk outside and burst into tears.  I’m helpful like that.   

My sister-in-law called to say she wouldn’t be able to be our EMT at our impromptu youth rodeo practice because she needed to help friends that were in La Madera.  We talked about us helping and she said she’d call me when they needed us. 

In the mean time, the bronc riding kids all arrived with smiles, full of life and hugs and excitement.  We had decided I would get to take a break from my usual job on the chute, which is flanking and heading the bronc out, because I have a shoulder injury and my husband Shane didn’t want me compounding it.  

Everyone thought I was sad from getting fired from flanking broncs. 

I was not. 

Flanking is probably not my hidden calling in life; in fact, the only part of it I am really good at is laughing about missing another one after we are done.  I do it because we all need to do a job for practice, and when we started these practices, we didn’t have as much help.  

I had my old dog at the pens and the not as helpful Jack Russells in the house because while it makes bucking horses move out to have heel biters, it sounds terrible on the videos to have me screaming ”lift  charge (normal directions for bronc riding kids) Junebug, you &$@$ get out now (my dog directions that have nothing to do with bronc riding kids)”. In fact, whichever kid is riding thinks I’m cussing at them because they only hear bits and pieces.  Not entirely helpful!

Anyway, I sat down with Lee and just made my whole heart tell him thanks for being such a good boy.  I gave him a few minutes of extra pats, rubbing his cheek right where he loves it and under his hip where it gets sore.  I don’t know if it did much for him but it sure eased my mind.  Finding something to be thankful for is good therapy.  Really good therapy.  

The kids had a good practice, and I made it through my day.  The evacuations were halted, everyone is on standby, and we await the next word.  

Y’all – have a good Sunday.  It’s a perfect day to spend some time remembering to be thankful.

Hugs from this corner of the world!

Monte Faulkner saddle bronc riding during a practice. Photo by Sage Faulkner

David Rouse at saddle bronc riding practice. Photo by Sage Faulkner