Rosa Ortiza, No Bull Part IV

"You did it, the first one of the trainees to cover a bull. You stayed on that crazy animal for eight seconds."

By Tommy Villalobos, LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: October 16, 2014

Rosa Ortiza, No Bull Part IV

Read Part 1 Here.

Read Part 2 Here Here.

Read Part 3 Here Here.

The 8-second buzzer buzzed just as Notorious stopped abruptly and impolitely before the gate as if desiring to fling Rosa over his horns and against said gate for easier pickins'. Instead of flying headlong into the gate, Rosa flew off to the right. She landed unsteadily on her feet, feeling the draft of one hoof as it missed her tailpiece by inches.

She tottered away from Notorious who was still kicking, busily earning his daily twenty pounds of alfalfa. The bullfighter cowboys in clown outfits distracted the wildly kicking and irritated bovine.

Rosa spotted Leonel then zigzagged toward him as if she had just downed nearly half a pint of brown vodka (aka Canadian whiskey).

"Congratulations," he said, taking her hand and pumping her arm as if extracting oil from the ground upon which she stood. "You did it, the first one of the trainees to cover a bull. You stayed on that crazy animal for eight seconds."

She looked at his ham-like hand into which her own disappeared until he released it.

"My name is Leonel," he said, grinning, soulful brown eyes that seemed to be looking at her rapidly beating heart.

He was not too tall. Nor too short. Nor too anything. And she felt that his face belonged on every other cover of Latina magazine.

"I'm Rosa." And I want you to carry me off into the sunset as soon as the next one shows up, she wanted to add but held off for a better moment.

"I stayed on him, didn't I?" she said in a daze.

"You rode a rank bull. You rode not only a bull that fades, but is also a spinner. He spins in a tight circle."

She became pensive, smiling, as if reliving her feat through Leonel's quick summary.
"What made you want to ride bulls?" he then said.


"The folks who normally sign up are trying to reaffirm their manhood or find themselves or lose themselves or have lost a love or found one. It's a narrow category."

"I just want to look people in the eye and say, 'I'm Rosa Ortiza, I ride bulls for a livin', no bull.'"

"You don't mean that?"

"I do mean that."

"You want to do this from now on?"

"Until I'm too silly for words."

"Do you intend to go professional then?" he said.

"Of course. I discovered that the money is good, and I might become famous."

"If you ride long enough, I guarantee you will be famous right along with Maggie Parker."


"Maggie Parker. And Misty Studley in Canada. Heck, there were famous women bareback bronc and bull riders at the beginning of the twentieth century."

Rosa's lower jaw dropped, leaving her mouth a wide open space. He was concerned that a fly might zip in for a look-see, since flies hung around here like a pack of hopeful gamblers in Las Vegas.

"What's the matter? You look like you took a hoof to the stomach."

"The matter is that I wanted to be the first female bull rider ever in the whole wide world."

Leonel considered.

"You'll be the first in East L.A."

"Doesn't have the same ring."

Then Rosa considered.

"Do you bull ride?"

"Used to."

"Why did you stop?"

"Went doun in th'uh well."

"Went where?"

"I was on a bull that was spinning and the force of his spinning pulled me down the side of the bull head first where I stayed for what seemed like a rodeo lifetime. I was dragged around, my head finally hitting the ground, bouncing like a basketball. Then that extreme bull hooked me on my leg. I limped for a whole month. I had fair warning. That bull went after a bullfighter coming out of the chute. Don't let that happen to you."

"I won't. I like bullfighters. Were you, like, in bed month after month, itching to take the bull by the horns, so to speak?"

"Just a month. But I had suffered a pretty good concussion," he said taking off his cowboy hat as if to show her his concussion.

"It seems like you want to hop on the first bull that comes strolling by," she said to his wavy hair.

"I was planning to, but I slipped in my apartment in the dark, hit my head on the kitchen sink and had another concussion. Doctor said that if I hit my head one more time on a bull or a sink, it could mean permanent unconsciousness or just another headache. The choice was mine. It's a soul-testing experience."

She thought it was time to change the subject.

"My bull was fading something fierce, huh?"

"Yeah, Notorious does that. Likes to go backwards as he bucks."

"But I stayed on him," she reiterated.

"I'd sing a corrido about it if I could sing a corrido about it."

She decided to toss her heart at his feet to see if he would scoop it up. She slowly removed the thick, soft leather that was her rider's glove. She looked at him affectionately and formed the words in her mind, then her lips

To be continued

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