That’s when Backer slid off the rider’s hat,
onto Last Ride Red’s great big back!
That startled the man holding the gate.
He tried to close it but was too late.
Last Ride Red came charging out,
the crowd saw Backer and began to shout:
“That toad’s in trouble! Everyone look out!”
Backer knew he had to hang on tight,
so he grabbed the bull’s hair with all his might.
He knew for certain if he was thrown down,
he’d soon be stomped into the ground.
Last Ride Red was having a fit.
He ran through a fence, shattering it.
The bull jumped and leapt and even hopped.
He kept it up and never stopped.
His anger turned to a mighty rage
as he raced around that dusty stage.
But no matter how high and hard he bucked,
that brave little toad never gave up.
Red’s hooves pounded all over the dirt.
Backer’s bones and muscles really hurt.
The bull even tried leaping so high
his horns seemed to scrape the sky.
He jerked back and forth so quickly
Backer started feeling a little sickly.
Red romped and pounded and even snorted,
but little Backer was never thwarted.
After an hour of stomping all around,
Last Ride Red gave up and lay down.
Everyone jumped to their feet and cheered.
The bull hadn’t done what they all feared.
Instead of the toad being stomped in the ground,
Backer rode the bull all the way down.
Zach ran out and picked Backer up,
then a man gave them a buckle and trophy cup.
He yelled, “Congratulations, son!
Your brave little toad has really won!
No one’s ever done
what he’s done.
The best bull rider is right here.
Backer’s our Rodeo Champ this year!”
The next day the news was full
of how Backer the toad rode the great big bull.
The rodeo retired Last Ride Red.
He’s a happy bull and very well fed.
He gets to eat grass and hay all day
and stay in a field full of cows and play.
His pasture’s now longer and wider.
And though Backer was Last Ride Red’s last rider,
Zach and Backer were Red’s first friends
and this is how my story ends.
Illustration and excerpt from Zach and the Toad Who Rode a Bull
(c) Copyright 2015 Russ Towne All Rights Reserved
Written by Russ Towne
Illustrated by Christine Cartwright