• Published 16th Apr 2023
  • 3,088 Views, 193 Comments

Rodeo Rumble - HumanSVD

A nice, honest man name Clyde the Cowboy, has caught Applejack's affections. She wants him as her hubby but so does Arizona. There's only one way to solve this...a fight!

  • ...

Back in Appleloosa

Applejack smelled the hot, fresh air as she walked off the train. It had been several long hours as the train went unusually slower than the last trip. While Applejack wasn't one for fancy calculations, she figured it was due to the weight of the extra cars. Her last trip to Appleloosa barely had any passengers or cargo, which meant the train was faster. That was not the case this time, as the train was full of passengers, many of which were not native to Equestria.

Some were creatures she had never seen, such as Camels and Llamas. Ever since discovering faraway lands called Foenum, travelers to Equestria and the other nations drastically increased. Rare goods, like salt, were now being traded for money and other goods, notably farming equipment. The Apple Family, both immediate and extended across Equestria, weren't too pleased with the rise in costs associated with their lively hood.

Big Macintosh wasn't too pleased with the extra week of waiting to receive a new plow. The order came through, sure enough, but the stallion had lost a valuable head start. It didn't help that the plow's cost was 30% more than the previous years. And that was just the start of it.

Her cousins, planting out near Fillydelphia, had to pay extra for new carts. Refurbished equipment or even decent used carts were no longer for sale, having been bought up. Due to increasing demand, Braeburn had to wait for fresh planting soil for the season. Most of it was due to being exported to the lands of Foenum, and it drove the native farmers up the wall.

Nevertheless, the Apple family worked hard and continued to be fruitful in their honest profession. Walking away from the platform with her saddlebags on her back, Applejack walked through the town. It had more than doubled since her last visit, and many new buildings still had fresh coats of paint. Some were new businesses while others were hotels or homes. The older buildings were easily distinguished from the new ones, even if one had never visited the town.

"Ah gotta admit, this town has grown a mite bigger since the last time Ah was here. Ah'll bet Braeburn is excited about it."

As Applejack took in the new sights, she had to dodge and avoid the heavy traffic of ponies and new species walking through the center of the town. Surprisingly, Buffalos, Cows, and even a few Griffons were here. Many species in the town were the more farming or country type in Appleloosa, all of which were undoubtedly here for the International Rodeo Games. The country mare sized up many of what she assumed would be her potential competitors.

Applejack primarily planned on doing the obstacle course, barrel run, and strength kicking contest but quickly realized a problem. There were too many potential competitors. The last time she joined the Equestria Rodeo, Wild Bull Hickok, and Calamity Mane quickly bested her. Those were only due to a hoof full of events, and she sat out several others, having not practiced or thought of even trying.

Now with the Rodeo Games being on an international scale, Applejack resolved to try almost anything and everything to win money and first place blue ribbon. It certainly wouldn't hurt to win some fame and get free advertising for the Apple Family's Apple products. In any event, Applejack wouldn't leave empty-hooved, not without a fight at least.

The country mare finally reached Braeburn's house, which opened suddenly before she could walk up to the door. Her cousin was standing in the doorway and bore a big smile on his face. He waved a hoof before greeting, "Well, how about that? My cousin is finally here. What took you so long?"

Hugging her cousin, Applejack smiled and replied, "Sorry, the train was a mite slower than normal. Ah think it was all them newcomers weighing the train town."

Braeburn nodded before holding a hoof out and gesturing for her saddlebags. Applejack nodded and hoofed over her bags for her cousin to set aside.

"That makes sense; these trains have been dropping off new folk all day for the past week. Never had this place crowded before but Ah'm sure it's fine. Ah'll drop these in your room quickly, so go onto the back, and Ah'll meet you there. Ah gotta surprise for you!"

Applejack nodded as Braeburn went to the guest room and made her way to the back of the house. After walking through the living room, she quickly found the backdoor leading to the back porch. Opening the door, she was greeted by a newly built bullpen full of equipment one would encounter in the games. Applejack took off her stetson and whistled at the freshly made bullpen.

"Well, Ah'll be; that's one fine setup. Ah can practice for all the events right here!"

"You certainly can; Braeburn had it made for you."

Applejack turned to her right and was surprised to see Little Strongheart. Applejack walked over to the Buffalo and hoof-bumped her.

"Well, Ah'll be! What brings you around here? How's your family and tribe doing?"

Little Strongheart beamed with happiness and said, "Very well! The tribe has expanded almost double-fold, just like Appleloosa! We even discovered a freshwater spring and laid claim to it. Appleloosa officially recognized it as ours, and Braeburn even helped us lay markers and fences for our stomping grounds. We did have thieves and squatters bother us briefly, but Braeburn formed a posse and helped us remove them."

Applejack was surprised to hear thieves and squatters had made trespass, as such a problem was almost unheard of in Equestria. The mare wasn't surprised to hear that a family member was helping. If there was anything the Apple Family was known for, it was helping out a neighbor.

"Wow, didn't see that one comin'. Good to hear it got sorted out, though. And, wait a minute, why are you wearing that?"

Applejack pointed a hoof at Little Strongheart's chest. The young Buffalo wore a polished silver necklace chain with a golden ring. The ring had a gemstone that copied Braeburn's cutie mark. Applejack stepped back and said, "Wh-what? Wait, don't tell me you and my cousin are..."

Little Strongheart blushed and sheepishly smiled before saying, "Um...yeah. Your cousin and I are to be married."

Applejack's jaw dropped as her eyes widened. At this time, Braeburn walked out to the back and noticed the look on Applejack's face. He chuckled and asked his fiancée, "So, Ah take it you told her?"

The two nuzzled each other before Applejack shook herself out of her stupor. Once her mind finally comprehended the revelation, the country mare smiled and congratulated the two.

"Well, that certainly is one heck of a surprise. Ah mighty happy for you both. When's the hitchin'?" asked Applejack.

"It will be a few months from now. We haven't sent the invitations yet, but they'll be out sometime after the Rodeo," said Little Strongheart.

"And speaking of the Rodeo, Ah'm sure you've noticed the pen. Since Ah'm organizing the Rodeo and working with the
gaming officials, Ah got access to not only the list of events but also the folks you're going to compete against. "

Braeburn handed Applejack a paper scroll, who unfolded it and started reading the list of competitors. As she read the list, Applejack soon realized the road to victory would be more challenging than she thought. Wild Bull Hickock, Calamity Mane, and several other notable Rodeo folks were on the list. In addition to that, several new names she had never heard of before were on the list.

Many of them were from Foenum, and from the sounds of their names and origin list, they sounded like the Cattlefolk from the lands of the Prairie. Her knowledge of the Prairie in Foenum was limited, but she felt they would be her biggest competition. Applejack snorted in discontent before wrapping up the list and handing it back to him.

"Well shucks, Ah got my work cut out for me. Got any recommendations of what Ah should practice on?"

Braeburn nodded and said, "Ah most certainly do. The barrel toss is going to be a big one that Ah recommend. And the kicking measurin' contest will be divided by weight category. You'll likely be separated into the light category, so you won't have to go against any other creature with an unfair advantage. And before you go on and say it, yes cousin, Ah know you're strong and could out buck a lot of these greenhorns. But Ah know you wanna win and get some prize money, so relax and focus on what you're good at."

As Applejack nodded when Little Stronghoof added, "Oh! There will also be a few lasso events and a buckin' contest."

Applejack grinned, hearing what the Buffalo said, as lasso and bucking were her bread and butter. If there was any event she could win, it was those two. And she had a few days before the rodeo games would begin the first events. A decent amount of time to practice and prepare to win.

"Now that's more of mah speed. Now if that's all, Ah'm gonna get some practice. Ah'm done sitting down."

Braeburn nodded as Applejack took her cousin's spare lasso on the outside wall. As she walked off the porch, he added, "Oh, just one more thing; Ah hired a helping hand. He's been mighty good at getting this competition going and has lots of rodeo experience. He should be here to help you practice....right about now."

Applejack chuckled and dismissively replied, "Helping hand? You mean hoof, right? Anyway, Ah don't need no help-"

Before she could finish, the supply shed near the bullpen opened. Applejack wasn't prepared for what she saw. It was surprised as a human walked out, carrying a lasso and a rodeo saddle. Her jaw dropped again as the human was not only a man but a very fit and fine-looking one. He wore his cowboy hat, a yellow bandana around his neck, a brown homespun plaid shirt, faded blue jeans, and nice-looking boots. His eyes were blue, with shaggy brown hair and decent light-tanned skin.

It was rare enough to see a new creature from around the world, but it was even more rare to see a human. Humans had long been considered a myth until a few years ago. Roughly 5000 were discovered scattered on a small unknown continent. It was theorized that a strange displacement event occurred, and it had brought them from another world. Equestria's scientists were unsure not only what could have been the cause but equally unsure why humans disappeared in the first place.

Plenty of evidence suggests they once inhabited the planet Equis long ago. Unfortunately, there was no evidence of their disappearance. In any event, some humans eventually left the small continent and scattered to many nations across Equis. Many humans integrated with success, while some bad apples sadly existed. Humans appeared to have just as many faults as any other creature did.

And before Applejack was a man that gave her an impression of a hard-working, honest guy. As he walked into the pen, he turned his head and smiled at Applejack while locking eyes with her. Time seemed to stop as she met his gaze, unable to move. The confidence he was emitting almost seemed to challenge her own. Before she could say or do anything, the man said, "That's a mighty big claim to say you don't need no help, Missy. Wanna show me why?"

"OH NO, HE DIDN'T! That-that no good, big-headed varmint! He's going on and challengin' me!!"

Braeburn chuckled while Strongheart suppressed a giggle as Applejack's shocked expression slowly turned into one of a slight red-faced look of annoyance.

"And just who do you think you are, mister? You questionin' mah rodeo skills?" demanded Applejack while stomping a hoof.

The man chuckled and ignored her while setting aside his lasso and putting the saddle down on a box. Braeburn then said, "Applejack, this is Mr. Clyde. He's the working hand Ah hired to help organize the Rodeo. He's been in Appleloosa for a long while and helped us get rid of thieves and squatters out on the Buffalo lands. He knows an awful lot about rodeos and the folks you'll be competin' against."

The cowboy removed his hat, and lightly bowed before saying, "It's all true, ma'am. Ah've been working with rodeo games since I was young boy. I've also worked the odd farmhand job here and there. Mah full name is Clyde Dallas Ford, but you can just call me Clyde."

Applejack snorted and said, "Clyde huh? Well, Ah'm Applejack and Ah don't need no help. Ah stand by what Ah said, and Ah'm gonna show you why."

Without any more words, Applejack grabbed her cousin's spare lasso and ran into the bullpen. As she shut the door, Clyde said mockingly, "Uh oh! Braeburn, Ah think your cousin means business. Looks like Ah'm in trouble."

"The nerve of this man! Time to humble him with mah rope."

"You ARE in trouble, mister! Ah challenge ya to roping! With YOU as the target."

"Ooooohh!" said Clyde, "Well then, missy, you know the rules. You got 1 minute to tie me down and-"

Applejack didn't even give Clyde a chance to finish as she grabbed the lasso and ran after the man. Braeburn started a count on his watch and kept track of Applejack's progress. The mare ran as fast as she could and spun the rope around, making a perfect circle. Clyde, for his part, just smiled and prepared for the perfect chance to dodge.

Applejack thought to herself, "Shoot, Ah got this! Take that you-WHAT?!"

The country mare didn't even get close to the man as her lasso harmless missed him. The cowboy did some crazy tornado twirl and easily moved out of the way. With the rope in her mouth, Applejack cursed and said, "DAG NABBIT!"

"Not a bad try missy, for a school filly." taunted Clyde.

Applejack's face was beet red in embarrassment and anger as she recovered the rope. Clyde had made a decent amount of distance between her and himself, but not enough for her to expend more energy to get close to him. Taking another chance, Applejack quickly ran at the man and threw her lasso at him. Once again, he did some strange twirl and avoided the lasso. The mare snorted in anger while the man chuckled.

"You need to try something else because that runnin' and throwin' ain't cutting it." said Clyde.

"30 seconds left!" shouted Braeburn.

Applejack was shocked and knew she had to at least rope him before the clock ran out.

"Shoot! If this is how Ah'll be during the Rodeo, mah flanks will be toast!"

Applejack narrowed her eyes at the man and smirked. Her plan was to fake the same two moves and throw the rope at his likely escape path. Once again, Applejack took off sprinting and feigned a lasso throw. As predicted, the man did his twirl move, giving Applejack a chance to lasso him. Her aim struck true as the rope sailed over his body. Applejack quickly tied him up per regulations, not wasting another second as he fell to the ground.

"Yeah!" cheered Applejack, "How do you like THEM Apples!"

The mare turned around to face Braeburn and Strongheart to gloat, but her victory was cut short. Her cousin shouted, "One minute and 10 seconds! Disqualified!"

Her face turned to dismay and shock as Applejack sat on her haunches with ears downward.

"Wh-what?! Ah...LOST?!"

"Sorry Ma'am, but you would've been disqualified even if you finished before the time was up." said Clyde.

She turned to find that the cowboy had somehow escaped her lasso tie. The round was no good if a target broke free in less than six seconds after being tied down. She'd be lucky to get a redo if allowed, and considering the stakes, it was unlikely she would.

"But-but...oh, all right fine. Ah guess Ah need help after all. Just how did you do it?" asked Applejack.

Clyde smiled and held a hand out to Applejack as she sat on the ground. She extended a hoof towards the man and Clyde pulled her back up. The feeling of his strong but safe grip stirred something inside of her. It felt like the butterflies were flying in her tummy, making the mare blush.

"Now, why am Ah feeling that way? It don't make no sense."

She looked up at the man, who gave her a reassuring smile. Clyde simply replied, "Ah'll show you, ma'am. Just follow mah lead."

For the next few minutes, Clyde showed her various tips, tricks, and strategies he learned from others and on the go. His directions were easy to follow, and he spoke to her with respect. Applejack did have to admit, it was nice spending time with a gentlecolt that wasn't a prissy fru-fru wuss and one that had similar interests to hers. After a few practice runs, Applejack had greatly improved in less than 30 minutes with Clyde's help. Her retry attempts to capture and hogtie Clyde succeeded, and her best time was ten seconds, from start to a clean and complete tie.

After untying Clyde, the man looked at the lowering sunset. He said, "Well, Ah gotta get going and prepare for tomorrow. Ah have to help set up the barrel toss pen. Once Ah'm done, Ah'm free to help you practice if you want to."

"He wants to help me again? Heck yeah, Ah want that!"

"Sure!" said Applejack, "Ah'd like that very much."

The man held out a fist, to which the mare replied by bumping it and shaking it. Human or not, Clyde clearly how hooved creatures greeted one another and said goodbye. This was another clue that Clyde wasn't the normal green-horned human she had heard stories of.

"Good night y'all! See ya tomorrow morning."

Clyde tipped his hat toward everypony and casually walked off into the town. Applejack couldn't resist her mare-ly urges and looked at the man as he walked away. Clothes or not, she could tell he had fit physic and a rather nice "plot." Naughty images popped into her mind, which she quickly tried to shake away.

"Easy now, you ain't no school filly going through puberty. But dang, that's one fine plot he's got!"

Little Strongheart brought her back to reality as she moved her hoof before Applejack's face. The mare blushed as Strongheart asked, "You okay? We're about to have dinner. I doubt you want to stay out here all night."

Applejack blushed and said, "Ye-yeah, Ah'm just gonna go wash up and meet y'all for supper. See you in a few minutes."

As the country mare walked into the house, Braeburn said to his fiancée, "Well, that was fun to watch. And what did Ah tell ya?"

The Buffalo nodded and said, "You were right; he did have that effect on her. We will see if it continues but I'm hungry. So let's eat, and if you're lucky, you'll get something special later."

Braeburn turned to see Little Strongheart briefly flash him before running into the house. The country stallion grinned before walking into the house and saying to himself, "Things are gonna get might interesting around here. Just hope Ah can get mah special desert at least."

The stallion entered the house as the sun set on the western horizon. He was not disappointed at his special meal as midnight came.

The train ride was fun for Arizona but the same couldn't be said for her parents. While neither had ever ridden a train, Arizona enjoyed every second. The Prairie had no rail lines, and all the Cattlefolk traveled by hitching wagons and pulling all they owned. That was changing ever since trade had opened up to the rest of Equis. With the defeat of the predators, Texas organized the re-opening of the salt mine.

With salt being exported, the Cattlefolk were able to obtain money, farming equipment, fertilizer, and new supplies. This allowed towns to be made and farms to be formed. The quality of life grew exponentially, and life couldn't be better. Arizona's actions had not only saved Foenum but she brought fame and fortune to her kind. Her Ma and Pa couldn't have been more proud of their daughter.

And now they could afford trips to Equestria, hoping to build more trade partners. It just happened that news of the International Rodeo spread to Foenum, and the Young cow begged her parents to join. They enthusiastically said yes and wanted to come along with her. They also had received news that Minnesota's sister, Daisy-Jo, would be in Appleloosa with her husband. She also happened to be pregnant and was excited to be a mother like her sister.

While their spirits were high, Texas and Minnesota felt ill on the bumpy train ride.

"Is this train almost there?" complained Texas, "I swear this contraption is taking forever."

The passenger car took a bump and stirred the passengers about as Minnesota said, "Oh my! That was a nasty bump, dontcha know?"

"Oh, c'mon! This is fun! Riding on a train and NOT having to walk forever to get to a place? Yeah, I'll take it."

"I'm sure it's almost over, Pa. That conductor feller said it would only be one more hour, almost an hour ago."

Sure enough, the train started to slow down to stop as it pulled into Appleloosa. Texas gave a sigh of relief and said, "Finally! I can wait to stretch my legs."


Minnesota giggled at her husband and said, "Hungry already? Well, I'll have to make you something after we get to my sister's house. Just control that noise of yours, ya hear?"

The older but still tough bull said, "Huh? That wasn't me, sugar."

Arizona blushed and lowered her ears as she said, "Sorry, ma. That was me."

As the passengers clogging the aisle to leave, Minnesota comforted her daughters. It said, "Oh, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. How's about some loaded cornbread and butter with honey for the both of y'all?"

"Cornbread? Oh yeah! Now that's my speed!"

"Hay, yeah! I like cornbread; I could eat that all day if I could." beamed Arizona.

"It's certainly a meal for good folk, I tell ya what," added Texas.

Another five minutes and the car cleared for the cattle family to leave the train. After collecting their bags, they assembled their take-down cart. It was a new type of cart they had purchased and shipped from Equestria months before their boat trip across the sea. They were lucky to order before it sold out and it had been as sweet as bluegrass once they got it. As the family walked towards Daisy-Jo's home, they took in the sights of Appleloosa. While the sun was setting and getting dark, they were in awe at the country town. It was the model town that they had hoped to build back at the Prairie.

The town clearly showed that it was built with hard, honest work. To make a town in a hard place took guts and spirit, and Appleloosa had it all. While looking at the various shops and seeing the new species walking about, the family spotted the local watering hole. It simply had an image of Salt Shaker, but there was no mistaking what was inside.

"Now that looks like something to check out." said Texas.

His wife would have none of it and put a stop to her husband's plans.

"Oh no, you don't! I'm not having you go in there and go crazy over them salt blocks and booze. We don't need you getting rowdy and getting into trouble."

Texas stomped the ground hard and snorted, "Dangit! I'm a full grown bull, and I can go where I want! Besides, you know I never start fights but finish them!"

Several ponies took notice and backed away from the impressively built bull. Even some nearby male buffalos were uneasy at the strong cattleman.

"That's my Pa! Ain't no creature stupid to take him on! But he does get a bit rowdy getting on the salt and booze sadly."

While Arizona was proud of her Pa, her Ma did have a point. All it took was some poor fool to push her Pa too far, and he'd make flattened grass out of them. No one, not even ponies, should mess with Texas and may harmony have mercy upon any creature that did.

"That may be, but if you want some good ol' Minnesota loving, you'll be on your best behavior, mister!"

And to drive the point home, Minnesota slapped her impressive Holstein-bred rump. It was enough to get Texas to reevaluate his priorities, and lovin' always won out over booze. The bull raised his eyebrow and said, "Hmm, as a free, strong, and independent bull, I choose to go home with you all the time."

Minnesota smirked and said, "Independent? Sure, my strong sugar bull. You made the right choice, dontcha know."

As the married couple nuzzled each other, Arizona was embarrassed at the display of affection. She used her red bandana to cover her blushing and said, "Ma, Pa! Stop that! It's embarrassing. You're making a scene."

The two adult cows laughed at Arizona's blushing as more ponies and other creatures looked at them. Many shrugged or shook their heads while a few mares nearby said, "Aww! Love is so wonderful!"

Arizona lowered her ears, grumbled, and whispered to herself, "Wonderful, my little cow heinie.."

Her mother quickly turned to her and said, "I heard that, missy! Now just relax, ya hear. Someday you'll find love of your own and you'll be acting like us in no time."

Texas snorted and said, "Sure, after I approve of him. My daughter ain't marrying some no good loser bull."

Arizona couldn't take it anymore and was blushing like a red beet. She said, "Can we drop this off and get to Aunt Jo's house? I'm still hungry and don't want to discuss finding a partner right now."

Her parents nodded as Minnesota said, "Sure thing, I just gotta find...Well, darn, I don't know where I'm going or where she lives."

Texas grinned and said, "No big deal, we'll ask around."

The big hulking bull turned to the nearest stallion wearing a stetson hat. Unfortunately, he stomped the ground a little too hard, spoke commandingly, and asked, "Excuse me! Do you know where-"

The stallion panicked and galloped off into the distance, leaving some dust in the air. Texas was perplexed and scratched his head, asking, "What's his problem? Just wanted to ask a question."

While trying to be nice, the big bull still intimidated the next few ponies that came across the cow family. Texas almost blew a gasket at the ponies' lack of courage and decency to give simple directions. Fortunately, Arizona had a better idea and asked, "Pa, maybe I should try asking for directions."

Her father looked at her and sighed before nodding, "Go on ahead. Hopefully, you'll do better than me. Guess I'm too intimidating for my own good."

Just as Arizona was going to ask a pony, something caught her eye. A human wearing a stetson hat and clothes caught her attention. She had heard about humans months ago when their arrival caught the world's attention. A few newspapers made their way to the Prairie, and having little else to do after defeating the Predators, she read up on the humans. She was excited to see one and felt that if any creature would give her family a chance, it would be him.

Arizona did have to admit, she liked his bandana and hat and it was obvious he was a country creature just like her. The way he walked also emitted confidence, just like her and she wasted no time in catching his attention.

"HEY MISTER! CAN YOU HELP US OVER HERE!?" shouted Arizona while pointing a hoof at him.

Several ponies stared at her before walking away, but the man quickly turned to her. He smiled and wasted no time by jogging right over to Arizona. He smiled, tipped his hat towards her, and said, "Good evening, Ma'am. What can Ah help you with?"

"Finally! Some creature that ain't no yellow belly!"

Arizona smiled and said, "Hello, mister, my name is Arizona, and this is my Ma and Pa. We need directions."

Before she could continue, the man hoof-bumped Arizona and said, "Ah certainly can help you with that; the name's Clyde Dallas Ford. But you can just call me Clyde."

After giving her a solid hoof bump, the man did the same towards her mother. "Good Evening to you too, Ma'am. May Ah ask what your name is?"

Her mother replied, "My name is Minnesota. And thank you for helping us out, dearie. No creature here seems to be helpful at all."

Texas snorted and said, "Darn right. Can't understand how they can make a town out here and be so yellow-bellied."

Clyde turned and hoof-bumped Texas. Arizona was momentarily worried when the man and the bull locked eyes. It almost seemed as if the two were vying for dominance or if Texas was trying to see if Clyde was strong. What felt like all eternity, the two finished their hoof bump with her Pa smiling. Arizona was relieved and happy that her father approved of the man willing to help them.

"If my Pa thinks he's a good feller, so do I. He's never been wrong about finding out the strong from the weak guys."

"Heh, nice to see a creature that ain't scared of my stature. The name's Texas, Mr. Clyde."

The man held a hand and said, "Please, y'all can just call me Clyde. I take you're trying to find Mrs. Daisy-Jo's house?"

Arizona, Minnesota, and Texas's ears perked up in surprise as they couldn't believe the man knew exactly what they needed.

"How in all of Foenum could he have known that?" thought Arizona.

Clyde chuckled and said, "Before y'all ask, she and her husband are the only Cattlefolk living in Appleloosa. Ah've helped them out with a few jobs here and there. Also, you look too much like your sister. She told me about your visit a week ago and is mighty happy you're coming to see her. Just follow me, and you'll be there soon."

Before they could say anything further, the man grabbed the cart they had set down and hitched it to himself. Despite the heavyweight, he pulled it without problem and walked toward Daisy-Jo's house. Their jaws dropped at his knowledge and kindness in helping strangers. Arizona shook herself out of her stupor as her parents did the same. The cow family followed Clyde as he led them toward the other side of town.

As they followed him and passed the red clock tower, Arizona thought, "This man sure is mighty nice and helpful...and strong."

Arizona couldn't resist watching the man pull the cart as she looked closer at his body. The clothes failed to hide the outline of his lean but muscular physic. The weight of the cart was no issue to the man as his powerful legs moved. His jeans showed the outline of his muscular rump, which was incredibly enticing to the 19-year-old calf. Despite being a cow, Arizona had no issues dating outside her species. It was extremely rare for cattlekind to date outside their species, and the non-cow mate had to be of a really good character. They also had to receive the blessing of one's parents, especially the father.

Arizona was officially of age to court and be married, but her romance plans were put on hold as the Predators invaded Foenum. With that problem behind her, the idea of courting now popped into her head, seeing the strong man before her. She blushed as she tried to shake such thoughts from her mind.

"Okay, just relax, girl. He's only the first decent guy you've met. No need to go charging like a mad bull."

After another few minutes and they arrived at a very cute, country-looking home. The empty metal milk jugs used as flower pots and the Holstein-decorated mailbox gave it away that it was her Aunt's home. As Clyde set the cart down, he tipped his hat and said, "Before I go, are you going to partake in the Rodeo? Y'all look like the kind who has what it takes."

"Rodeo?! He knows about the Rodeo?!"

"Hay, yeah! I'm gonna join and make my Ma and Pa proud!" Arizona cheered excitedly as she stomped the ground.

Texas shook his head and said, "My youngin', you've already made us proud saving Foenum. Go win it for yourself; we'll be here for you no matter what."

Taking a spare hoof, Texas rustled the hair on Arizona's head, making the young cow blush. Clyde raised an eyebrow and asked, "Saved Foenum? Now that's a story Ah need to hear."

"He wants to hear my story of me being Champeen of the Prairie? And he knows about the Rodeo? I wonder..."

The young cow smiled and thought up a good idea to get to know the man better. Arizona figured he could help her register for the Rodeo and tell her story.

"Oh, you'll wanna hear it, alright. But I'll tell you my story if you can help me get into the Rodeo. I'm unsure exactly where to go or who to talk to."

Clyde smiled and replied, "No problem; Ah'm one of the organizers of the Rodeo, and Ah know the pony you need to meet to get signed up. Just meet me here around...let's say, 9 AM? That ain't too early for you?"

Arizona stomped and cheered, "Heck no, that ain't too early! I'll see you tomorrow morning, Clyde."

The man smiled and winked at the young cow, which made her tummy flutter briefly. She suppressed a loving smile and waved back at him.

"Good night, y'all! Hope y'all get a good night's sleep and say hello to Daisy-jo for me."

As the man walked off, Minnesota and Texas took their belongings and walked to the front door, leaving Arizona in the street. She could hear her parents talk about Clyde, and listened.

"Well, that young man certainly was nice to help us Cattlefolk." said Minnesota.

Texas nodded and replied, "That he was, Minnie. I can tell he's a decent feller, I tell ya what."

"My parents approve of his character? Well, now that's just plain awesome!"

Just as Clyde walked around the corner and out of eyesight, Arizona whispered to herself, "I'm gonna find out more about that hunk of a fella...and impress the hay out of him."

Arizona blushed and smiled before walking to her Aunt's front door. She slept well as she dreamt about winning the Rodeo and spending time with Clyde.

Author's Note:

Hope you guys like it! Team Applejack or team Arizona? Declare your team now!