Rodeo Song: If You Have to Ask (Rodeo Fever)


Okay, so a song about rodeo fever is hardly original, right? Still, I’m betting few if any songwriters have bothered to pen verses describing the various injuries any rough stock rider learns to take in stride….


If You Have to Ask (Rodeo Fever)
Copyright 2015 by Fred Baker

If you have to ask, you’re never going to really know
Why a cowboy will ride in that rough stock rodeo
Me, I got off easy; I never got hurt real bad
A few busted ribs, concussions, and that one down lung I had

The heart is smashed on over to a new spot in my chest
But I can walk and talk and my brain still works; so I’m ahead of all the rest
Ordinary bumps and bruises and groin pulls do not count
When you’ve got another critter to crawl down on and it’s one of the better mounts

Banged up shins so swollen, the needle has to drain ’em out slow
Hurry up, sawbones, there’s 800 miles between here and tomorrow’s show
A knot on my ring finger from a rigging built too small
One cracked kneecap, but that was on the ranch so that does not count at all

I’ve been gored between the shoulders, used my jaw to hit one bull’s horn
Caught a rock with my chin in the arena but I was crazy from the day I was born
I lost a few friends along the way but I remember each one with a smile
Nobody’s surprised when you pay the price after traveling that extra mile

I know at least two men who won world championships after suffering a broken neck
It takes a lot to stop a rodeo cowboy from earning just one more paycheck
We talk about rodeo fever that keeps a cowboy tied to the wheel
If you have to ask you’ve never had it, but I can tell you the fever is real

(–meter change–)

My skull on the right near the temple is caved in just a little bit
A typical rough stock example, not near enough to make anyone quit

5 thoughts on “Rodeo Song: If You Have to Ask (Rodeo Fever)

  1. I am sure glad my sons never got into rodeo. The bangs and dents they have from auto crashes are bad enough. Rodger and his arthritis from breaking one leg in three places and making the muscle n his shin dance, because it was originally on his calf. David and his aching knees and ankles from his goofing around and spraining them so bad.

  2. Becky: I get that. Fortunately for me, I don’t really have anything that bothers me on a daily basis from my rodeo days, but I know a lot of people who do–or who aren’t around any more at all.
    Sha: The list in the song is actually pretty mild for a serious rodeo contestant….and the total number of critters I straddled in the arena over an eight year period added up to no more than 600 head. A truly hardcore rider looking to win a world championship, going down the road (or flying between rodeos) might get on that many in a single year. But yes, the fever is real–and it’s not that I “had” it; I still have it. It’s not something that goes away.

  3. Hi, I have read a book titled Ptolia, did you write that book? I really enjoyed it and hoped there would be more. I think I may have met you in South dakota. Thank you.

  4. Hi, Sue. Yes, I’m pretty sure we met in South Dakota, and yes, I did write Ptolia. There is a sequel, Dwagelia Rises, though it’s long out of print. I self published that one and got fewer than 1,000 copies into circulation. It was published in 1992. A few years ago, you could find a couple of copies for sale on Amazon, but no more.

    That said, I just checked and do have a handful of copies left here at home and could spare one of those. If you’d like to read it, feel free to check out the Contact page above and drop me an email.

    I never did get around to writing the third book in what was originally intended to be the Ptolia trilogy.

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