The next day, with only two hours remaining before the start of the bareback competition, the first of the day's rough-stock events, Murray still hadn't announced whether he would ride. He was in the training room at the arena, lying on a cot, his leg hooked up to a muscle stimulator and ice packs taped to his knee. If he rode, he might win another $50,000 in go-round money and perhaps $25,000 from the so-called average pools that are divvied up among the top riders in each NFR event. And he still had an outside chance of winning the saddle bronc. But Murray couldn't bend his knee to spur, and if the doctors shot his knee up with enough painkillers, he wouldn't be able to feel his leg to walk.
Colin Murnion, a bareback rider who was sitting on the next cot, icing down his wrist, asked Murray if he could ride. "Nope. Doesn't look like it," said the Kid.
"Nope. I guess you gotta feel it to know why. It's sore as a mother and about that big."
Murray made a shape above his knee the size of a football. He turned away from Murnion and blinked several times. Then he turned back and said, "You know what, though? I'll bet they have one of these things next year."
Outside the training room, Butch Murray got the news that Ty would not be riding. One cowboy after another came past to ask how Ty was doing. Butch told them Ty was all right, nothing was broken, but no, he couldn't get on his horses or his bulls. "He's doing the right thing," said Duane Howard, one of the PRCA judges.
"Sure he is," replied Butch. "He's blue as hell, but there'll be more rodeos to go to."
A crowd walked past just then, so that Howard had to raise his voice to be heard. "There'll always be more rodeos to go to," he yelled, "but there won't be no more Tys."