His name was Robert Brenner, Bob for short, but most folks around Ford’s Knob just called him Bull.
Short and thick, with muscles like bands of steel, Bull was the strongest man in the county. Or at least that’s how Brady the Kid had heard it told.
As the legend went, Bull once worked for the railroad and single-handedly created Vulture Pass when dynamite couldn’t crack the rock. Tied one end of a rope around his waist and the other end around Antelope Peak, then pulled the whole thing a mile west.
Judging by the looks of the man, Brady tended to believe the tale but never thought he’d witness such a display first-hand.
That was before.
Then came the spring rains and the flash flood that trapped Victor Robson and his horse down in Bleak Hollow. The poor beast was up to his flanks in mud before the outlaw could even snap the reins.
Brady had just managed to get his own steed moving before the earth turned liquid, and he watched the spectacle from Vengeance Ridge.
“Vicious” was the nickname the locals had given Robson on account of his dastardly deeds, and Brady couldn’t argue with the moniker. If it had just been the scoundrel wallowing down in the muck, The Kid might have turned a blind eye.
But he couldn’t stand to see an animal suffer.
So he rode Wildfire west as fast as the horse could muster, hoping to fetch the only man who might help.
Half an hour later, Brady was back on the ridge, watching Bull work his miracle down below. With one final heave on the rope, the ball of muscle flung Vicious and his horse out of the mud pit and landed them a hundred feet onto dry land.
While Bull bent over, hands on knees, to catch his breath, Vicious mounted his ride as if nothing unusual had happened. He casually rode up the incline and looped around to Brady’s perch.
“I told you my dad was stronger than yours,” Brady said.
“That was nothing,” Vic said, waving a dismissive hand. “It’s just a tricycle. My dad once pushed an entire car all the way up a mountain.”
The Kid was just about to reply when Bob stepped between the boys.
“You better head on home now, Victor,” he said. “It’s getting late.”
“Alright, Mr. Brenner.” Victor rode off down the block.
“And we’d better get inside, young man,” Bob said, turning to his son. “Your mother has dinner ready, and we both need to clean up.”
They turned and walked up the cement pathway.
“That’s ‘Bull’ to you, son.”