Neal Pollack

Three years ago, I entered my first Golden Testicles competition. What did I know about anything? I grew up on a ranch that was actually a farm, 50 miles from the nearest town, and 75 miles from the nearest woman born after 1950. All I had was my package. 

In retrospect, the day that commuter plane caught on fire and the country's leading Testicle Scout was forced to parachute onto my family's property was the most important one of my life. I liked to work the fields naked. Who didn't? He took one look at me, produced a contract from his smoking backpack, and my fate was gelded. 

When I got to Cheyenne, I was stunned to realize that I wasn't the only big-balled country boy around. My mama had always told me I was special, but suddenly I beheld a locker room full of guys rubbing cream on their nuts. Some of them were even shaving. I couldn't imagine doing that. 

"Hairy and free," my papa said to me on the day the wolves devoured him, "hairy and free." 

It was a normal rodeo, except that we were all naked, and they weren't judging us on how well we did rope tricks, or rode the bulls. All they cared about was how our nuts held up to the pressure. I guess mine did OK, because when I whipped off my chaps for the first time, a clown fainted.

After two days of grueling competition, they handed me the trophy. Suddenly, I had agents and show promoters in my face, offering me hundreds of dollars, and a freelance reporter from a magazine called Harper's wanted to interview me. 

But instead, I returned to the farm, and a simple life, without electricity or pavement. Now I'm feeling the tug of competition again, and not just because the government foreclosed on our property to build a detention camp for illegal immigrants, causing me to move to Denver, where I rented a room at an SRO hotel, which was subsuqently torn down to build condos for Nuggets players to live in at halftime of home games. Sure, I'm poor. But this is about pride. 

Since I last entered, the Testicular Rodeo world has exploded. It's now featured on ESPN2, albeit at 3 AM on Sunday mornings. And there are sponsors. My future is uncertain, but my talent is clear. And I have a theme song, sung by AC/DC, about my outstanding physical gift. 

 The rodeo world will tremble once again when those loudspeakers play Back In Black.


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