Jodi Thomas: A Certain Kind of Man

 

A certain kind of man —

Throughout history there has been that certain kind of man—the hero?  The daredevil?  The fool who risks death?  — Who rushes in when other men would have hesitated.

In my writing I often create heroes who fight for what is right, who win battles, who save the day, but there is another kind of man born for adventure. In flight, we call them the barnstormers.  In the Army, they might be the Special Forces who go in when the odds are against them.  And in rodeo, they are the bull riders.

I once did research on pre-WWI pilots. I found that some were gamblers playing with death but most loved the thrill of skating on the razor’s edge. (The book was CHERISH THE DREAM)  These kinds of men are like mountain climbers and people who do extreme sports.

For the past few months I’ve been doing research on bull riders. Just by accident one afternoon I was talking to a man in his early forties who was a fireman. We were both waiting for a play to start. I mentioned that I was writing about rodeo bull riders. He tugged up his sleeve and showed me a long ugly scar running up his arm.

“That’s just one,” he said. “There are others.”

The character in my latest book is named Noah. I watched this fireman sitting beside me and in my mind my Noah came alive before my eyes. All at once this man became an older version of Noah. The fireman might be older and wiser than my young man, but the love for the rodeo was still there.

I watched him move to the edge of his chair as he talked, widening his long legs as if getting ready for the gate to open.

“I started college,” he said. “Into my sophomore year I got to going with a friend to rodeos. At first we rode to pick up a little extra money and for the thrill. Then we got our cards and took it seriously. School became less and less important as I began to ride every weekend. It was almost like a drug. We lived for the ride.”

He laughed and said, “It’s been almost twenty years but I can feel the adrenaline running through my body just thinking about the ride. If I thought I could still ride, I’d be in line to draw a bull right now.”

I kept talking to him because I was no longer in Lubbock waiting for a play; I was talking to my Noah from Harmony, Texas.

Only my Noah is 21 and he’s been hurt for the third time, and this time he’s afraid to climb back on and ride. His dad was a national champion. The whole town thinks he’s a hero living the life they’d all love to live.

Once in a while reality and fiction mix for me and I love it. 

Noah was called Preacher in WELCOME TO HARMONY because when he rode in high school rodeos he got religion. In SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY coming out on Nov. 2, 2010, he’s started riding pro. In my third Harmony book, he’s hurt.

Come along with me and Noah and Reagan’s journey. I promise you’ll fall in love with them and the town of Harmony, Texas.

 

 

 Contest:  In my story Noah rides once using a Suicide wrap.  Leave a comment and tell me your stories of attending or being in a rodeo. If you include the definition of this kind of wrap, you’ll be in the drawing for a copy of SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY.  We’ll draw a winner on Sunday.

And let me know how you like the video.

MANY BLESSINGS,

JODI THOMAS

*************
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 31 novels and 8 short story collections. As of July 2006, she was the 11th woman to be inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. She is also currently serving as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
 You can visit her at www.JodiThomas.com.
Guest Blogger

31 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to read this book. I do love videos of snow and the music is great.

    I have only watched rodeos on television but I learned recently there are local radios near me in North Carolina. When I was on vacation in Hawaii, I found out there were vacations there as well. Everywhere!

    I liked doing the research on a suicide wrap. This is a compilation of what I found:

    Suicide Wrap – A cowboy uses a wrap to wrap their bull rope around their hand usually by adding a twist between the pinkie and ring finger. It is very hard for cowboys to get out of suicide wraps, which is suicidal once they fall off the bull or bronco. They are very dangerous and are not allowed in most rodeos. But I found a number of references saying they were still used by riders regardless.

    Peace, Julie

  2. I absolutely love the cover of your book. 😀

    I have been to only one rodeo in my lifetime and it was in Southern California about 40+ years ago. I loved it and would hae gone to more but never had a chance. I use to watch Mesquite, Texas rodeo on TV when I lived in California and at one time wanted to move to Mesquite, TX just so I could attend rodeos! 😉

    Okay, a Suicide Wrap is a term bull riders use when they wrap the bull rope around their hand. If the cowboy falls off of the bull it is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap and that is the reason it’s called a suicide wrap. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.

    Would love to be entered to win a copy of Somewhere Along the Way. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  3. Welcome Jodi,what a great post,sounds just like my kind of book,gotta put them on my Christmas list for sure!thanks,

    Vickie

  4. I live in Wisconsin and I’ve never been to a rodeo. I’ve only heard about them. The cowboys sound quite agile, courageous and athletic. I think it would be exciting to see.

    1. Suicide Wrap – A suicide wrap is what bull riders use. They use a wrap around their hand to tie it to their bull rope. Suicide wraps are just that – suicidal, since it is very hard to get loose of their wraps once cowboys are bucked off their animal. That is why suicide wraps are not allowed in most rodeos. (author Dustin Williams)

    2)Nonetheless, many riders put an extra wrinkle in the hand wrap. They call it the “suicide wrap.” On the last wind of the rope across their palm, they run the rope between the pinkie and
    the ring finger. (from USA Today article “In bull riding, the bull leads and you follow”)

    I’d love to read Noah’s story as a pro Rodeo rider in Somewhere Along the Way!

  5. thanks for coming by!
    i love your interview with the firefighter…very cool–those risk takers are quite the crew
    all three of your books sound great!
    i love rodeo men!!
    tough and crazy all in one
    i love going…the feeling of pride at a rodeo…pride for your country, pride for yourself and pride in being a man–all in the humblest sort of way

    suicide wrap
    a way to wrap the rope around your hand when riding a bull that makes it very dangerous and difficult to get undone if you fall
    not allowed at most rodeos

  6. Suicide Wrap (Rodeo term) A particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.

    This is a series I will definitely enjoy. the first rodeo I attended was the Pike’s Peak Or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs. The Little Britches rodeos were fun. Was great. We have attended many rodeoes and bull riding events since. I don’t see how the contestants can take the injuries they do over and over again.

    the video is lovely. Made me homesick for winter. I grew up on the Canadian Border and now live in Tennessee. Just not the same.

  7. Unfortunately I’ve never been to a rodeo. A particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.

  8. Hi ladies, Jodi asked that I drop in and let you all know that she won’t be able to check in today until late afternoon, as this is kick off day for her new book. We’re having a brunch this morning with about 50 of her local fans and then a book signing at Sam’s Club. She’ll be excited to know so many folks have already dropped by and left messages. The book is wonderful! She’ll check in later today. Hugs from Texas, Phyliss

  9. Hi Jodi! Noah is my kind of hero! And what a great story about the firefighter at the play–a hero come to life . . . very cool! Bull riding is an amazing sport. I get that adenaline rush just watching. I like the bulls, too.

  10. I have never been to a rodeo in person but have seen them on television and the bullriding looks terrifying just on television. From the internet the suicide wrap is when the cowboy wraps the rope on the bull between his ring and pinky finger making it harder to get free which sounds pretty scary.

  11. Jodi,

    I haven’t been to a rodeo since I was a kid, but I loved it way back then. I had a passion for horses, and even though I was a city girl, I talked my parents into buying me several horses. Those days riding are some of my favorite memories, and gave me a foundation for writing books with a western flavor.

    A suicide wrap is particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.

  12. A particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.

    I don’t think I have ever been to a rodeo unless I went to one when I was a child and I don’t remember it. I think it would be neat to go to one though. I have seen them on TV so I think I would enjoy them.

    Your new books sounds like a fabulous read and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for sharing!

  13. A suicide wrap is an illegal way to wrap the rope around the hand. It makes it very difficult for the cowboys hand to come loose.

    I love to attend rodeos and take pictures. I have the best time watching the action and capturing the whole thing on film. Fascinating. And of course, I love to see men in chaps and tight jeans, but it just gives me more things to write about because I love to write about cowboys

  14. Oh wow I have never been to a rodeo, I would love to. Great blog, I loved the story about the older fireman.

    Suicide wrap is when the rope is around your hand when riding a bull that makes it very dangerous and difficult to get undone if you fall. Not Legal.

  15. I’m also in Wisconsin but when I was younger went to a Rodeo that came to town, enjoyed it alot.

    a Suicide wrap is where the rope is tied to the hand when riding the bull but is very dangerous to get out of to get off the bull. it is against the rules in most rodeos.

    I can see whay they would do this, but not safe at all!

  16. Jodi, welcome back to the Junction. We’re tickled to death to have you. Hope things are going well at your booksignings today.

    I can’t wait to read this new book! I want to know what happens next in Harmony. I’ve ordered it from Doubleday and am very anxious to get it. Your books always touch me in ways I never anticipate. You’re my hero.

    Great video too. Love the snowy background.

  17. I love rodeos. My children started to rodeo in high school. We have gone to semi-finals with them but they never went all the way. They were mostly in team roping. They do it now for fun. (All the time).
    Suicide wraps are used by bull riders for the insane idea they think it makes them stay on better. But when they get bucked off, they can’t get out of it and get hurt very badly. That is why that wrap is banned. And that is why I can’t watch Bull riding. I also wouldn’t allow my boys to bull ride. Bareback was bad enough.
    Would love to read one of your books.

  18. I usually see a bit of the rodeo that comes to our state fair, but this year they were not there… I have seen Suicide wraps being used in movies, but have never been up close to see if the real rodeo cowboys use it… would not want my hand tied down so much that I would not be able to free myself… sounds like Noah is an interesting character to read about!

  19. Hi Jodi and welcome back to the Junction! While living in the Dallas area, I attended the Mesquite Rodeo several times, once in a suite, where there was glass between me and the action and all the other times sitting in the stands. I much prefer being in the stands where you can hear the cowboys and smell the sawdust–and other things. 🙂

  20. Enjoyed the video…and I thought I was cold here in San Diego..it rained today..until I saw the snow in the video. A Suicide Wrap is a particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. Your book is one I’ll definitely read. I’ve only attended a few rodeos when I was growing up…enjoyed all the cowboys and I like horses so for me they were good things.

  21. Enjoyed reading about your book. Sounds like a good story. The Suicide Wrap is an unusual way that the bull riders make when wrapping their hands for holding onto the bull rope. It is against rules in most rodeos since it is very hard for the rider to get out of if they fall off.

  22. I can’t wait to start reading this series. I haven’t been to a live rodea but I have watched them on T.V. I just finished reading a book about a bull rider and a bull fighter(the one that chases the bull away from the rider) and learned there about a suicide wrap. The bull riders would use them to twist around their hand to hold onto the bull. In this book luckily the rider didn’t use one because he got bucked off and still couldn’t release his hand till the bull fighter got in close enough to release his hand. Loved the video the snow looked so pretty.

  23. Actually I’ve never heard of a suicide wrap or ever seen a live rodeo. I love reading about these kind of men but I wouldn’t be able to handle one in real life. I’m too much of a worrier. That’s one of the main reason I love reading so much, it takes me where I wouldn’t dare go myself.

  24. A suicide wrap is particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal

    very good trailer.

    I have been to many rodeos – indoor ones and outdoor ones. I even made it to the Calgary Stampede rodeo once. A bull got loose and out of where it was supposed to be and ran to an area where a small child was swinging. Talk about tense moments but all was well after all was over with.

  25. Jodi,

    The cover of your book is awesome! I love all your books I have all but the one here today
    I have attended rodeos in Payson and now in Globe AZ. The one that amazes me the most is the one held at the Apache Gold Casino. It is remarkable.

    Now for the term Suicide Wrap that is a particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope aroound their hand. It would be hard for the rider to get out of so in modern day it is against the rules.

    Thanks Jodi for such an interesting post

    Walk in harmony,
    Melinda

  26. I’ve never been to or involved with a rodeo;

    however a # Suicide Wrap A particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.

    thanks
    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  27. One of my brothers-in-law “rodeoed” when he was
    young and my husband was a fan of the sport.
    We attended rodeos in our county and, of course,
    attended the annual Houston Fat Stock Show and
    Rodeo. Honey loves the bronc and bull riding
    competitions.

    In the suicide wrap, sometimes using a Brazilian
    braided rope, the rope is tucked between the ring
    and pinky fingers. This makes it more difficult
    to release the hand when the rider is bucked from
    the bull and endangers one’s life.

    Pat Cochran

  28. I love the cover. I live in a small town that has an annual rodeo and I’ve been going for years. I’ve read all your books but somehow missed Welcome to Harmony. I’ll have to get that one and this one very soon.

  29. love the cover of your book…i have not had the opportunity to attend a rodeo…at least not yet 🙂

  30. Ack forgot to give a definition – I looked it up and as the others have said “Suicide Wrap (Rodeo term) A particular wrap bull riders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand. It is very difficult to get out of a suicide wrap if the cowboy falls off the animal. This wrap is against the rules in most modern rodeos.”

  31. Loved your story about the fireman at the rodeo!! Although I live in Texas and have been to rodeo since I was a young girl, I’d never heard of a suicide wrap, so I’ll have to say it’s all those things the other “posters” say! We used to go to small county fairs when I was much younger and I always loved the clowns, now called bull fighters I guess. We just thought they were funny without realizing what a valuable service they were providing for the cowboys. Since I live in Cowtown (Fort Worth) I occasionally go to the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo and the Mesquite Rodeo. I’m half way through Somewhere Along the Way and absolutely love it! Pick up Welcome to Harmony and read it first–you’ll enjoy them both. Somewhere Along the Way is Jodi’s best book so far, in my opinion. Have fun living in Harmony!! Pat

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