Give Me a Cowboy and the Rodeo

For Christmas my wonderful son-in-law bought tickets to the PBR in Wichita, Kansas, which will take place in a couple of months.  This isn’t the first bull riding event he’s taken me. They are all a treat and brought to mind the backstory to my $.99 eBook release of the first book in the Kasota Spring Romance series The Troubled Texan. Since this contemporary series takes place several generations later than one of the six Texas anthologies I was fortune enough to be included in with Fellow Filly Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, and the late DeWanna Pace, Give Me a Cowboy, about a Texas Panhandle rodeo in the late 1800’s, I decided it might be fun to give you all a glimpse into how we developed this book. Without it, there would be no Troubled Texan.

Typically, the publisher matches up authors in a short story collection or an anthology and each author writes their own story based on the house’s criteria. In our case, our editor matched the four of us up and all but this one book had a theme and each of us wrote an individual story.

For our second book, we tried something different. We decided we’d all intertwine our stories around one rodeo.  This was really gonna be fun and challenging, so we got together and went through all of the historical facts. The first date chosen had to go because there was no rodeos in the Texas Panhandle until the summer of 1888. Our story changed dates to the 4th of July 1890. The Pecos, Texas, competition occurred on July 4, 1883. One thing about historical writers, particularly writing about your home town, you must stay as authentic as possible.  So we needed the name of a fictional town.  I was coming back from Dallas, and looked over and low and behold there was a railroad crossing a few miles from Amarillo … West Kasota.  In the 1800’s seemingly everything had a Springs attached, thus Kasota Spring, Texas, came to fruition.

Now for the next problem, since there were only four official events in the rodeo at that time, we all had to select one for our story.  We were sitting around the work table.  Jodi and Linda selected their events, so that left DeWanna and me.  I’ve always loved bull riding. Although it was an unofficial event, taking place somewhere far away from the rodeo grounds, we decided to include it.  I’d really been watching and studying up on bull riding because I had a fantastic story in mind or at least that was how I saw it.  Well, guess what?  DeWanna was the next in line to select; and, of course, what did she choose but bull riding and the reason, her brother was a bullrider!

I tried not to act disappointed when the only choice left was wild-cow milking!  Yes, just like today in our rodeos. The reason was simple, the ranches had to bring in the mama cow to take care of her youngster who was participating in calf roping.  Eventually, someone came up with the idea that if they hauled both mama and calf in why not make an event out of it … so I got wild cow milking.

To tell you the truth, I think my scene in the rodeo was so much fun to write.  It rains, so my hero and heroine who were undesirably teamed up, really got to know one another by the end of the scene!

In The Troubled Texan I borrowed, with her permission, several of Linda’s character’s families as founders of Kasota Springs.  Two pioneers out of my stories I truly loved were Teg Tegler and Edwinna Dewey (from the Christmas anthology). Here is a picture I took at the Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas, a few years ago. This couple is exactly how I envisioned Teg and Edwinna.  I know it’s okay to use their photo, since I got their permission and they asked me to autograph my stories to them as Teg and Edwinna!

The fictional Teg’s great-grandson works on the Jack’s Bluff ranch in The Troubled Texan and Edwinna’s great-great granddaughter lives in Kasota Springs still and has a book of her own as heroine that’s under contract.  It’s so much fun for me to write about these folks and their dreams.

How about a few fun facts about the rodeos of the 1800’s.

  • Before the 20th century, rodeos were called “Cowboy Competitions.”
  • Bragging rights for an entire year were at stake.
  • Cowboys tuned up their horses, shook the kink out of their ropes and made final decisions on who mugs and who milks.  That was my story. My hero did the mugging and my heroine did the milking in the rain.
  • Today, the cowboy winning events earn huge purses; however, in the original rodeos, they won a small purse and blue ribbons from the trim of a girl’s dress or bonnet.
  • Jail cells were used as boarding house rooms, since even prisoners were let out of the hoosegow for the rodeo.
  • The opening was full of “speechifying”, but the crowd never let it last very long.
  • They had chuck wagon competitions, just like today.  Fares included beef, potatoes, biscuits and bread pudding.
  • There was a lot of music competition.  Singers and pickers: guitars, fiddles, and poetry.
  • The oldest cowboy in the area always had the honor of shooting the pistol to begin competitions.
  • There were no rules that governed the rodeo, like there is today. The grounds were typically near the railroad and/or stock yards, because the main street was needed for parades and competitions.

When the evening was over, usually after a dance, everyone climbed aboard creaking buckboards, dusty buggies, and faithful horses and scattered to resume the tasks of their normal lives and to work on their skills for next year’s competition.

My question to you all, do you like rodeos and what is your favorite event?

 

To five lucky winners who leave comments,

I am giving away copies of the eBook

The Troubled Texas!

 

Phyliss

A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.


Visit her at phylissmiranda.com


Updated: February 27, 2017 — 8:03 pm

20 Comments

  1. Hi Phyliss, what a great post! I loved the historical tidbits as well as how your multi-generational stories tie together. The picture of “Teg and Edwinna” is priceless. xox

    1. Oh my gosh Tanya, you’re up late! Thanks for stopping by and reading my too long blog. I forgot to change the font and size! Ouch. Teg and Edwinna were the nicest folk around. I couldn’t believe when I asked who to autograph the anthology to and they said Teg and Edwinna. We truly had fun, and challenges, doing an anthology in the same town at the same event. There was so much we had to decide before writing: who was the sheriff; the weather; and of course the design of the town. I remember the saloon was Flats and Slats. Again thanks for stopping by. xox back atcha!!

  2. I really enjoyed your post today and learning how you get together with other authors to write the anthology.

  3. Hi Janine. Thanks for stopping by. I’m thinkin’ but not certain that few authors get the opportunity to write six anthologies with the same four ladies. I thought the readers would enjoy seeing how we came together for one theme. I hope you have a great day. Big hugs, Phyliss

  4. Hi Phyliss! I thoroughly enjoyed your post! My favorite part of a rodeo is bull riding. In fact, for many years, my husband and I made it a point to go to ” Bull’s Night Out” at the Ft, Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. If you are ever in the area, this is not to be missed! We have also witnessed a Wild Cow Milking and what a sight to see….cowboys running, grabbing, falling down….a crazy madness and a hysterical delight to watch.

    What a great book you ladies have put together and I would absolutely love to read it! Thank you for the opportunity. Hope you have a great day!

    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for stopping by. Another bull riding lover, gotta love ya, huh? I’ve been to the PBR in Arlington Stadium, but although I was born and raised in Texas, I’ve never been to the state fair or the Ft. Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. Definitely will be added to my bucket list. Maybe they’ll have it on TV one of these days. I love the Ford Built Tough PBR series best. As I learned more about Wild Cow Milking, I really got interested in writing that scene. My heroine has a tiny milk bucket for the time and with all the slipping and falling, she can’t get enough milk to the judge and has to start over. It was really fun. You’re definitely in the drawing and if you already have “The Troubled Texan”, I bet I can fix you up with “Give Me a Cowboy”. Have a great day.

  5. Hi Phyliss! I loved this post and getting to know more about the “story behind the story”! Isn’t it fun to work with other people on projects like this? Growing up, I remember only going to the rodeo one time–I know, unheard of for an Oklahoma girl! I’d gone to visit my cousin, Kim, who is a week older than I am. She had three brothers, and a rodeo came to town, so my aunt and uncle took us all–and guess who we got to see? LARRY MAHAN! Oh, my gosh. He was in his prime, and Kim and I both fell instantly in love. Yes, I think we must have been all of 10 years old, but he was “the man” and we thought he was devastatingly handsome and daring. LOL

    Best of luck on all your writing projects, but I know this one is especially dear to your heart. One of these days, I’m hoping to see something else of yours cross MY desk at PRP!

    Big hugs and congratulations!

    1. Hi my friend and sister filly, Cheryl. Good to hear from you. I’m glad you enjoyed the story behind the book. I know as a writer and editor, you understand the challenges. My Valentine’s story from your house is also on sale at Amazon, so I’ve been promoting it, too. I hope all of the readers will fill up their carts with collections I’ve been a part of and all of my individual books. I can’t believe you’ve only been to the rodeo once and you are an Oklahoma gal! I love Larry Mahan … Hall of Fame bull rider. We have a ton from Decatur, Texas, and some around this area, too. Thanks for the best of luck, I sure plan on doing more for PRP when I get caught up to where I can slip in a short story. I love to write for you all, but have a contract to honor with Kensington, as you know. Also, have two graduations coming up, one from Midwestern here in Texas and the other in California! Take care of yourself and big Texas hugs … go to a rodeo!

  6. Just leaving a comment already read the book. Rodeo’s were so much more fun 20 years ago not to say they are still not fun to watch.

    1. Thanks, Kim. Glad to hear from you and sure happy you’ve already read the book, but I bet if you win I can fix you up with something else. I agree with you about Rodeos being more fun years ago, but they are so much safer now. Even in this book I’m finishing up, the local bar has pictures of famous bull riders, stock contractors, and big wrecks. For non-rodeo folks, a wreck is a buck off that puts the rider, bull fighters, and even the bull in jeopardy. They are breathtaking for sure. Thanks again, Kim. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  7. Interesting post, Phyllis. Wild cow milking, wow. I had no idea. And I had to smile when I saw the character name Edwinna. That was my mom’s name, and it was spelled with the two “n”s. I almost never see anyone spell it that way. It’s usually with one “n.”

    1. Hi Trish, one of our newest Fillies! I’m glad to hear from you. I wasn’t very knowledgeable on wild cow milking but during research, I found it fun. The last rodeo I attended, they had wild cow milking. It’s always fun to discover a family name in a book especially when it’s your mama’s. How much fun. Frankly, it’s not a family name of mine, so I’m not sure where it came from. Oh yeah, I remember … it had to have come from your mother! Right? I read some of our stories and find so many family names it’s unreal. Trish, again, thanks so much for dropping by and taking time to read and leave a comment when I know you’re a very busy lady. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  8. Wild Cow milking!!! That is hilarious. We love rodeos here, but that might be because I am a farm girl and love all things country. 🙂 Lovely post with lots of info about the beginnings of rodeos.

    1. Thanks, Susan P. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. Oh yeah, farm gals like rodeos and cowboys. Just part of the life. I love rodeos, so the next time you go, see if they have wild cow milking and let me know if they do in your neck of the woods. Take care and a big Texas hug, Phyliss

  9. Wow, what a wonderful post. I learned so much because I’ve never been to a rodeo. I also enjoyed hearing about the anthologies, all of which are on my to-buy list except the one I have. What a terrific group of writers. I can hardly wait. Thanks again for such an enjoyable post.

    P.S. Please don’t enter me in the contest since I don’t have an e-reader.

  10. Thanks, Eliza, for leaving a comment; and certainly glad you enjoyed learning more about the rodeo of yesteryear. If you get an opportunity to go to a rodeo, don’t miss the chance. It’s so much fun. Thanks tons for buying any of the anthologies. If you can’t find a rack size printed one, let me know. I’ll try to scrounge you up one. Take care and a big Texas hug, Phyliss

  11. Hello Phyliss, I loved your blog and I loved the anthology Give Me A Cowboy, it was my 1st book I ever read of all of you & fell in love with it. Rodeos, I grew up in a rodeo atmosphere. I participated in barrel racing, pole bending, & breakaway roping (my favorite event). So therefore, Calf roping has and will always remain my favorite event. So much time, practice, & talent goes into this event. It’s actually a team sport as the roper and horse have to work together in tandem to have a perfect run or an amazing outcome. Thank you for a wonderful blog. I downloaded The Troubled Texan and can’t wait to read it, even more so now that it is tied in with the anthology books. Love & hugs, Phyliss, have a great day.

  12. Phyliss, I’m sorry I didn’t get over here yesterday. I really enjoyed writing those anthologies and I still remember well how we plotted our stories and mother/daughter characters (Tempest and Alaine LeDoux) in the car coming back from Red River, New Mexico. And how we tossed around ideas and named the Jack’s Bluff Ranch. Fun times!

    As always wishing you much success and love.

  13. Haven grown up in Stephenville, Texas, yes I love rodeos. My favorite event to watch is bull riding. I love many of the events though, I have friends and family that have been bull riders, bronc riders, barrel racers, tie down and team ropers.

    1. We have certainly been honored as being The Cowboy Capital there in Stephenville, Texas. And coming from a rodeo family myself, it is been a great honor that our hometown was given this title and if no one believes it, just watch the NFR every year more cowboys and cowgirls from Stephenville, Texas than any other town is represented. This was a wonderful little article, I’m glad you saw it and commented on it too, Stephanie we are both proud Stephenville, Texas gals.

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