Back in the late 1800’s when rodeos first started they were called Cowboy Reunions or Cowboy Competitions. They were rarely called rodeo until after the turn of the century. Plain ol’ cowboys came from all around to compete in these. They were fun and they allowed cowboys to get together, let off some steam and renew acquaintances, hence the name of the affair.
Every August here in Wichita Falls we host a similar kind of thing that we call the Texas Ranch Roundup. It’s where all the competing ranches sign up for events that feature just ordinary, everyday cowboys. There are no professionals allowed.
Some of the participating ranches are the Waggoner Ranch founded in 1851, the Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company established in 1883, the JA Ranch (1876,) the Tongue River Ranch (1898,) the Moorhouse Ranch (1900,) and the Spade Ranch. The area has a rich and storied ranch history that is imbedded in our way of life and we’re very proud of our heritage.
But, back to the Texas Ranch Roundup. Each event awards points for the top hands and they go toward a combined total at the end of the rodeo. The ranch with the most points at the end is declared the winner. No money is involved; simply braggin’ rights. But those cowboys are very serious about winning. They’ll risk life and limb just to be able to be called The Best.
The events are things cowboys normally would do around the ranch. There is no bull riding event because cowboys don’t generally ride bulls when they’re at work. Here are a list of the events of the Roundup:
Wild Cow Milking
Chuckwagon Cook Off
Arts and Crafts
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In GIVE ME A COWBOY, the new anthology I have coming out in February with Jodi Thomas, Phyliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace, all our stories take place during rodeo week on the Fourth of July Independence Day celebration in 1890. All four stories are set in Kasota Springs, Texas and because they’re sort of interconnected they were challenging as all get-out to write. The heroine of mine is the mother of Phyliss’s heroine so you can imagine the difficulty of coordinating our stories.
My story, Texas Tempest, is a humorous adventure between a tough gritty gunslinger and a lovely widow who’s seriously husband-hunting. Tempest LeDoux simply has the worst luck in keeping a man. In rides McKenna Smith and they’re immediately thrown together because of the rodeo.
Of course, McKenna has no desire to become another notch on Tempest’s bedpost. He’s content with the freedom of single life.
But Tempest doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. Life has given her a raw deal and she’s fighting tooth and nail to get a husband that won’t up and die on her. She’s already buried five good men and that’s five too many. Now she’s looking for someone tough enough to become husband number six and stick around long enough to help her mend a broken heart!
When the tall lonesome gunslinger named McKenna Smith rides into town, Tempest knows he’s the one for her-if only she can rope him!
With their annual Fourth of July Rodeo about to start, she’s terrified he’ll get it in his stubborn head to sign up for the bronc riding since he has quite a reputation for taming the beasts. She’s terrified he’ll get killed before she has a chance to convince him to give up his dangerous ways. Fortunately, love and fate have a mind of their own. All it takes is a little Texas Tempest to get things going the right way toward a happy ending.
GIVE ME A COWBOY will arrive in bookstores in February. I know that’s months away, but I hope everyone will mark the release date on your calendar. It’s already available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s websites for pre-order.
So ladies, round up those doggies! Have you been to a rodeo? Do you have a favorite rodeo event? Do you like reading western romance books that have rodeo themes? Or maybe you have other events in your area that showcase your history and would like to tell us about it. I’m all ears. I’m giving away a copy of “Give Me a Texan” to one lucky winner.
And don’t forget to register for our Sizzlin’ Summer Stampede of Prizes that’s in full swing!! There’s a link on the left side of the screen.