Read a Book, Help a Cowboy

What do a cowboy, a snowstorm, and a delayed flight have in common? 

Pour yourself a cup of tea, take a moment to relax, and I’ll share a little story with you…

Picture a bitterly cold December wind blowing snow so hard you can barely see your hand in front of your face let alone far enough to get in a vehicle and drive somewhere.

This was the scene my husband (better known as Captain Cavedweller) and I encountered one December day as we prepared to leave on a much-needed vacation. We’d been planning to drive across the state to our destination, but with the blizzard-like conditions, we couldn’t see any wisdom in traveling in the horrible weather.

Rather than stay home, though, I convinced CC to go to Las Vegas to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. We’d always wanted to go and had just never got around to it. Since flying somewhere was the only way we were leaving town, it made perfect sense to switch our plans and take the impromptu trip.

As we arrived at the airport the next day, we noticed more cowboy hats in the crowd than just CC’s. And when we landed in Las Vegas, there were cowboy hats (and cowboys) everywhere! Each December, the city of Las Vegas takes on a country vibe as the rodeo comes to town, bringing with it hundreds of vendors, thousands of spectators, and a whole lot of fun.

On the return trip home, we arrived at the airport and discovered our flight was delayed.  Gradually, we made our way through a sea of cowboy hats to our gate. While CC read the newspaper and impatiently jiggled his boot-covered foot , I observed those milling around. As I watched cowboys pass by, some in a rush, others walking with a distinctive swagger, my ever-active imagination began to take over.

Since so many of the cowboys who compete professionally spend a good deal of time traveling, I began to wonder how many of them flew from one rodeo to the next. If they were flying, it seemed like a strong possibility that they might meet a girl at an airport who turned their head.

I began jotting down notes for a story idea and by the time we reached home, The Christmas Cowboy (Rodeo Romance, Book 1) was born.

The fifth book in the Rodeo Romance series, Chasing Christmas, released last week. Each book in this series features characters tied to the rodeo (a saddle bronc rider, a steer wrestler, a rodeo photographer, a stock contractor, a barrelman, and now a bullrider). All of them are sweet romances full of laughter and heartwarming holiday cheer (and cowboys, did I mention cowboys?).

But more than the fun stories and hunky cowboys, this series set me down the path of helping the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.

While I was writing , I included a scene where the hero is hurt at a rodeo. I began to wonder exactly how much medical attention a cowboy could receive at a rodeo and how bad injuries would have to be before he was taken to the hospital.

I reached out to an amazing organization — the Justin Sportsmedicine Team. In 1980, two gentlemen developed the concept of a mobile sports medicine system that would provide medical support services to professional rodeo athletes. Today, the Justin Mobile Sportsmedicine Centers can be seen at arenas across the country. Rodeo athletes who are injured while competing are assured of receiving immediate and expert care through these centers.

The program director kindly (and patiently, so patiently) answered my many questions. Through him, I learned about a program called the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. 

Rodeo athletes say it isn’t a matter of if they get hurt, but when. So when the inevitable happens and they sustain catastrophic injuries that prevent them from competing for an extended time (leaving them without a paycheck), the JCCF steps in and provides much-needed assistance.

After learning about the organization and impressed by how helpful and kind those I’d spoke with had been, I decided to donate to the cause.

This is the fourth year for my Read a Book, Help a Cowboy campaign. Now through December 24, I donate ten percent of my book sale proceeds to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.

So if you’re thinking about holiday gifts, I hope you’ll think about giving a book! You can find my releases in digital, paperback, and audio formats, including .


For a chance to win a digital copy of The Christmas Cowboy and Chasing Christmas, answer this question:

What’s one thing that made you smile today?

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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

37 thoughts on “Read a Book, Help a Cowboy”

  1. It’s early yet, but the one thing that made me smile this morning was waking up with my dog laying next to me in bed watching me. He usually gets up with my husband but this morning he stayed with me. 🙂

    Cindy W.

  2. Good morning Shanna- Well I’ve had two great smiles on my face this morning, first one was while reading about Crockett, your bird dog extraordinaire, your book Farm Girl is just so hilarious. Second is your kind heart and what you’re doing to help The Justin SportsMedicine Team. My love for Rodeo and the men and women who are always on hand to help the injured cowboy and cowgirls are in my opinion the greatest in the world. So thank you for your support in this organization. I’ve been buying your books because, well I just love your humorius writing, but I also want to help give to these wonderful men and women who keep the competitors on their destination. Happy Early Thanksgiving, Love and hugs and thanks for loving our fellows cowboy & cowgirls.

    • Good morning, Tonya!
      Oh, you are so sweet, dear lady! Thank you so, so much for supporting my efforts to help the JCCF. And for reading my books. That Crockett – he was quite a dog. 🙂 So glad you’re enjoying the crazy stories from my youthful adventures on the farm.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!
      Love and hugs!

  3. It’s only just 5 a.m. and I just finished this blog so this blog is what made me smile so far today! I love that you help the Justin Cowboy Crisis Relief Fund. I have family and friends that rodeo. Begin a Texan and being from Stephenville, Texas I’m very aware of this program. I have a niece that her and her husband are currently a heading and healing team. They have day jobs so it’s not their bread and butter but they are good enough to make to the National Finals! God bless you for helping this fund. I just started reading a year ago October aftee decades of not having the time and concentration to read. I’m now about to finish up my 89th book. I’m so happy that my dear friend, Tonya Lucas, introduced me to your books! I’m half way finished with The Heart of Clay and I love it! I’d love the opportunity to read another of your books! I’ll share this blog on my Facebook page and let all my Texan and Stephenville, Texas friends know you support the JCCF and hope I can get some sales for you!

    • How fun about your friends and family (especially your niece and husband) being involved in the rodeo! So awesome!
      I’m thrilled you have started reading again. That is fantastic! Books are such a wonderful way to go an adventure or have your heart touched (or laugh out loud). Enjoy all the reading adventures to come and thank you for reading Heart of Clay! 🙂
      And thank you so much for supporting the JCCF by sharing this info with those you know! So appreciated!

  4. This blog made me smile this morning it’s so amazing what you are doing for the JCCRF and very generous of you to do this. Makes me want to go get all your books

  5. This post made me smile. I can just imagine seeing the sea of cowboy hats at the airport. I had no idea about the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. I am happy they are there to help cowboys out in their times of need.

  6. Love your blog, Shanna. The thing that made me smile was seeing your Rodeo Romance books on the screen and knowing that part of the sales goes to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. Those guys need a lot of help when they get hurt and have no insurance. I don’t think any company will insure them. Congrats to Chasing Christmas! Love that cover!

  7. I’ve been to a theatre today and saw a play about a woman, a mother, with Alzheimer desease. I shed some tears, but there were also moments where I could laugh. Although it is a terrible desease, we have to keep on smiling!!

  8. Thank you so much fort your post Shanna, I never heard of the JCCF before your post. What a wonderful organization to get them the medical help they need and other needs. Being from the east coast, born & bred is probably why this was the first time I read about it. I’m certainly going to spread the word to family and friends. Your Rodeo series sounds awesome.
    Carol Luciano

  9. What made me smile was a Deer, I’m assuming it was a doe, day before yesterday, my husband and other men around here are out for Deer Season, so this smart deer comes right across the road from my house, it stayed in an open field just by the highway and ate the pretty green grass, while all the deer hunters were looking for it or other deer. I just stood and watched, went as close as I could get to take a picture. It was fun watching it.

  10. What made me smile was a Deer, I’m assuming it was a doe, day before yesterday, my husband and other men around here are out for Deer Season, so this smart deer comes right across the road from my house, it stayed in an open field just by the highway and ate the pretty green grass, while all the deer hunters were looking for it or other deer. I just stood and watched, went as close as I could get to take a picture. It was fun watching it.

  11. What’s one thing that made me smile today???

    At 5am when the trash truck arrived and my 3 dogs had to be sure to alert me of the fact someone in a noisy, light flashing truck was messing with our stuff. 😉

    It was better to smile as I opened up the door to let them bark outside instead of grumble. 🙂

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