Cowboy Fever and Rodeo Fun

This week, we’re celebrating Cowboy Fever. I’m pretty sure I’ve been infected since I was old enough to walk.

I love cowboys, rodeos, and the country way of life.

Growing up on a farm about twenty miles from the closest town (population around 1,000), we generally took our excitement anywhere we could get it.

Each summer, I eagerly anticipated our small town’s biggest event of the year – the Fourth of July Rodeo.

Back in those days, it was a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned rodeo. Some of the top names in the circuit would join hundreds of rodeo fans for four days of rodeo, events in the park, a parade through town, and the annual Suicide Race (a crazy horseback race down a steep butte, across the highway, through the river, and into the rodeo arena).

Our whole family looked forward to the celebration. My oldest brother regularly rode in the Suicide Race and a few cousins competed in the rodeo. My dad, brothers, and many cousins participated in the parade.

For a horse-crazy little girl who loved the smell of leather and the sight of cowboy hats, it was amazing. From an early age, I had a romance with the rodeo (and cowboy fever!).

One of the few stores we had in town was a saddle maker with a boot shop. When I was five, my dad took me to Leroy’s shop to pick out a new belt for the rodeo. It was the first time I could choose my own. Talk about excited!

As we walked inside, the welcoming aroma of leather filled the air. Dad led me to where Leroy worked on a saddle at the back of the shop and they talked a few minutes. Impatiently waiting to get down to the business of picking out my belt, they finally told me to go see what I could find. My gaze – and heart – immediately settled on a hand-tooled belt with little flowers stamped into the leather and a silver buckle with a gold saddle that glistened in the overhead lights.

I still have that little belt today along with my love of rodeo and cowboys.

I suppose that love is what inspires so many cowboy heroes in my stories. It’s awesome to write about modern-day ranchers in my Grass Valley Cowboys series, and about rodeo cowboys in my Rodeo Romance series. I also get a kick out of writing about cowboys in the old West. I think lawmen of yesteryear must be one of my favorites, since this coming Thursday I’ll release Lightning and Lawmen, my fourth story with a hero who works as a lawman in a rowdy western town.

How did a simple hello turn into something so complicated?

Love is about to leave one lawman thunderstruck in this sweet historical romance!

 Cultured and full of grace, Delilah Robbins agrees to accompany her meteorologist father to his new post in Baker City, Oregon. Expecting a primitive place, she’s delighted to discover an up-and-coming town with plenty of surprises as well as a place she can turn into a sanctuary for her beloved birds. As she settles into life in the western town, she unwittingly creates a riff between two deputies when they both fall for her charms.

 Deputy Dugan Durfey only meant to extend a friendly welcome to a newcomer. But the moment he set eyes on the meteorologist’s delightful daughter, Dugan’s heart was no longer his own. Since his best friend and fellow deputy suffered the same fate, Dugan struggles to do what’s right. He’ll fight jealousy, outlaws, and a wily raccoon to keep Delilah safe, but the greater battle lies in overcoming his fears to profess his love.

Filled with humor, adventure, and plenty of sweet romance, Lightning and Lawmen highlights the history of the era and blends it with the timeless feelings of discovering true love.

To enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card, answer this question:
What’s one special summer memory from your childhood?

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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.

52 thoughts on “Cowboy Fever and Rodeo Fun”

  1. One fun memory from childhood was going to Tennessee each summer to visit my grandparents. When our visits happened around July 4th, the “wagon train” would come through. It was fun to watch. It died out sometime in the 80s–not sure why. I think it may have been related to the bicentennial at one point and just ran its course.

  2. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories.

    I guess mine is growing up in a family of musicians. Although my dad was born in the northeast, he always played and sang in a country band, and my grandfather (born in Oklahoma) was a fiddler. My dad was always at the center of informal backyard parties, in addition to all the outdoor country concerts we went to see as a family since I was a baby.

    Two later favorite memories are with my mom this time: to take her to Newnan, Ga., to see where Alan Jackson grew up, and to her first ever live Alan Jackson concert back home. She always loved him from his first album and every single one thereafter. Need I say he was her favorite? I miss my folks terribly but am so grateful to get to share some happy memories with you. Thank you.

    • Hi Eliza,
      That is so awesome you had musicians in your family. I always thought it would such fun and it sounds like it was! So sorry your folks are no longer with you, but so grateful you have sweet memories of them. Thank you for sharing some with us today. <3

  3. My favorite memory is at the Texas Cowboy reunion where my dad Roped every year. It’s a week long event and we camped out and would take cold showers in the horse trailer ( which actually felt good in the Texas Heat) and it was truly a reunion of all the Rodeo family’s my parents hung out with. It was fun being with all the other kids our age and jumping on horses and having our own adventures. I miss those days. We went 15+ years in a row. Thanks for letting me venture back to my childhood for a while. ?
    I am loving Lightening and Lawmen, your best Historical to date. ?????!!!!

    • That sounds like such a fun thing to see, Tonya! So awesome you got to go so many years in a row. I bet it was like connecting with beloved family each time you were there! And yay! So glad you are loving the book! <3

  4. A favorite childhood memory was always going to my grandparents on July 4 where also other aunts, uncles and cousins would gather and we always had a big cookout. I sure do miss those days!!
    I am Loving Lighting and Lawman it’s a wonderful book!! Have a blessed day !!!

  5. Mine was 4th of July celebrations. Growing up on a military base, I saw some amazing celebrations – not just fireworks but picnics and games.

  6. When I was little and we still lived in New York, I remember the beginning of summer meant we would take a drive to the mountains and have a picnic.

  7. Lovely memories!! I grew up on a dairy farm, so I love everything country. I remember always trying to go to the rodeos when they came through. They were so much fun!

    • Hi Susan!
      Nothing like a little rodeo entertainment to break up the summer work! We had dairy cows, too, until I was just old enough to start helping milk. Perfect timing for Dad to sell them! 🙂

  8. Hi Shanna. I grew up in a small town also and the county fairs were the highlight of our summers. There were carnival rides, a horse show on Friday and Saturday night and the exhibits for both 4-H and Homemakers. It was usually held around the 10th of July so this was a chance to see classmates that I hadn’t seen since school was out. Fun times and good memories!

  9. My favorite childhood memories actually belong to the state of Kentucky. Hard to believe considering I’m a Texan through and through. Kentucky held the final summers of all six of my siblings and my parents all being together. We lived smack Dab in the middle of main street in a very small town. Having five siblings that had a spance of eighteen years we were the go to home in town. Not to mention we had a large house that had a huge game room for when indoor play was needed. For those of us that were too young to drive sitting on our rock wall in front of our house was a hot spot in town. The road was on a lower level than the wall so it was a fun place to sit and watch all the older kids cruise the drag. So many great memories in the little town of Marion, the summer we moved back to Texas, my oldest sister and brother had married and stayed there so it was our final place that we all lived together.

  10. going camping with my family ( not in a camper but sleeping under the stars with nothing over us)

  11. That sounds like a good story. Two guys struck on the same gal.
    One fun thing I did when I was a child–my friend, her cousin, her brother and I walked up an ankle deep creek to discover a big white clay spring with really cold water. We were scared of the cows that were in the field. We made it back even with the quick sand or sink holes in the creek.

  12. One special summer memory from my childhood is probably going camping and picking wild huckleberries. Then we would make huckleberry pancakes or something else yummy. 🙂

  13. Shanna, I know what you mean about cowboy fever. I remember very vividly when I got my first cowgirl hat and boots. Urban Cowboy was showing at the theaters and I had a huge crush on John Travolta. Shortly after that, I rode a mechanical bull in a nightclub and what fun! Of course, the guy running it didn’t make it go very fast. What memories.

    I have to say that your cover is stunning! I love those graphics and the title. Wow! Very, very nice.

    • Hi Linda!
      Oh, that’s fun about your first hat and boots and Urban Cowboy. LOL! So fun! I bet you do have amazing memories from then!
      And thank you so much about the cover. It’s one of my favorites!

  14. My favorite memories… visiting my grandparents and helping with their garden… they grew corn, green beans, lima beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and rhubarb… I always enjoyed visiting them.

  15. I love your article. I’ve loved cowboys all my life too and I was determined my daughter would also. She resisted until she was eight years old and I finally told her she was going to a rodeo. She was a goner from then on and barrel races now.

    One of my favorite memories was gardening time. When the vegetables came in, all the neighbors would get together to help each other put them up. I miss those times. People sure don’t help each other like that anymore.

    • Hi Linda!
      That is awesome your daughter barrel races! Love it! And how fun you made her go! 🙂 Putting up all that produce was such a job. Many hands make light work, right? I miss the days when my mom and aunts would go to my grandma’s to spend the day cleaning or canning. You’re right – people just don’t do that like they used to.
      Thanks for stopping in today!

  16. My special memory is about the beach house we had in San Clemente.
    My sister, brother & cousins loved going Grunion running late at night with our Dad’s. It was a blast, chasing the slippery things up & down the shore. The parents had a fish fry the next day. Yuck!! Then we disappeared. Thanks for helping me remember the special times!! ?

  17. Great picture. I grew up in NJ so every summer we hit a beach town down the shore. When your a small child it ‘s a wondrous magic walking the boardwalk, playing games, the rides and giveaway he foods you look forward to. We have such a huge family and everyone met down the shore. Beautiful memories.

  18. What a great blog. I love rodeos! Texan, yep. Thanks for a great blog that brought back many memories. What a perfect blog to kick off our special week and thanks for gettin’ us all in gear with your blog. The memory of rodeos from growing up are many; however, the newer ones are those that bring me to tears. My wonderful son-in-law who lives outside of Wichita, Kansas has bought me tickets to the PBR when it comes to Wichita. He drives to Texas and picks me up and we go back to Kansas. My daughter, my precious SIL and granddaughter all hit the rode for the PBR when it’s time. Now isn’t that a perfect SIL? Sometimes I refer to him as my son because his mother, who I knew well, passed a few years ago and he treats me like a treasure. I love the family he and my daughter have made together. Again, Shanna, thank you for kicking off our Cowboy Fever week. Big Texas hugs!

    • My gracious, Phyliss! He should get the son-in-law of the year award. He sounds amazing! So awesome you have a special “son” in your family. Just love it! And love that you do the PBR! Yay!

  19. From age 6 to 15 every summer was special because we got to spend 2 whole months in maine near a lake in a real cabin that my paternal grandparents owned. Swimming, eating out doors, picking wild blueberries, raspberries and black berries.

  20. I loved being at the lake as a child. Momma made my favorite fried lake taters. Swimming was top entertainment.
    As a tomboy, I had cap pistols and later on, a BB gun. I always wanted a “live, hairy horse”, all I got were stick horses. My girlfriend had barrel racing horses. A weekend at her house was always fun. I played baseball, football and wrestlin’. As I got older, I found out boys were more than teammates. I missed out on the cowboy life being a city girl. But, I love cowboys. You can tell the genuine vs the wannabes. It is not just their appearance. But, tight fitting jeans and a good cowboy hat will make me swoon no matter their age.

    • Yum to the fried taters! How fun you got to spend time at the lake and hanging out with good friends. And your comment about jeans and boots made me grin. 🙂 Thanks so much, Jerri Lynn!

  21. It’s hard to pick just one, because we always had great driving/camping vacations all around California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Oregon. One camping trip that I will always remember fondly was at Sequoia. We were in a campground that had rangers that did a program each night and I still remember the jokes and stories they told, though I was probably no older than 6 or 7 at the time.

  22. Growing up in Northwest Missouri in the summer and Kansas City Missouri during the winter I always listened to the the Grand Old Opry and dreaming of cowboys. When I was 21 i moved to California and got my first boots and western belt. From that day forward until I turned 50 ish and couldn’t wear my boots anymore I was as country as a California gal could be. Love those memories. I try to keep up with the rodeos as much as possible. Thanks Shanna for writing another great book to keep us entertained.

  23. Going to a Small local-ish Amusement Park Conneaut Lake Park
    When we wete little it felt like it was hours away now it’s 45 mins away
    I don’t know how they moved the whole park closer ??

  24. In August the carnival came to town. On Wednesday evening there was a kiddie parade. All the children got dressed up in different ways. Also thete was a bike and wagon decorating contest. Once i was the safety bug. My mom and sisters made a papermache bug head for me to wear. I wore a green leotard and green tights. I passed out safety lollipops along the parade route.

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