Bareback Riders and Rodeo Romance

I love a good rodeo. It’s true.

In fact, I love rodeos so much, I have a whole series of books that’s about… you guessed it – Rodeo! 

In my latest release, the hero in the story is a bareback rider. 

If you aren’t familiar with the sport, bareback riding is much like it sounds. There’s no saddle. No pad. 

 

The cowboy is basically trying to stay on the back of thousand-pound wildly bucking horse holding onto his leather rigging. The rigging greatly resembles a suitcase handle attached to a strap, which is placed on top of the horse’s withers and secured with a cinch.

Some say bareback riding is equivalent to attempting to ride a jackhammer with one hand. Bareback riders endure more physical abuse, suffer more injuries, and sustain more long-term damage than all other rodeo cowboys.

 

To compete, when the horse and rider bust out of the chute, the cowboy’s spurs must be touching the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s feet hit the ground after the initial move out of the chute. This is called “marking out.” If a cowboy fails to keep his spurs in position, he is disqualified.  The bronc bucks and the rider pulls his knees up, rolling his spurs up the horse’s shoulders. As the horse comes back down, he straightens his legs, returning his spurs over the point of the horse’s shoulders, anticipating the next move.

 

A qualified ride requires more than just strength. The cowboy is judged on his spurring technique, the degree his toes remain turned out while he’s spurring, and his willingness to take whatever comes along during the ride. 

 

In Keeping Christmas, Gage Taggart is a bareback rider on his way to making the national finals. He rides a motorcycle, has the world on a string, and is sure of his future… until a freak accident leaves him at the mercy of his best friend’s sister who just happens to be a nurse. 

Here is an excerpt from their first encounter in the story: 

There was no way on earth or beyond she was going behind the chutes. The last time she’d done that had cured her on rodeos and rodeo cowboys for life. She had no intention of repeating the experience. The very thought of going back there left her thoroughly disturbed.

She sent a text to Gage, telling him to meet her near the ticket booth. It was only after she hit send that she realized she should have mentioned she was the one there, not Trevor.

Gage would figure it out soon enough, she supposed.

She leaned against the corner of the ticket booth, out of the way, and watched the faces of those coming and going. Through the crowd, she caught a glimpse of a face that looked familiar as a cowboy jogged her way.

Tally sucked in a gulp of air, unprepared for how much Gage had changed since she’d last seen him in person. The boy she’d had a crush on had morphed into a very handsome man. His dark brown hair was shorter, his shoulders broader, his body a finely-tuned machine of muscle. She noticed a scar on his right cheek that hadn’t been there before, yet it only added to his rugged appeal.

But his eyes were the same magnificent shade of blue, and his lips still appeared incredibly kissable. When he looked at a little girl wearing a pink tutu over her denim overalls, his grin kicked up the left side of his mouth just as she remembered.

He didn’t appear to have gotten taller than his already six-foot height, but he looked stronger and more capable than he had all those years ago.

Tally noticed several women eyeing him as he made his way through the crowd. He didn’t even seem to notice them as he scanned the faces, no doubt searching for her brother. She stepped away from the ticket booth and headed toward him.

She tried to catch his eye, but he looked right past her, as though she didn’t exist. Not that it surprised her. Guys like Gage weren’t interested in girls like her — girls who would never be mistaken for a model, had brains in their heads, and held to an unyielding set of morals.

Nope. There was nothing about her that would be of the slightest interest to a cowboy like Gage.

Tally waited until she was standing directly behind him to tap him on the shoulder.

“Gage Taggart,” she said in a voice she used to subdue unruly patients. He jerked and turned around to stare at her.

She could see him struggling to pull her identity from his memories. Insulted he hadn’t yet figured out who she was, someone jostled into her and she bumped against Gage. Something electric and completely unexpected arced between the two of them. Tally wanted no part of whatever it was and moved back.

Eager to get the torturous errand over with, she held the gear bag out to him. “Trevor sent me with this.”

“Where’s Trev?” Gage asked, taking the bag and looking around like her brother might suddenly materialize. “Who was I texting a minute ago if it wasn’t him?”

“That would be me. I’m sure you don’t remember, but I’m Trevor’s sister.”

“Tally? You’re little Tally?” He held his hand down near his waist, indicating the height he thought she should be.

She nodded and Gage broke into a wide grin.

“You were always such a cute kid with those big gray eyes, sturdy little legs, and chubby cheeks.” He reached out and playfully pinched her cheek. “You haven’t changed a bit. Aren’t you like, fifteen, maybe sixteen?”

 

For a chance to win a digital copy of Keeping Christmas, please share one thing that is bringing you joy today. 

Shanna Hatfield
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.

57 Comments

  1. My husband and kids bring me joy! Looking forward to reading your book!

    1. Thank you so much, Joy! And so happy to hear your hubby and kids bring you joy. Have a fabulous day!

  2. My pets bring me joy and a lot of love. 3 pitbull mixes and a border collie mix. All are rescues of one kind or another.

    1. Oh, how fun, Jerri! We had a Border collie dog and just loved her so, so much. That is awesome you rescued them all. What a great thing to do. Enjoy your pups and have a beautiful day!

  3. I’m going to Plains, KS on a dairy inspection and then I’m meeting up with Author Jessica Elliott who also writes with you in the Romance Anthology books. I’m so excited to see her again. It’s a small world. I met you through Facebook and discovered Jessica through you, then to find out we live about 50 miles, as the crow flies, across country From one another. So that makes me very happy today! Love you dearly Miss Shanna and loved loved Keeping Christmas. Phenomenal book.

    1. Have a great time with Miss Jessica, Tonya! Hope you have a good visit. And thank you for reading Keeping Christmas. Love and hugs to you!

  4. Reading one of your books is bringing me a heart full of joy. I also will see my Grandson today that is a wonderful wonderful joy. Talking to my Dear Bestie Tonya this morning is also a joy.

    1. Well, your day is off to a grand start, Glenda! <3 Thank you so much for reading my books and sharing your joy with me and others! Have a fabulous day!

  5. Avatar

    I love rodeos! The books I read in your rodeo series have been awesome reads! I’m currently reading Keeping Christmas and I’m just now at the “good part”! I’m loving it, as I always do your books! It’s always been funny to me that most people think that bull riding is the most dangerous of the rodeo sports and they call bull riders crazy. I often think that those people do not truly know much about rodeos but of the fact that Bronc riding is actually more dangerous. I know Ty Murray, a retired bull rider, and I also know Charlie Farrar, a retired bronc rider. They both a little crazy but Charlie looks a little worse for the wear. Lol

    1. Hi Stephanie! So glad you are enjoying the rodeo series, and Keeping Christmas! Yay!
      It’s so true about bronc riders bearing so much physical abuse to their bodies. How fun you know Ty and Charlie!
      Take care, happy reading, and have a spectacular day!

  6. Something that is bringing me joy right now is Miss Kiki sitting on my lap. She only sits on my lap while I am on the computer in the winter when she is cold, so I enjoy it while I can. She keeps my legs warm too.

    1. Hi Janine! So fun you have a lap and leg warmer. 🙂 Have an amazing day!

  7. Good morning Shanna! This morning we got our first snowfall of about an inch. It is so pretty outside. The deer are enjoying the pumpkins I smashed in the woods for them to eat. The house is quiet and I love this time of day. This book looks so good. As always … your books are delightful. Loved the pictures you included in your blog. Thank you! Blessings on your day.

    1. Hi Kathy!
      So neat you fed the deer your pumpkins. I bet that snow made everything lovely. I like seeing it as long as we can stay home and not drive in it.
      Thank you for your kind words about my book.
      Enjoy your quiet house and have a beautiful day!

  8. My family brings me joy. Right now we have a four month and a five month baby in the family and they are such a blessing.

    1. Oh, my gracious! Those babies must be such fun for you all. Enjoy the blessing of them and have a beautiful day!

      1. Family & books bring joy. (The family doesn’t understand why I read so much but … oh, well…).

  9. My family and cat brings me joy but today I am happy its not snowing and I can go to town to do my shopping. Its very cold but not snowing.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you don’t have snow and can make it to town to do your shopping. And that is wonderful your family and kitty bring you joy! Have a fantastic day!

  10. Rodeos are amazing. I cannot believe what some of the riders can do

    1. They are amazing athletes! Thanks for stopping in today, Debra!

  11. The last 2 days have been sunny at least but very cold (single digits) and today is supposed to be above freezing – YEAH!! don’t enter I loved reading this book!

    1. Glad it is sunny and hope you get warmer weather today! Stay warm and take good care. And thank you so much for reading Keeping Christmas!

  12. Shanna, I love your post! That excerpt really drew me in. Wow! Love how it ended. 🙂 What gives me joy today….being alive and in good health. God is really merciful to me. I’m in a beautiful new apartment, have my computer up, and internet is running. Lots to put joy in my heart. 🙂

    1. Hi Linda!
      Glad you are getting settled into your new place and have your computer up and going. I’m so happy for you as you begin this new chapter in your life.
      And thank you – so pleased you liked the excerpt!
      Have a beautiful day!

  13. My kids, husband, cat, and all the wonderful things we can do in this world like read a book

    1. I love that, Erralee! Thank you for stopping in today!

  14. My big loving family brings me joy! Enjoyed this excerpt from your book. Can’t wait to read it! Hope you are having a blessed day!

    1. Thank you, Ruth! So glad you stopping in today and so glad your family brings you joy!

  15. I am an in home caregiver for the elderly. About 90 percent of my clients suffer from dementia. It really brought me joy when my client picked up her flute, was able to put it together and was able to play a little music on it.

    1. Oh, Lori! That is amazing! My mother has dementia so I know it really is about those little moments of joy!

  16. My pets always bring me joy!

    1. Awesome, Colleen! Thank you for joining us today!

  17. So interesting!

    My present from my parents for my 18th birthday is pet hedgehog that brings me joy.

    1. Oh, how sweet, Abigail! Enjoy your sweet little pet!

  18. My kids bring me joy
    Thanks for sharing with us

    1. Hi Linda!
      A great reason to find joy! Keep on enjoying them!
      Thanks for popping in today!

  19. Today, specifically, what’s bringing me joy is we’re getting a cold front!!! That means we are FINALLY out of the upper 80’s!! We’ll be in the upper 60’s, low 70’s for our high today, tonight we’ll be in the upper 50’s or low 60’s, and I’m loving the cooler weather weather!!! I’m in FL, and a native, but most people here are transplants and like it hot all year. Other natives also like it warmer, but I’m ready for the cool down!! I’d like the temps north of me, which were 40’s this morning.

    1. Trudy, your reason for joy gave me a grin. It is so cold and foggy and drizzly here today, I smiled as I thought about your “cold front.” Sending thoughts for cooler weather your way!

  20. The friends the Lord has placed in my life bring me great joy!

    1. Love hearing that, Caryl. May you always have many good friends around you!

  21. I had some volunteers helping me at my job today, and I really loved the chance to chat with them and the help they brought.

    1. That is so awesome, Carrie! Many hands make light work (and lighten the heart). Have a lovely evening!

  22. My baby granddaughters are bringing me joy. They are each under a year old.

    1. Oh, how fun, Cheryl! Enjoy those sweet little angels!

  23. Life in general brings me joy! I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear and food to eat! I have darling granddaughters and my parents are still alive! My husband has a good job and we have great health insurance – so much to be grateful for!

    1. I love your attitude, Valri. So happy you are counting your blessings. Have a beautiful holiday season!

  24. I just finished cleaning my parents’ house today, and I’m happy to help them out since they’ve done so much for me.

    1. Oh, how sweet of you, Lynette! What a great thing to do for them! I remember when my mom and her sisters would all descend on my grandparents house and clean it in the spring and autumn. Always a fun time to get together.

  25. My son. Two years ago he was diagnosed with a disease and the medication he was on wasn’t working. He lost 60 pounds in 3 months, its was scary. He started a new medication and it worked for 1 year then it stopped this year. He is on his third medication and so far is doing great. He goes every 6 weeks for his infusion of medication and doesn’t complain. I am so proud of him.

    1. That is wonderful, Vicki. Sending healing thoughts and hoping his recovery continues!

  26. I won tickets to a local country concert!

    1. How fun, Cindy! What a neat thing to look forward to. Enjoy!

  27. Family together, a nice hot pot of chili and not having to leave the house on a cold day. Just commenting, as I have already purchased and read the book. It’s another great book Shanna.

    1. Thank you for reading the book, Wendy! So glad you enjoyed it.
      Yum – chili sounds good. I’ll be right over. 😉
      Enjoy your family around you and stay warm!

  28. My 8-month-old cousin who I nanny is bringing joy today (as well as the warm woodstove in our kitchen!).

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