Ride ‘em, Cowgirl
Carly Baron, the heroine of my August romance release, has upheld her family’s time-honored tradition of rodeo by competing as a barrel racer.
Writing Carly’s story made me curious about the origins of women in rodeo.
The first professional organization was formed in San Angelo, Texas in 1948 by a group of women who established the Girl’s Rodeo Association. In 1981, the organization was renamed the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. According to its website, the WPRA is “the oldest women’s sports association in the country and the only one governed entirely by women.”
The organization originally stemmed from the efforts of thirty-eight cowgirls who came together to create a fair and competitive environment for women in rodeo. Their number nearly doubled to the seventy-four members who established the organization that is now more than twenty-five hundred strong, with members in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In the sport of barrel racing, three barrels are set up in an arena, and a cowgirl and her horse perform as a team to complete a circuit around the barrels. They’re working against the clock—a stopwatch measuring their time down to a hundredth of a second. Their goal is to complete a cloverleaf circuit in the shortest time possible…without knocking over a barrel, which would result in a penalty.
Barrel racing is a test of speed and control and is a testament to the cowgirl’s dedication to her sport. That dedication can be handsomely rewarded as, in annual competitions across the country, barrel racers vie for millions of dollars in payouts.
During her story, Carly faces conflict with the bull-riding-champion hero, her first love, as well as within herself. She mistakenly ties her growing restlessness to her feelings about her family’s tradition.
Once, she had thought she would never get enough of barrel racing, of the thrill of commanding her mount, honing her skill, adding rate. But since she’d left the ranch, with each year that had gone by, her interest and enthusiasm had waned by ever-increasing degrees. Though her eyes stayed on the prize, the motivating spark was gone.
And she needed a spark. A lure. A challenge. She needed something to make her feel whole again.
Like her dad, she needed a reason to get up in the morning.
There is a history of women bull riders, too, beginning in the late 18th century.
A hunk of metal had nothing on a real live, stinkin’, snortin’, stompin’ bull.
Heart in her throat, Carly fought to keep her butt on the bull she intended to ride. The animal her brothers used for riding practice wasn’t having any of that idea. Her hundred-twenty-plus-pounds in jeans and sturdy boots were no match for twelve hundred pounds of playful bull.
Twister flicked his heavy haunches and tossed her as easily as Anna tossed greens for a salad. Carly landed in the dust of the arena, splat like a thrown tomato. Again.
After today’s short session with Twister, every muscle in her body seemed stretched like a worn-out rubber band. Worse, every bone felt like it had been worked over with an off-duty branding iron.
I’ll be honest. That scene was not written from personal experience, and you’ll never find me on the back of a bull! But I tip my Stetson to any cowgirl—or cowboy—willing to go the distance in the sport of rodeo,
Barbara hopes you’ve enjoyed this brief look at Carly Baron’s story. She is offering both a giveaway of an autographed print copy of The Texan’s Little Secret and a second giveaway of her previous title, Rancher at Risk. Two winners’ names will be drawn from comments left here at the blog (US & Canada addresses, please).
The Texan’s Little Secret can be purchased from the following sources (Just click on the name for the link!):
Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Books-a-Million – Harlequin – Powell’s Books – The Book Depository – IndieBound
Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara writes romances—usually with cowboys, kids, and a touch of humor. Her previous title is Rancher at Risk, and she’s excited to share that her current title, The Texan’s Little Secret, has just been released.