by Anne Carrole
Buy links: Amazon * The Wild Rose Press
RTW: Thanks for joining us today, Anne. Please tell us about your book.
AC: Re-Ride at the Rodeo is about saddle bronc rider, Clay Tanner, who is looking for some diversion when he spots a tempting little blonde at the rodeo named Dusty Morgan. She looks like she could use a good time--only she turns him down. Feeling like he’s been bucked off before the eight second buzzer, Clay’s betting he can score if she’ll give him a re-ride. But qualifying may call for more than he’s prepared to give.
Details at the end of this article
RTW: What aspect of rodeo intrigues you the most? How did you work that into Re-Ride At The Rodeo?
AC: I think it is the camaraderie amongst rodeo contestants that intrigues me the most. Most saddle bronc riders are best friends with other saddle bronc riders, and you’ll find that amongst all event contestants. For some it’s a family affair as with the Wright brothers in saddle bronc riding and the Cooper clan in tie-down roping.
As a result, rodeo cowboys help each other out, lending a vest, rigging or whatever if someone is in need. They travel with each other, they cheer each other on, even if it means that they will land out of the money, and they give each other pointers on how to ride various horses or bulls. Rodeo cowboys view the horse, bull or steer in their event as their competition rather than each other.
In Re-Ride at the Rodeo, Clay’s best friend is a bull rider and they are very close, maybe too close since they are initially interested in the same girl.
RTW: What is your background in rodeo and what sort of things did you research for this story?
AC: My sisters were barrel racers and, yes, we have rodeos in New Jersey. In fact, my hometown hosts a yearly rodeo and because it is small you can meet and talk to the cowboys, who are unfailingly polite. I just love being called ma’am. (You can view pictures from this year’s rodeo at on my Facebook page. Click on the photos tab).
New Jersey, in fact, is involved with rodeo more than you might expect. In southern NJ, Cowtown rodeo goes on every weekend in the summer and this year Atlantic City held its first ever Pro Rodeo which I was thrilled to attend since it attracted NFR caliber rodeo cowboys. And if you think New Jersey doesn’t have rodeo cowboys, well two team ropers from New Jersey beat out a couple of 2010 NFR finalist team ropers to win that rodeo’s event. If you know where to look, you’ll find rodeos, and cowboys, even on the East Coast.
Having followed rodeo over the years, my favorite event is saddle bronc riding because it has its antecedents in ranch life and the first rodeo event ever held. In saddle bronc riding I’ve been a fan of Cody Wright and enjoyed watching on TV as he won the NFR in 2008 and again in 2010. He has a little brother, Jesse Wright, who might just beat his big brother this year.
In saddle bronc riding a cowboy has to mark out when the gate opens which means his boots must be above the horse’s shoulders and held there until the horse’s feet hit the ground or else he will be disqualified. The cowboy must hold onto a rope with a single hand and his other hand cannot touch any part of the animal or saddle.
In saddle bronc riding it is not just about staying on, however. You have to look good doing it and that means spurring in rhythm with the animal--hard to do when the horse is bucking and twisting underneath you. Saddle bronc riding techniques are the hardest to learn, they say, but once learned, you never lose it.
I’ve been bucked off a horse myself a time or two so I know the feeling of slamming into hard ground.
RTW: Um, so do I and it's not pleasant. What’s the biggest misconception about rough stock riders? Give us your take on circuit cowboys.
AC: The biggest misconception about rough stock riders and rodeo cowboys in general is that they make a lot of money. Once you figure in all the expense and investment, even the top earners don’t clear a lot in proportion to the risk.
|Saddle Bronc Saddle|
Then the cowboy has to look the part. Those Stetson hats that we writers like our heroes to wear can cost between $150 and $200 though you can get a wool one for less and a fancy beaver one for a lot more. Boots? A good set of croc boots could set you back over $400--and they laugh at city women and their Jimmy Choos! Then you’ve got to add spurs which can go from $35 upwards, depending on how fancy you want to get. Chaps can add another $300 more or less. Cowboys may laugh at women for the price they’ll pay for a pair of designer jeans and high heels, but cowboys know a thing or two about paying for quality.
There are entries fees at every rodeo which, depending on the size of the rodeo, can average about $300 per event. Sometimes the purse a cowboy is riding for is supplemented by the rodeo producers, particularly at the larger events, but frequently they are only playing for a cut of the entry fee pool. Due to the number of cowboys entered and the caliber of the stock, most of the time they don’t win.
Travel expenses are added on top of all this and are getting more expensive with each fill at the gas pump. Rodeo cowboys can travel over 100,000 miles in a year if they are covering the National circuit (instead of a regional circuit). Most travel is by car or truck. To save on gas, cowboys usually carpool two or three to a car. With gas going so crazy, it’s now more like four or six if they can all cram in.
Then there’s the issue of sleep, if you aren’t driving all night to the next rodeo. This is when it’s good to have friends in a town but if not, you’ve got to spring for a hotel room which you’ll generally share with those same guys you car pooled with. Now you know why rodeo riders are a tight knit group. In close quarters like this, there’s no room for dissension. There are several cowboys who blog while they are on the road so you can get a feel for what life is really like. Rodeo riders have to love the life because they aren’t doing it for the money.
My character, Clay Tanner, has a problem finding a room for the night when he comes to Wayback, Texas and he’s hoping Dusty can solve that problem for him. Dusty, though, doesn’t fall for slick lines meaning Clay may have to sleep on hard ground.
RTW: Why is Clay perfect for Dusty? How did these characters formulate in your imagination? And were they easy or stubborn to bring alive?
AC: At first, Clay and Dusty don’t seem suited to each other at all. Dusty’s late father was a rodeo cowboy and because he was away from home riding the circuit when she was growing up, the last person she wants to get involved with is another rodeo cowboy who will be living on the road. Independent and no-nonsense, Dusty wants the white picket fence and the guy who is home at six.
Clay‘s competitive and driven and he’s not interested in hearth and home. But the fact that Dusty seems indifferent to his charms intrigues him to the point that he makes a bet with a friend that he can get her to notice him.
Though they have opposite views of the future, Dusty and Clay find out they share a common bond in the past having both lost their father at a vulnerable age, leaving Dusty with trust issues and Clay with commitment issues creating a few twists along their road to happily ever after.
As a character, Dusty was a challenge because she was wounded deeper by her father’s absence when he was traveling the rodeo and the finality of his early death then she first let on to me. That made Clay have to work a lot harder for her trust—only to lose it at a critical juncture.
Clay doesn’t know anything is missing from his life until he experiences a real relationship, and then he doesn’t know what to do about it. Initially clueless, Clay is a fast learner.
RTW: Please lead us into your excerpt.
AC: This is the scene where Dusty and Clay first meet.
A few people scurried by, Coke and popcorn spilling from their hands. Dusty wiped the perspiration from her face and stole a look at her reflection in the shiny metal of the fountain.
She hated wearing her hair up. It was long and, when clipped on top of her head, it was heavy. She squinted at her blurry image and readjusted the loosened clip.
“Personally, I’d take it down.” The unfamiliar voice was rich and husky, its deep timbre sending a little shimmer through her.
Taking time to get the clip right, she turned around. A tall, lean cowboy with slate-blue eyes was giving her the once-over. His lips curved into an unexpected smile. The sexiest she’d seen in awhile. A long while.
Staring into those clear blue orbs framed by dark lashes too thick to be wasted on a man, threw her a little off-kilter, like her knees would give out any second. Years of being a waitress had taught her how to school her features into an expressionless stare, even as his gaze traveled from her face to her waist and back up again. He lingered at her small chest for an extra split second. About all the attention most men thought it was worth.
How many?” she asked in her most business-like voice. No way would she let him see he’d had any effect on her. That handsome boyish face, shaded by a black Stetson, no doubt had left countless broken hearts along the way and was used to unbalancing women. He wouldn’t get any satisfaction from her.
“How many times have I taken down a woman’s hair?” That smile became lopsided. Those eyes sparkled. And her heart skipped a beat.
RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?
AC: Just thanks for having me here and for creating this blog, Jacquie. I love reading about the West, then and now, and appreciate the opportunity to connect with others who enjoy the same.
And thank you, Anne, for taking the time to give us a glimpse of your story world.
Anne Carrole writes about cowboys who have grit, integrity and little romance on their mind and the women who love them. To find out more about her, read Anne's bio on her website. She also is co-editor of the review website, Love Western Romances.
And now, for the Contest!
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a free pdf copy of Re-Ride at the Rodeo. Be sure to include your email address or your name will not be included in the drawing. Thanks for stopping by Romancing The West and visiting with Anne today!