Monday, December 7, 2009

Cowboy Research

I love to do research, especially when that research involves talking to real live, in the flesh, sexy cowboys. I know a lot about rodeo, bull riding, and the western way of life, but it’s always nice to talk to other folks who also live and breathe the life to get a fresh perspective. I also love to write about cowboys and I always strive to make darn sure I’m depicting the life as accurately as possible for you, the reader.

That’s why when my local radio station was giving away tickets to a dinner/meet & greet with PBR (Professional Bull Riders) bull fighters, stock contractors, and bull riders, I put three phones to work. My insane efforts paid off and I was the correct caller and got my name put in for the drawing. And by golly, luck was really on my side last week. My name was drawn out for the big package, including tickets to the bull riding. Yee-Haw! Thank you, KRGI FM! So, I called up my critique partner and good buddy, Julie Miller, and asked if she’d like to go. All in the name of research, of course! ;-) Even though Julie writes about cops in Kansas City for Harlequin Intrigue, she jumped at the chance to experience something new. I mean, what better way to talk bull riding, rodeo, and goin’ down the road then over a nice dinner and a few drinks with handsome men! Handsome men are always good inspiration for us romance writers!

Bull fighter, Cody Hollums of Midland, TX, was gracious and answered my slew of questions. He even asked me if I was going to write a book featuring a bull fighter as the hero. You betcha, Cody! And I can guarantee he’s going to look a lot like you. Keep an eye out.

Stock contractor, Chad (Bubba) Berger of Mandan, ND was a lot of fun, too, and I wish I would have had more one-on-one time to talk with him. Thanks for the beer, Chad!

Then I sat down with bull riders, Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS. These two were so down-to-earth, just good ‘ol boys, and were more than happy to answer all my questions. We talked about the lifestyle, the travel, and if fear ever enters their minds before they climb onto the back of those 2,000 pound bulls. Markus knows all too well what it’s like to be stomped on by a bull. In 2008 he rode a bull who tried to make hamburger out of his face. Amazingly, Markus was back in the chute a week later and ready to take another bull out for a spin. Now that’s tough. Cowboy tough!

As for Skeeter. Well, what can I say? Skeeter is just as cute as a bug’s ear. I mean this guy is young enough to be my son, but he’s as sweet, polite, and common as they come. I just wanted to squeeze him! And keep your eye out for Skeeter. He’s a rising star in the PBR and you can even catch him in the reality TV show, The Posse, airing on CMT this coming Saturday night Dec. 12th. The film crew followed Skeeter and other pro bull riders around this past summer to give fans a glimpse into the world behind the bucking chutes. Skeeter said it was fun doing the show, although at times he did get a little weary of the cameras being right there all the time.

The bull riding Saturday night was awesome. The bulls were rank, too. Big time. One bull was so rank that after he dumped his rider, he decided to take on the outrider and his horse. That cowboy suddenly found himself on a date with the fence, and his horse took an unwanted ride on the bull! Fortunately, neither the horse or cowboy, were hurt, but it sure looked ugly. On a positive note, one young cowboy who’d brought his girl to the bull riding had worked it out to bring her into the arena. Much to her surprise, he got down on one knee in the dirt and proposed! Now that’s romance the cowboy way. And you can bet that’s going to show up in a book someday. To me, that epitomizes the cowboy. He’s a gentleman, shows respect to women, all the guys we met stood when we stood, offered their hands in a friendly shake, and tipped their hats, and he’s down to earth. To me, they symbolize the honesty and integrity of the American way of life, and showcase the roots of our great country! Long live Cowboys!

So, do you like to read about cowboys? For you, what’s the allure? And do you prefer contemporary cowboys over historical cowboys? Or do you love them both? All of you who comment today will get their name into the drawing for an electronic download of the Flavors of Ecstasy Anthology Vol. III where you can read my latest cowboy story, Eight Seconds! Happy Holidays.

Pix: Bull fighter Cody Hollums of Midland, TX & little 'ol me!
And me with Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, Bart Miller of Oshkosh, NE, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS.


Julie Miller said...

Cody was a hottie, Sherry! What a sweet guy. And they were all such gentlemen.

Bubba gets my vote for my favorite, though. He was a big, tough--nice--guy. And so interesting to talk to.

You were in your element! And it was such an interesting, educational and fun evening for me.

Shelley Munro said...

Sherry, I'm so envious. I'd kill to get to the PBR finals in Las Vegas. I'm in New Zealand and love rodeo. I watch it on one of our TV stations down here but it's usually a little behind. My father used to be a stock contractor here in New Zealand.

I'll take both historical and contemporary cowboys, but I have to say I lean a little more toward the contemporary ones. And Cody - I have to agree. He's a hottie. :-)

Sherry James said...

Hey, Shelley! How cool about your father. Insider info! I love contemporary and historical cowboys, too. Don't matter, send 'em my way. And hey, Cody is single! He did mention a girlfriend, but . . .

Thanks for stopping by. I've got your name in the hat!

Sherry James said...


Bubba reminds me a little of Bull from my book Lassoed Heart. I know you really liked him, too. Hopefully, readers will get to meet him soon.

Glad you had a good time. It was so much fun having you along. Good laughs and great conversation. Always a winner!

Kate Pearce said...

I've been to the PBR finals in Las Vegas and met some of the guys (got their autographs too) They were all really gracious guys although I was too excited to say more than 'meep!'
I loved writing cowboy books :) Will get back to them one day...

Sherry James said...

Kate, how cool! The PBR is awesome, but to go to the finals in Vegas? That rocks! And yes, I hope you do get back to writing cowboy books one of these days!

Eva S said...

No rodeos, bull fighters or cowboys here where I live, perhaps that's why I love reading about them!I think I prefer contemporary cowboys...

Booklover1335 said...

I love cowboy stories no matter if they are historical or contemporary because for me their values and characteristics are the same no matter what the year.

I love the ruggedness, that they are down to earth, and so completely male, and they are all heroes at least in my fantasy world :)

Sherry James said...

Thanks for commenting Eva and Booklover! I can't choose between historical and contemporary. I love them both, too. It's fun to bounce back and forth!

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