Thursday, February 7, 2019

Cowboys can be from Kentucky too by Jan Scarbrough @romancerider

 I first published this blog on my own website November 7, 2013.

You’ll find several popular themes in romance novels—themes such as reunion stories, secret babies, twins, marriages of convenience, bad boys, and of course—cowboys. When I decided to write a cowboy hero, I began doing research. After all, I’m from Kentucky. I’ve been out West, for sure, but at the time, I didn’t feel qualified to set a story there.

One group I learned about during my research was the Professional Bull Riders, Inc., called simply the PBR. Check their website. You’ll learn what they are all about: “This is not a rodeo. We don't rope calves, and we don't chase barrels. This is bull riding, and the first rule is just to stay alive.”

It’s not “if” you get hurt in bull riding. It’s “when.” My husband says these cowboys are crazy. But he goes with me anyway to do firsthand research. We’ve driven to Nashville, Lexington, and watched PBR events several times in Louisville.

Bull riders are from everywhere. The PBR website explains:

“More than 1,200 bull riders from the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico hold PBR memberships. They compete in more than 300 bull riding events per year on either the elite tour, which is the Built Ford Tough Series, the Touring Pro Division, or the PBR International circuits (PBR Australia, PBR Brazil, PBR Canada and PBR Mexico). The ultimate goal for PBR athletes each year is to qualify for the prestigious PBR World Finals in Las Vegas where the coveted title of PBR World Champion is decided.”

So, when I started to pull together ideas for Kentucky Cowboy, I thought why couldn’t my cowboy be from Kentucky? And why would he come home? Family, of course. And what if he meets his old girlfriend, the one who dumped him so many years ago?

That’s how stories start—with the “what if?”

In the book Folklore on the American Land, Duncan Emrich makes the point that the cowboy is “a symbol of what we as a people and nation have wished as our way of life. He is a projection of our hopes and desires, a projection of our best code of ethics, of our wished-for mores.”

Americans have always been attracted to cowboys for what they represent: individualism, independence, freedom, courage, loyalty, and much more.

Bull riders are popular. Why? The PBR website sums it up: “Professional bull riding is a fierce, rough, and grueling sport with roots deeply imbedded in American culture. It's America's original extreme sport.”

2019 Update

Bull riding is a dangerous sport. The riders and fans were shocked by the recent death of Mason Lowe. Read a memorial to him.

Lowe, 25, passed away on Tuesday night at Denver Health as a result of injuries sustained in competition when Hard Times bucked him off and stepped on his chest at the Denver PBR Chute Out Velocity Tour event inside the Denver Coliseum at the National Western Complex.

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  1. I’m so very sorry to hear of this young man’s death. No amount of glory is worth it.

  2. Jan, what wonderful insight into a dangerous, albeit exciting, world. So horrible that this man died so young.

  3. What a fascinating post. I know there are many PBRs residing in Calgary, Alberta and every year they celebrate with the Calgary Stampede. As for Kentucky, it's a beautiful rugged countryside so, of course, there's cowboys. I loved hearing what your research involved and look forward to reading your story. All the best.

    nnlight at nnlightsbookheaven dot com

  4. Karl and I used to cover rodeos when we were working on the ambulance. It was a very nail biting experience! Great post!

  5. I love cowboy heroes. You definitely summed up their appeal.

  6. Good post, Jan. Very educational. I grew up in the land of rodeo which is everything from Arizona to Florida I think. I've never been able to watch the bull riding or the bronc riding. Just too scary. I have a cousin who was a bull rider. He "retired" when he was thrown and the bull stomped on his leg and foot. He was pieced back together and can walk albeit with a limp.

  7. I love this!! Kentucky cowboys! I've been traveling and spent the last 7 weeks in Florida. I had no idea how many cattle ranches there were here. Plus horse farms!! You better believe I'm taking notes for a new series of Florida ranchers!! I used to think Florida was basically beaches and Disney!! I know better now!

  8. I am enjoying your new blog. Great post.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  9. What a dangerous activity. I really can't stand watching bull riding, but I agree, those men are very courageous!

    My contact info: adissidente at gmail dot com

  10. Thanks for sharing about the bull riders. That is indeed a dangerous sport. I bet you met some cool people in your research!

    Msredk at all dot com

  11. Wow, great behind-the-scenes to your book, Jan! Can't wait to read it.

  12. I'm sorry to hear about the recent death of Lowe. What an intriguing look into such a dangerous sport! Thank you, Jan.


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