This category contains 7 posts

First Ride at Kowbell Rodeo

One evening, while stocking the ketchup aisle at the local grocery store, the boys and I were talking about rodeos, a subject that had been on my mind for months. Earlier that year, in the locker room at school, I overheard some guys talking about a boy who had won a buckle riding a bull. … Continue reading

How to Not Look Like a Clown at the Summer Rodeo

Planning to attend a rodeo this summer? Maybe even get lucky at the rodeo dance afterwards? It’s best to dress comfortably and in your normal clothes. But, if you must try to look like a cowboy, here are some tips to keep you from looking like a clown and getting laughed at. Be careful with … Continue reading

How to Have Coffee with Ranchers in West Texas without Being an Ass

Dress normal. If you try to look like a rancher when you aren’t, they’ll know it before you sit down. Don’t be a clown. Stay quiet. Ranchers and farmers are friendly, but they are generally on the verge of losing their patience, especially during a drought. Don’t test them by asking stupid questions. Know the … Continue reading

How to Teach a Horse to Swim

There were a few skills that I used to think were important for horses: They needed to walk, trot, lope, and back when I wanted them to. They needed to turn to the cue of the rein or my legs. They needed to be able to stand still. They needed to walk through the canals … Continue reading

Kowbell Rodeo and Travis

The following is from my book, “Used to Want to Be a Cowboy.” Kowbell Rodeo was the only year-round, indoor rodeo in the state. Whether Christmas, Easter, or Super Bowl Sunday, the rodeo went on. By the time I was a senior in high school, I headed over from Joshua to ride bulls every time I … Continue reading

The Biting Bull

From my book, “Used to Want to Be a Cowboy.” I didn’t like going to the Mineral Wells bull-riding jackpot. The stock contractors were a rough group, bull riders from the ’60s and ’70s who had no sympathy for the “new” generation. One of them, I had heard, killed a man when he was younger, … Continue reading

Memories of Snake Hunting in West Texas

Ronald Clay was an older cowboy who lived outside of Flomot, Texas, which accounts for about 180 of the 1,000 people who live in Motley County. I came to know Mr. Clay when I worked for the USDA office in Matador, Texas, 90 miles northeast of Lubbock. I knew that the Clay boys had been … Continue reading

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