How I Got to Be ‘Sweet on a Cowboy’ by Laura Drake
I grew up outside Detroit. The only time I slept in a tent was at summer camp, and I remember my dad cooking outdoors exactly once.
So how did a city girl end up addicted to bull riding?
I married a Texan. I didn’t realize what that meant when I met Alpha Dog. It meant when his dad said we had a mixed marriage because I was a Yankee, he was only half kidding (luckily, he liked me in spite of my flaws.)
The annual pilgrimage to Texas for the Holidays included legacy tickets to my very first Rodeo. I was hooked from the opening, when a pretty girl on a flashy horse galloped around the arena carrying a huge American flag as we sang the National Anthem. The events were a revelation; what the heck is mutton-busting? If you don’t know, watch this YouTube video – it’s pure cuteness!
But it was the cowboys that hooked me. I loved every ma’am and sir, their old-fashioned manners and their old-school values.
And I might as well admit, the wranglers in chaps had something to do with it, okay? Wowzer.
My favorite event was the bull riding. All ‘rough stock’ riders are tough, but horses don’t try to run you down at the end of the ride to dance on your dangly parts.
Then I discovered that bull riding was on TV every week! I rooted for my favorite riders and cheered on my favorite bulls. I think things got out of control when I started following the bulls on Twitter. I even joined the PBR fan club, for cripes sake, and the last fan club I joined had a mouse at the helm!
They say write what you know. So I did. I wrote three romances set in the world of professional bull riding. They became my Sweet on a Cowboy series.
The amazing thing about getting involved with this sport in its infancy is that I had access to the riders, bull contractors and the people behind the scenes. Everyone I’ve met has been polite, open and interested. They’ve answered hundreds of my questions, helping a city girl get it right.
In case you’ve never watched bull riding, here is a great video featuring Chris Shivers, one of the greatest riders of all time, getting it done. To me, it’s a like a perilous ballet; two partners dancing together in the best disguise possible. I’ve always been a thrill seeker. I own two motorcycles, and have put over a hundred thousand miles on them. If I were 20 years younger, I’d try getting on a bull!
Just for fun, I had a question for fans at the last PBR Finals in Las Vegas: How is bull riding like falling in love? Here’s what they said.
How about you? Are you Sweet on a Cowboy?
Laura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance. She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2104) and Sweet on You (August 2014.) Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin’s Superromance line (August, 2013), and she recently signed a 3 book deal for three more books, set in the same small town. Laura resides in Southern California, though she aspires to retirement in Texas. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write, full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours. Learn more at her website and follow her on Twitter @PBRWriter.
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