Friday, December 23, 2011

Headlights In The Dark

For all those girls out there that tell themselves rodeo life will be one of romance on the "rodeo trail"; I am here to warn you! Not all rodeo guys want to take their sweethearts, let alone the kids, on the road!

I did, on occasion, get to travel with Rex - but most of the time, I stayed at home and fed the cows and tended the kids and had a job in the nearest town. This poem was written long ago - when Rex was still going hard. Brings back a lot of memories - and darn sure is a Rodeo Re-Ride Story!


Every day I'd thought of him,
My cowboy on the road;
Nine weeks had passed since he'd hit the trail,
And I'd been prayin' he wouldn't be throwed.

The telephone line was our connection,
Between our souls and hearts;
And every time we said "good-bye",
It tore mine all apart.

He'd call from some town I'd never seen,
To tell me how he'd done;
I'd ask him how his health was holdin',
Then he'd tell me what he'd won.

Each rodeo brought a different story,
From a world so far away;
We'd talk of people and places,
And what he'd done that day.

I'd tell him what the kids were doing,
Of business, my work and such;
Sometimes they would get to talk to him,
And tell him they missed him much.

One day he'd called from Austin,
His plans set for another week;
I was feeling pretty lonely,
And a tear ran down my cheek!

He didn't call again for two days,
And this made me quite upset;
The kids and I got home one night,
What happened next I'll not forget!

It was dark and I had just finished chores,
And was picking up outside;
When out of the distance I heard a sound,
That put goosebumps on my hide!

It sounded like our old white truck,
And I strained to see through the black;
When headlights turned into our driveway,
I knew my best friend was truly back!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Found My Heart In ...TEXAS!

I never could understand why anyone could or ever would leave their heart in San Francisco - but I do know one thing - I FOUND my heart in TEXAS!

It all started when I was a freshman in college. I purchased a book called "Texas" by James A. Michener. I fell in love with the rich history, the large ranches, the boldness of its people. Now, don't get me wrong; I am a very proud Native Montanan but I have always been enamored by our nation's largest state!

So, when I married Rex and he was traveling the country to rodeos; I looked forward to the opportunity to travel with him; to see what I'd been dreaming of. Unfortunately, my first excursion into Texas was by plane, into El Paso. I met up with Rex and Jason McLain and we only had time to walk over the border into Juarez to eat lunch and then had to skedaddle to Bakersfield, California for a PBR event. I just got a small taste. Then, five years later, I got to fly into the Dallas/Fort Worth area and toured the old stockyards, shopped downtown Fort Worth, and felt like I'd seen something.

It wasn't until my trip home from the NFR via Arizona, New Mexico and Texas with Donnalyn Quintana last week that I found what I was missing about the Hill Country of Texas! I am in LOVE with the little towns of Llano, Lampasas, Fredricksburg, and Burnett. Not only with the towns, but with the people! They are kind, hospitable, and classy. There is all kinds of unique shopping, horse training facilities, ranches, etc., etc., etc.

Buckaroo Blankets is the perfect old-fashioned fabric store with all kinds of unique, western prints and fabric blends. They are online at:

Thank you to Vicki Christensen for allowing us to stay with her. She is the owner of Tres Rios Silver and One Trick Pony in Llano, Texas. What a store! If you ever have the opportunity, stop in! Or, find them on Facebook: One Trick Pony

Vicki Christensen in her trick riding days!

Artwork at One Trick Pony

Vicki and her daughter-in-law, Keylie Tatum

Monday, December 12, 2011

The REAL (Beautiful) Women of Rodeo

Folks - let me tell you what! I was thrilled when I got to meet actor/director Luke Perry at the 2011 WNFR. However, my number one thrill was meeting famous trick rider Nancy Shepherd. Wow is she one hell of a lady! Hearing her talk about performing for Giorgio Armani and to actually shake her hand and have her compliment ME was one of the greatest moments of my life. Donnalyn Quintana, who founded the ORIGINAL Western Wishes in 1994, is the niece of this grand woman of rodeo. When we were getting ready to leave, Ms Shepherd gave me hug and told me now I am her niece too! I was shaking when I left - and had tears in my eyes.
Then, the second greatest thrill of the WNFR was getting to spend time with Donnalyn Quintana and her friends Sheri Compton, Sandy Leffew and Darlene Mahan. These are ladies who have been there and back - raised their kids on the rodeo trail and lived to tell about it! They have the greatest sense of humor and so many stories to tell! Be watching for upcoming stories on Cowgirl Buz! Donnalyn and I are so excited to start this project and share these stories!! These are the jewels of rodeo, for sure!
Pictured above: Me, Donnalyn, Sandy Leffew, Darlene Mahan, Sheri Compton. Funny ladies, funny stories. Had the time of my life!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Son Of A Rodeo Cowboy

From the first time that our son, Quade rode his first sheep at a junior rodeo when he was only 18 months old (that will be  a future blog!), I have gone through periods of time when I feel like I'm a cross between a horrible and irresponsible mother! In either case - being a mother of a son of a rodeo cowboy is like being between a rock and a hard spot!

Quade has endured many injuries since he decided to follow in his dad's footsteps. Some due to riding bulls, and some due to school sports. I have always encouraged him to pursue basketball - thinking that would be so much safer than bull riding. During an intense high school basketball game one night, Quade made a daring baseline move and ended up rolling his ankle over in front of a home-town crowd.

Well, you know the routine - the audience gasps - then goes silent. And my husband Rex and I sat there, quietly whispering back and forth to each other, "You go down!", "No, you go down!" "He's OK", Rex finally said, "He has to learn how to handle pain." Finally, Quade was helped up and was literally carried to the bench. "Looks like his Mom should go see what's up", Rex advised. It was then that I noticed some of the other mothers glaring at me - and I went down. It was pretty bad looking - but Quade could put weight on it, and I had witnessed quite a few ankle injuries with Rex during his rodeo career - and knew that the swelling would have to go down before any doctor would be able to x-ray it. So, Quade opted to watch the rest of the game. When we got home and got a good look at it, it was cranked around very unnaturally to the inside. Rex straightened it (while Quade hollered and I had to leave the room for a bit). Then, I went into the attic and dug out the "Broken Bones" (yes, that's the real label on it) box and grabbed two pair of the crutches that looked like they would fit Quade. Rex and I stayed up for the next 48 hours, taking turns icing it for 20 minutes, every hour on the hour - just like we had done many times with Rex over the years.

One week later Quade was still on crutches and the school principal was really encouraging us to take Quade to a doctor. Rex and I were very sure that we were making progress and that it was not broke, but I made an appointment to keep everyone happy.

When Quade got checked into the doctor's office and the nurse assistant was getting his ankle all lined up under the x-ray machine she exclaimed, "Yep, I'm sure it's broke! Did you already go to the ER?" "No", I replied sheepishly. To which she snidely commented, "Well! After a week - what are we supposed to do?"

Boy! I was feeling like Mother of the Year!!

Then, the doctor came in - "Well, no break - what we have here is a real bad sprain. What did the other doctor tell you?" Again, I was feeling a little sheepish, "You're the first doctor we've seen." Surprised, he asked, "Where did you get the crutches and the brace? This brace is just what I would've advised you get!" I explained that my husband is a retired rodeo athlete, and we have our very own little medical supply store in our attic.

There is something pretty neat about Oklahoma - All I had to mention was that we made a living with rodeo, and it was all clear to the doctor. "Well, looks like you have this handled! Just keep doing what you're doing, and you don't have to come back unless he goes and breaks it!"

You know - that's when 18 years of bumps, bruises and breaks in the rodeo arena pay off -             
We walked out of there with no bill - just a nominal fee for the x-ray - and total vindication with that snide nurse! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Watch Isn't THAT Tough Enough!

Hello All!

Well, Pink Night was last night at the National Finals Rodeo. What a great night for the Western Industry. We raise millions through rodeo. It is so awesome to look out into a crowd of pink at the Thomas and Mack! The following is a story from calving season, and involves the Tough Enough To Wear Pink watch, a watch sold for the breast cancer awareness program.

When I got home one day after a very long day at work, I came home to find Rex gone; Quade playing "Guitar Hero"; Syd on the computer; and cow #840 all hunched up, looking very uncomfortable. When I looked closer, I could see one little back foot sticking out and knew the calf was backwards. Now, one must understand how Rex and I have things arranged here:

1) We have 30 head of cattle and 15 horses on 70 acres - most of which is covered in brush and trees. Therefore, the yard has been our calving pen; the horses are in panelled pens; and the older cow/calf pairs are turned out onto the 40 acre pasture with the most grass and the least brush.

2) We have no "official" corrals - therefore, we have no chute, no sweep tub, no alley.

3) We have lots of trees - some with just the right amount of space to tie a head to one and a foot to another - if you get my drift!

So, when I got into the house, I yelled at Quade to get off the #$%&! game and grab a rope. Then, I changed my shoes to boots and found my gloves. Quade and I left the house with a kind-of, sort-of game plan:

A) Rope the cow
B) Do not choke the cow
C) Do not kill the cow
D) Do not kill Quade

I roped the cow, blurting a prayer out loud, "Dear Lord - pleeeeze help us get this calf out without choking the cow!"

Well, the cow backed up, slinging her head and slobber (and well, you know, stuff) everywhere. Quade was on the other side of her, asking what he could do. I threw the rope around the nearest tree, and yelled, "Get a good wrap!" When Quade went around the tree, the cow started winding herself in the rope and got one of her front feet in there so that it was impossible for her to choke! (Talk about an instant answer to a very demanding prayer!!)

What does this all have to do with my Tough Enough To Wear Pink Watch?? Well, I'll tell you! I quickly took off my gloves, my coat, my shirt, and stood there in my bra thinking. There are three ways to get a backwards calf out:
1) C-Section
2) Turn the calf around
3) Get both back feet out and pull it out backwards (not usually the best option)

All three options involved bodily fluids. I had to run an arm  in (yes, in there!) to see what was where. Just as I stuck my hand in, the evening sun shone on my Tough Enough To Wear Pink watch. I jumped back with a yelp and took it off. "Geez Mom, you scared me!", Quade yelled.

Well, one of the back legs was bent back and when I pushed the calf back in and got it straightened up, I was able to get some twine around both feet and pulled it out.

Then I cheered on Quade while he fought to get the rope off of the proud momma.

The good news is - my  watch is doing fine, and still ticking - oh - and the the calf was ALIVE!!!  It was a heifer -

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tech-Saavy Cowboy


Two years ago, my husband Rex had a job in Elko, NV working on refurbishing a small horse place. He had been gone over a month and I was back in Oklahoma holding the fort down. I was riding 5-6 horses a day, feeding what was up in the corrals, etc. at Dan and Linda Russell's place - about 25 miles from our house.

One particularly hot day, after riding all my horses, mowing the lawn, and getting all the chores done, I made the hot drive home around 8:30 pm in my Bronco with no air conditioning, sweat pouring  down my back. I could not wait to take a shower and get into bed! When I passed through the kitchen, I stopped for a glass of water. I lifted the tap. shhhhhh No water. I picked up the phone and called our water meter guy, as he's our next door neighbor. "Well, I shut if off today! You were late on the bill and I figured you were out of town", he said. Now - I must digress here - Rex likes to have control of the checking account and the bills so what I thought to myself now was, "That son of a bitch!" The water guy explained that he could not turn our water on until the next day - so I  got back into my Bronco and drove the 25 miles back to the Russell Ranch.

I was a cussin' and poundin' the steering wheel the whole drive over. I couldn't wait to get hold of Rex on the phone and tell him what I thought of his out-of-state job, and that I had it with him being on the road and that we were going to be done with him living the bachelor life in Nevada!

When I arrived at the Russell's at around 10:00 pm, I went to the guest house and immediately jumped in the shower. COLD water. Now it can be 110 degrees and I still have to have a scalding hot shower. I jumped back out, dripping wet, and went to the hot water heater. No flame, no heat. I can't even write what I was thinking now; how I was going to rip Rex a new one (because, after all, it was ALL HIS FAULT!

I got back in and furiously scrubbed. I got back into the Bronco, grabbed my cell phone, and after some thought, decided to text rather than call because I was too mad. Here is how it went down:

ME: Worked all day in heat. Came home 2 no H20. Drove to Dan's. No hot H20. Had 2 take cold shower.

REX: Send pix of tits

Oooooooh! How do you stay mad at that?

And now you know why I've posted no pics! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Willy Buck? Hell Ya!

Well folks, just got word that the bucket calf that I raised and pampered and took naps with out on the grass has been bucked for his first time and he was pretty darn good!

It seems like yesterday when he would hang out around the fence surrounding the "big guys", looking longingly out at them. Finally, one day I led him to the gate and walked out into the field with him. He ran out to the herd, bucking clumsily. I felt like a mom watching her son on his first day of kindergarten!

This photo was taken that day. The other bulls did not like him - but eventually, he weaseled his way into the group. It was all I could do not to pull him out and keep babying him in the yard!

Our son was there when they bucked him and he said Willy Buck came out strong to the left and spun. Whoo Hoo! My baby is all grown up! Can't wait to post a picture of him in action! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nuff Said

My husband is weaning today in 38 degree, windy weather. This is where I am. Yes, I'm WORKING. (Rex doesn't have a computer).

Nuf Said!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegas Lights

We FINALLY arrived in Vegas after taking ALL DAY to drive from Albuquerque, NM!! That wouldn't passed grade back in the day when we were going down the road!

I remember one time when Rex and I and our 9 month old daughter had been traveling for three days during the start of "Cowboy Christmas", or 4th of July weekend. I hadn't even washed my face and the bronco seat had been my bed for two nights. We stopped at a gas station in Bear Lake, CA. I packed up my daughter, her diaper bag, and a change of clothes for us both. When I entered the station, the first thing the attendant said to me was "You can't change or wash your baby in the bathroom"; to which I looked him square in the eye and stated, "I don't intend to." Then I marched right back to the Women's Restroom, locked the door, and ran a nice, warm bath in the sink for my baby girl! I walked out of there with a clean baby, face, my teeth brushed and clean clothes on!! Jack-butt!

Donnalyn and I stopped at the Arizona line for some pictures. We had several phone conferences, emailed people, scheduled meetings, and texted all the way across the frickin state!

When we hit the bright lights of Vegas, even though it was probably the 100th time for Donnalyn and close to that for me - we were surprised at how vast this town really is.

We got ourselves checked in and moved in. We ran around like a couple of school girls! Our room is really more like an apartment! We oood and awed at everything! What a couple of hicks! It will be our home for the next two weeks!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Las Vegas Here We Come!

Hello! This old ranch girl is FINALLY entering the world of blogging! It'll take me awhile to learn the ropes. I hope to make new friends and share some great rodeo stories full of humor and sometimes, great lessons.

Donnalyn Quintana, founder of Western Wishes, is on this latest adventure with me. I truly believe that Donnalyn is my soul sister. Our driving conversation includes great rodeo stories and we laugh til our cheeks ache!

Our rodeo road experiences have made us pack-saavy!

We have also learned, over the years, to stop and look at things. My husband, when he was riding bulls professionally, drove us (with our 3 yr old and 7 yr old) right by Disneyland not one, not two, but FIVE times and we never stopped!

Here we are crossing the New Mexico line!

We are also looking forward to meeting all of the Wish Families, traveling to Vegas to have a much deserved break from the trials and challenges of illness.

More to come......