Rodeo Cohorts--Scamper

Today I’m starting a new blog called Rodeo Cohorts. One of the definitions of cohort is a companion or associate. That is what the equine contestants in rodeo are, companions and associates to the people who ride them and enjoy watching them compete.

I’m going to spotlight a different horse each week, including barrel, rope and dogging horses along with bareback and saddle broncs. I might even throw in some specialty acts and an occasional bull or two. These are the equine personalities who make rodeo such an amazing sport, and many have their own fascinating stories.

To start this subject off with a bang, I’m highlighting Gills Bay Boy, better known as Scamper. Scamper accomplished what no other barrel horse has come near to doing. He and his owner, Charmayne James, won ten Women’s Pro Rodeo Association World Titles in a row between 1984 and 1993.
Charmayne and her father bought the AQHA gelding from a feedlot when he was a six year old, and she was just twelve. Two years later they qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. They went on to win the NFR that year along with the WPRA World Championship and the WPRA Rookie of the Year.

One of his most amazing runs came during the 1985 NFR. As they came down the alley to enter the arena, Scamper’s bridle broke. James says she couldn't stop him, so she headed for the first barrel. The gelding ran the pattern on his own and they won the round.

In 1986 the pair won money in all ten rounds at the NFR, a feat only three other riders have accomplished.
Scamper ended up with the enviable record of ten WPRA titles, six NFR titles and ten RodeoHouston titles, along with many other circuit finals and major rodeo championships.

He carried Charmayne to more than one million of her $1,842,506 lifetime earnings. He was retired after the 1994 season and was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1996.

Scamper is a gelding and can't reproduce. Because of this, James made the decision to clone him. The animal genetics corporation, Viagen, performed the cloning, and the foal, nicknamed Clayton, was born in 2006, kept a stallion and now stands at stud.
Scamper died at the age of thirty-five on July 4, 2012 at the age of 35. James said he enjoyed good health to the end.

“He’s one in a million. He’s a miracle…I doubt there will ever be another horse like him.”
Charmayne James, describing Scamper, 1989
I was only fortunate enough to be able to watch Scamper run in person once, but I watched him on TV many times. He was one of a kind.

Did you ever watch Charmayne and Scamper run? Do you have a favorite horse that is one of a kind to you?


Meet Sean O'Connell-Bullrider from Sugarwater Ranch

Sean was raised in a rodeo family in the small ranching community of Dalhart, Oregon. He's spent the last ten years doing just what he wants, following the rodeo trail, riding bulls and partying with his friends. If you ask Sean, he'd tell you there is no better feeling than climbing on a hard bucking bull.


For the first time in years, he's landed back in Dalhart, in the middle of the winter, forced to take a job on a local ranch. And the funny thing is, he kind of likes it.


The blond, green-eyed cowboy loves a good party almost as much as riding bulls. The problem is partying has gotten in the way of his bull riding, and now he's got to figure out how to get back on track.

Here's an excerpt from Sugarwater Ranch, a contemporary rodeo romance,  available at Amazon, B&N, ARe, Evernight Publishing, and Bookstrand. The paperback will be out by the end of the month on Amazon.

“What about your family?” Catherine asked. “I know Frannie, and I knew of your mother. You come from nice people.”
“Nice people, that’s my family,” Sean muttered, “all but me.”
She glanced over to him. “You’re nice people. You just hide it well.” The giggle burst out of her.
Sean had never heard her giggle. She didn’t seem like the giggling type of woman. Then he realized what she’d said.
“I hide it well? And I suppose you can see right through me to the warm chocolaty core?”
She giggled again then laughed outright. And laughter looked very good on Catherine Silvera.
“Chocolaty core. Good description. I just need to lick through the hard sugar shell.”
Oh hell, the mental image just about blew him out of his boots. 

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Do you have a favorite bullrider? Or, do you prefer someone who competes in another event?

Why I Started Writing--or Everything is Hard if You Want to Be Good At It!

I never thought I’d be a writer. I didn’t spend my childhood making up stories about my Barbies or my teenage years penning books about my perfect love. I was a reader. Reading was my second favorite love. The first was horses. I was crazy about horses, but since I was born and raised in the middle of town to parents who had no use for the large animals, getting a horse of my own was a fantasy.
A little thing like that didn’t stop me. I hounded them year after year, for birthdays and Christmas.  Every time they’d ask what I wanted, I’d answer, “A horse.” They were all-mighty sick of hearing about my dream, but being my parents, they loved me anyway. They bought Breyer toy horses, cowgirl outfits and all the western books they could find in an effort to appease me.
When I was fifteen, I wore them down. My dad came home with an appaloosa, quarter horse cross, a two year old, and unbroken. The fact that I didn’t have a clue how to train him didn’t make any difference. I had a horse. Life was great.
Over the next thirty years, I learned from two of the best barrel horse trainers in the country, Larry and Kay Davis. I was fortunate enough to have some great horses that made me look good. I married a cowboy and had pretty much everything I’d ever dreamed about.
As I said, I’m a reader. I’m a romance reader, and I devour books like chocolate chip cookies. Well, I did until I started writing them. One day about six years ago, I read a book about a barrel racer. As the heroine was preparing to go to the National Finals Rodeo, she fell in love with the hero, a man who knew nothing about rodeo.
The author also knew nothing about rodeo and hadn’t bothered to do her research. The romance part of her book was well written, and I’m sure to someone who hadn’t rodeoed it was fine, but to me, it wasn’t authentic. What I couldn’t get past was the way she portrayed the horse training, barrel racing and rodeo scenes. They couldn’t have been more unrealistic if she’d tried, and really, all she needed to do was ask. Most barrel racers love to talk about their sport and their horses.
I thought how hard can it be to write a book? I’ll write one the way it should be done. And so I did. That first book was read by my mother and only my mother--she loved it by the way. With that book, I discovered how hard it is to write well.
There’s an old cowboy saying, “Training a horse is like looking at a solid wooden fence. Good trainers see a knothole, look through and discover all they’ve got left to learn. Most people don’t even find the knothole.” 
The saying applies to writing, too. Six years later, after countless classes, with five books written and one published, I think maybe I’ve found the knothole. Now to learn what’s on the other side.