Ride On - A New Rodeo Novel That Just May Be The Most Original Book You’ve Seen In A Long Time
Only one movie - 1972′s Junior Bonner starring Steve McQueen - and no novels ever really captured the flavor and and feel of professional rodeo – until now, that is. Michael Hearing has done it in his new release titled Ride On.
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Rodeo is the original American sport. Every little boy wants to be a cowboy at some point – and no wonder. Cowboys embody the American genius like no other breed – tough, stoic, self-reliant, unambiguous individuals who take no crap and make their own way in the world. And in rodeo cowboys, especially rough-stock riders, you’ll find that American genius distilled to a pungent, unignorable essence.
PRCA rodeo was probably at its apogee during the 1970s, especially the last half of that decade. That was before the PBR drew off a lot of the good bullriders, when saddle bronc riding still had plenty of contestants, and when bareback riders still knew how to keep their chins tucked and maintain some control. Professional rodeo was, quite simply, different than it is now. It was perhaps purer and less complicated. One thing’s for sure: a lot of the rodeo riders of that period rodeo-ed because, above all, they just flat loved the life and the promise of freedom. Just listen to some of Chris Ledoux’s very early work, and you’ll understand.
So, the late 70′s – PRCA rodeo’s heyday. That was a time that saw some of the best bullriders to ever get on down the road. There was, of course, Donnie Gay, arguably the all-time greatest bullrider. There was also Denny Flynn, the most underrated bullrider ever, who still holds the record for the most consecutive bulls covered. In the bareback riding Joe Alexander (known as “Alexander the Great”) was still spurring horses with his machine-like, precision spurring. And there was Bruce Ford, several-time world champion, who looked wild but was always in control on those horses. And the world-champion saddle bronc rider who best epitomized that era in professional rodeo was, without a doubt, Monty “Hawkeye” Henson.
Then you had all those guys who weren’t so good, the ones who kept entering and losing because they loved it. They’d work all winter just so they could spend every dime they’d earned on entry fees at the summer rodeos. And then they’d do it again the next year and the next and the next. It was their money in the pot that paid the world champions.
But rodeo had its darker side. A lot of those little boys who wanted to grow up to be cowboys, boys who would have been better off as doctors and lawyers, were seduced by the glamour of rodeo and the cowboy mystique. They got caught up in it, going around and around like a hamster in a wheel, unable to get off because they just knew they’d hit a good lick at the next rodeo – and then everything would be all right and there would be smooth sailing and big buckles from then on. It seldom worked out that way, though.
And that’s exactly what Ride On examines – with a view never before taken in this kind of book. It plunks you down right in the middle of professional rodeo rough-stock riders, the good ones and the not-so-good, and allows you to live a little of the rodeo life along with them. You’ll come away with a better handle on the elusive feel and flavor of rodeo.
Download a copy and join Michael Anders, Jim Ed Sarkos, and Kirby Jordan as they travel from Goshen, Texas, to a wandering in western Kansas to New Canaan, Iowa – where Michael’s hopes lie and where Jim Ed and, especially, Kirby show their true colors. Accompany them through all the broncs, bulls, bruises, beer, and, of course, women. Vicariously experience what rodeo life was (and still is) like for the majority of the cowboys.
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