Since today is the official start of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, I thought I’d post a little reminder that now through Dec. 24, I’ll donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period.
For those of you wondering what got me interested in the rodeo in general and the JCCF specifically, here’s the scoop:
Growing up on a farm twenty miles from the closest town, we generally took our excitement anywhere we could get it.
Each summer, I eagerly anticipated our small town’s biggest event of the year – the Fourth of July Rodeo. Back in those days, it was a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo. Some of the top names in the circuit would join hundreds of rodeo fans for four days of rodeo, events in the park, a parade through town, and the annual Suicide Race (a crazy horseback race down a steep butte, across the highway, through the river, and into the rodeo arena).
The whole family looked forward to the celebration. My oldest brother often rode in the Suicide Race and some of my cousins often competed in the rodeo.
For a horse-crazy little girl who loved the smell of leather and the sight of cowboy hats, it was amazing. From an early age, I had a romance with the rodeo.
One of the few stores we had in town was a saddle-maker with a boot shop. When I was five, my dad took me to Leroy’s shop to pick out a new belt for the rodeo. It was the first time I got to choose my own and I was so excited.
As we walked inside, the welcoming aroma of leather filled the air. Dad led me to where Leroy worked on saddle at the back of the shop and they talked a few minutes. Impatiently waiting, they finally told me to go see what I could find. My gaze – and heart – immediately settled on a hand-tooled belt with little flowers and a silver buckle with a gold saddle that glistened in the overhead lights.
I still have that little belt today along with my love of rodeo. It’s because of how much I enjoy the watching rodeos that led to the creation of my Rodeo Romance series, set near Kennewick, Washington.
Tate Morgan is a saddle bronc rider out to claim a championship title and the girl he loves in The Christmas Cowboy, the first book in the series. While I was writing it, I reached out to the Justin Sports Medicine Team to make sure I was getting my facts straight for the book. That’s when I learned about the JCCF and decided I wanted to contribute something to such a great organization.
I hope you’ll check out one or two of my books – give them as a gift to yourself or others, and get in on the opportunity to help a great organization.
(And for those who have already purchased books or made donations – THANK YOU!)