Monday, June 15, 2020

All About Bull by Paty Jager

I've got the bull by the horns- or not.  I'm currently writing the next story in my Tumbling Creek Ranch contemporary western romance series. The heroine is a rough stock contractor- specifically bulls.

For those who may not know a lot about rodeos, rough stock are the animals used in rodeos. The bulls and bucking horses that are rode and the steers that are rope and bulldogged. There are ranches and individuals who raise the livestock that is used in the rodeo world. The bulls and horses, when they are athletic and best the riders more than the riders besting them, get their photos and names in the Rodeo Hall of Fame.

The first book of this series had a woman bull rider. There aren't many at the professional level but having a friend's daughter ride bulls in high school, I wanted to have a woman who made it to the NFR- National Finals Rodeo. And that was how my character was born.

It happens that twin sisters, who I knew through 4-H and my husband knew the family through his job with a fertilizer outfit, started their own rough stock company. They raise and breed for bucking bulls. Knowing them and using them to learn more about the business of rough stock, I decided my heroine needed to be a contractor who supplied bulls to rodeos.

Here is a bit of what I've learned about a rough stock contractor:

The ranch needs safe fencing to keep the animals in and not have them come to harm.  Just like an athlete animals need to be well fed and have plenty of fresh water and exercise. Some contractors have bull riders come to their ranches on the off season to practice and to see how up and coming bulls buck.

It helps if the contractor or someone in their employ knows about the health and care of the livestock. There are injuries, vaccinations and breeding to be dealt with and determined. As much care as the owner can do on his own without a veterinarian, is more money in his pocket. There needs to be younger stock coming along to replace the older stock.  A good contractor also has mares or cows to breed to keep the herd growing and to find the most athletic and responsive buckers.

Another asset to the contractor is to have trucks and trailers to haul the animals safely to the rodeos or to contract the hauling. It needs to be decided if they will do their own hauling or contract it out. This is all knowledge and business sense that is needed to have a profitable organization. Someone needs to find the rodeos that work for their stock and to keep track of the expenses.

Depending on the size of the event a contractor can get from $100 - $8,000 per animal that is being used at a rodeo.   In addition, bulls that are used in special bucking events can win up to $250,000. These are the most athletic or cunning bulls that have a reputation of being hard to ride. 

Having gained all this information and the questions I sent to the twins about day to day information, I feel like I'm prepared to tackle a character with a unique occupation.

Myself, having visited with some bull riders in Deadwood a few years ago before a PBR event, I respect that they feel the need to get on a 2000+ creature and prove they can stay on, but I don't see the thrill and cringe most of the time when bodies go flying through the air and a bull comes down on a rider. I can't stomach it. But I admire the almost gypsy way of life and pride they have in what they do.

Have you ever been to a rodeo or a bull riding event? 

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 45 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

This is what Romance Junkies has to say about the Tumbling Creek Ranch series: “There are twists and turns to the story with a nice flow and a depth to the characters. The vivid scenic descriptions made me feel like I was there… I hope to return to Tumbling Creek Ranch over and over again.”
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photo source: Paty Jager


Julie Lence said...

Great blog, Paty!! Thank you so much for all the info. I've been to a few rodeos. Bull riding is a favorite, but like you, I cannot fathom the thrill and cringe when someone is thrown off. Though, the rodeo clowns sent in to distract the bulls while the rider escapes are just as talented. Hugs!

Paty Jager said...

Hi Julie, I agree, the clowns, thought they are now called "Entertainers" are entertaining. ;) Their jokes, hi-jinks, and athleticism are a lot of fun. A good lull between watching bodies fly through the air. LOL

Peggy H. said...

I love it, I will be reading it. Just finished a series on Stock Contractors very knowledgeable and enjoyable.
Waiting for your book wonderfully explained on this Blog. Thank You Paty

Paty Jager said...

Hi Peggy, Thank you!