It’s almost rodeo
time in Houston, and traffic around the NRG Stadium crawls to a stop.
Since 2003, the Houston Livestock Show and
Rodeo (RodeoHouston) has been held at NRG.
HLSR is the largest livestock exhibitions and rodeo in the world and
offers the richest purses. Kickoff is marked by the Downtown Rodeo
Roundup held near Houston City Hall, the Downtown Rodeo parade, and the
ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run – a 10k and 5k walk & run and the World's
Championship Bar-B-Que Contest (the Chili Cookoff, which is a major event in
HLSR each year). I always wanted to
participate in the Downtown Rodeo Parade. Since 1938, the nation’s fourth largest city is transformed
from a bustling metropolis to a down-home celebration of Western heritage.
Decorative floats intermingle with thousands of men and women on horseback to
fill the streets with hoof beats and marching bands. This year, the parade
begins at Bagby and Walker Streets.
In 2019, there were more than
2.5 million total attendees during the 24-day event, and HLSR was proud to
welcome visitors from 75 countries. The livestock and horse shows drew
more than 34,000 entries, and the junior auction sales totaled more than $17
million. Incidentally, 376,000 oreos were battered, fried, and dusted
with powdered sugar.
The rodeo has drawn some of the world's biggest recording
artists, including Dixie Chicks, Elvis Presley, George Strait, Garth
Brooks, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi and Lynyrd Skynyrd to mention a few. When I lived in Houston, I attended several
times. Once, I saw the Zach Brown Band in concert. This year look for Keith
Urban, Tim McGraw, For King and Country, and many more. This link lists the
The 2022 HLSR will begin February 28, 2022 and end March 20.
For those of you who like to imbibe, there are numerous beer
tents and a relatively quiet wine garden.
In The Texas Cowboy, there are several mentions of RodeoHouston.
Charlie, a supporting character, was a bronc rider, and he rode in HLSR. Charlie is the ranch foreman. The hero Ash
Colter gives him carte blanche to entertain his ex-girlfriend while she is on a
surprise visit from England, and that’s where Book Two, The Cowboy Duke, is
born. Can an English Duchess make a Texas cowboy’s spurs go
jingle-jangle-jingle? The Cowboy Duke
tells us (in my humble opinion).
Let’s all go to RodeoHouston! I want to be present and accounted for at the Chili Cookoff. It’s not just chili, but beef brisket, music, and even impromptu dancing. It’s a party, RodeoHouston-style.
When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle
baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years
later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre
spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is
the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy
ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she
makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!
Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d
never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the
scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job, but her beloved
Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbreds from England. Worst
of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought
long dead awaken.
Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences
to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?
Squinting in the
sudden sunlight, Ash sized up a woman about his age. In jeans with a burgundy
Marathon tee, she was slender but curvy.
Her blonde hair looked as if it had been hurriedly ponytailed. Wayward
strands dangling everywhere framed her face. On closer examination, he decided
she wasn’t hard on the eyes. In a non-fancy way. But then he was accustomed to
Dorothy—High maintenance with a capital High Maintenance.
The girl tilted an
odd look at him. Then she suffered a
wardrobe malfunction. The band holding her ponytail broke. Blonde silk gushed
over her big, chocolate brown eyes. A graceful hand, stained black by hoof
polish, swiped the thick mess back from a pretty face. Her unsmiling
mouth was generous and wide. Feed her and clean her up, and she’d be a
presentable…opponent. The chill in what should have been melting brown eyes was
as unwelcoming as Deanne’s steely green gaze.
He snapped a smart
salute, imitating her stance. “I’ll do that, ma’am. I’m Ash Colter. You are?”
“Trish.” One word. No introduction. More or less bugger
He stuck out his
hand. “My pleasure, Trish. I assume you work with the horses.”
assumption.” Gazing intently into his eyes, she accepted his handshake. “How
could you tell?” she asked, her voice dripping sarcasm.
“The hoof polish
was a big clue.”
She glanced down
at her stained hand. Her handshake was firm, confident, another person he felt
he could trust. The color of her eyes was quite rare with her blonde hair. Very
striking, but at the moment, they challenged him to measure up to her standards.
Oh but no, he refused to have two bitches to contend with. This one was no
problem. Employees could be towed into line. Or dismissed.
“Maybe I’ll see
you around the stables.” He popped the trunk, dismissing her as curtly as was
polite but smiling inside. What a feisty
“The funeral is
day after tomorrow,” Trish said, loud enough to carry. Her native Texan accent
was music to his ears, but he could scarcely believe what she’d said. “Mrs.
Colter waited to give you time to get here.”
He froze with his
hand on the hot trunk. Without turning, in a voice like ice, he spat, “Thank
you for telling me, Deanne.”
“You didn’t know?”
The amazed question burst from the gutsy Trish.
As a sharp pang of
grief broke through his carefully erected walls, he visibly winced. He’d lost his father, and his stepmother had
planned the funeral without consulting him. What else had she planned to cut
him out of? Knowing her for what she was, still her cruelty shocked him. What
if he’d been delayed? He’d have missed his final farewell to his father. Sick
at heart, he swiped a hand across his burning eyes. He couldn’t trust himself
to speak around the sudden lump in his throat. Gritting his teeth, he slammed
the trunk. Shouldering his duffle, he faced a sea of surprised expressions. He
could scarcely see them for the sheen of emotion clouding his vision.
Angry now, he
tried but failed to modulate his voice. Dark emotion crept into his gruff tone.
“No one saw fit to tell me.”
eyebrows darted up, her wide eyes shifting to Deanne. “You’re kidding.” In
unconcealed shock, and perhaps reproach, she gaped at her employer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After 14 years in
Texas, Linda returned home to her roots in the South Carolina red clay. She has
eight published novels, four of which are available in audio from Audible.com.
For many years, she bred, trained, and showed the magnificent Andalusian
horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck
pulling a horse trailer. She won The Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for
Excellence, the Raven Award, and the SARA Merritt. In real life, she was a
legal assistant. She loves to dress up, use the good china and crystal, and
host formal dinner parties. She has a fondness for sports cars like her current
ride, Zippy Z.
Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com –
Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
- Lots of interesting guests & prizes
Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-nightingale