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Title: Rodeo Queen
Author: T.J. Kline
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 26,, 2013
Published By: Avon Impulse
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Sydney Thomas wants nothing more than to train rodeo horses and hopes becoming a rodeo queen will help her make the contacts she seeks. She is thrilled when Mike Findley, the co-owner of Findley Brothers stock contractors, hires her for her dream job as a horse trainer until she meets Scott Chandler, the other half of Findley Brothers. He’s arrogant, judgmental and, unfortunately, unbelievably sexy. Scott doesn’t bother to hide his attraction to her, but makes it clear that he thinks she’s nothing more than a “buckle bunny” intent on taming a cowboy and he doesn’t plan on being any woman’s toy - not again.
When the two are forced to work together, neither expects their past to show up on the doorstep. Scott’s ex, Mike Finley’s daughter Liz, returns to win him back, determined to destroy any budding relationship between Scott and Sydney, even if that means bringing in outside help in the form of Curtis Willits, Sydney’s ex-fiancé. Sydney faces her abusive past relationship and Scott fights his distrust of women and love. Can they overcome their past and learn to trust one another with their hearts?
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1 ) How did you become involved in rodeo?
It was sort of a natural progression since I’ve been raised on a cattle ranch. I started barrel racing and team roping with my brother in junior rodeo and then through high school. But my real love is training horses. I can’t help but feel at home working with them. There’s nothing quite like working with an animal and watching them reach their potential, knowing you had a hand in drawing the best out of them.
2) You prefer training to participating in rodeos? Can't you do both?
You can, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. Some horses make great rope horses, some barrel horses, some are showy and others are just meant to be all-around ranch horses. When you’re working with them, and have a large string you’re training, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to focus on any particular event. I still team rope and ride barrels but less competitively and more for pleasure.
3) So are you still participating in rodeos now?
Absolutely, it’s in my blood. But I’ve spent the last few years focusing on rodeo queen competitions. I am still a part of rodeo but in an ambassador role instead of a competitor. It gives me a chance to be involved in the sport while networking with stock contractors and rodeo participants who would be best served by the horses I train. I’ve been able to network and make several good connections.
4) What's your favorite part about rodeos?
Other than the horses, the living history it represents. It’s based on history – cattle ranching, breaking horses, and range entertainment. It’s a piece of western culture in a high-tech civilization. I love the pageantry involved. You can feel excitement vibrating in the air around you.
5) Are you sure that's not just dust?
Well, there’s that too.
6) What's your least favorite part about rodeos?
Honestly, the heat at most of them. When you’re on horseback from sun up until sundown during the summer, it can get really hot. Especially wearing long-sleeves required behind the chutes. And, as a rodeo queen, you’re hair has to be down, curled and teased into place with a hat pinned to your head. It can get pretty uncomfortable. There are times I envy the cowboys who can take their hats off.
7) Since you mentioned them, I'm sure the ladies would like to know to a little more about the cowboys behind the chutes. What are they like?
Most of them are full of themselves and far too cocky, at least, in my experience. I guess it depends who you are. When I’m roping or running barrels, cowboys act differently than when they meet me as a rodeo queen. Don’t get me wrong, some of the cowboys are quiet and sensitive, great guys, but others…not so much. Then again, there are rodeo queens are prissy princesses who don’t like getting dirty. You really can’t stereotype people because there will always be someone who is different from the rest.
8) Isn't that an optimistic view?
I don’t know that it’s optimistic as much as it’s being a realist. Just when you think you have someone figured out, they will surprise you. I’ve known a lot of cowboys in my life. Most of them have a cockiness that they exude but they are still great guys who I would trust with my life. I think it’s more of a cultural thing. These are guys taught to “cowboy up” from the time they are young. I mean, they jump on the back of a 2000 lb bull, get thrown and get back up. I think it takes a lot to scare them after that. The cockiness is just part of who they are.
9) Is there someone special in your life?
Just my family. I’ve dated a few cowboys in the past and right now, I’m focusing on my horses and my career.
10) So, what you're saying is that you're not stereotypical rodeo queen?
Absolutely not, but I don’t say that because there is anything wrong with any of them. Every woman becomes a rodeo queen for different reason. We all love the sport. Sure, there are some who see it as a great way to meet cowboys. But it’s also a great way to promote the sport of rodeo, to compete in a different part of the sport, earn scholarship money, gain experience in public speaking, learn about sales…like I said, there are hundreds of reasons to become a rodeo queen.
11) What's next for you?
Well, coming up, I have the West Hills Roundup Rodeo. I’m finishing up the rodeo queen competition and I’ll be riding my stallion, Valentino. When I’m finished there, if I win, I’ll be attending various rodeos all over the state as their queen and promoting rodeo. I’ll be breeding Valentino this year as well and I have a string of about fifteen horses I’m training for sale. If I lose, I’ll still be breeding and training.
1) How did you become involved in rodeo?
I have been involved in rodeo since I can remember. I was born into it, literally. My mother gave birth to me on our ranch, in the house I live in now. My parents were partners in the Findley Brothers Stock Contractors so I’ve been attending rodeos before I could even crawl. As I grew up, I became more involved with the business side of rodeo. I’ve been working with Mike Findley, my father’s partner, since I was about fourteen.
2) You had a rough childhood, how were you able to pull through that?
My parents went to run a small rodeo on the coast of California and were killed in a car accident on the way home. I was only about eight, so, yeah, it was rough growing up. But my sister, who was twelve, stepped up to become “mom” for my younger brother and me. Mike took us in since we didn’t have any other family and raised us with his daughter on the ranch. He’s been a father and a solid foundation for all three of us to lean on.
3) So what part do you take in the rodeos now?
Until I finished with college, Mike ran everything and I just went along to help out. After I finished college, when I got home, I took over the books and shared a few ideas with him about making the company more profitable. Together we’ve made Findley Brothers one of the most profitable stock contractor companies in the country. Jennifer is involved with making sure the day to day activities run smoothly. Her husband, Clay, is one of our pick-up men, and my brother, Derek, helps with the equine stock. I usually work as the arena director for most rodeos and Mike handles most of the dealing with clients. It’s really a family business in every sense of the word.
4) What’s your favorite part about rodeos?
I love that I’m able to control almost every aspect. There is something fulfilling about being able to put together a great program that gets spectators excited. I know which animal is up next, how each one preforms, which cowboys will be riding and where every person on the crew should be. It’s like conducting an orchestra and it’s a glorious thing when it all happens according to the plan.
5) What’s your least favorite part about them?
Buckle-bunnies. The wanna-be cowgirls that hang out behind the chutes. They are the groupies of rodeo, most of them heading from one to the next in an attempt to nab a cowboy. Sadly, a lot of the guys riding the circuit fall into their trap. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen trap these guys.
6) Since you mentioned them, I’m sure the ladies would like to know a little more about you in the romance department. What sort of woman do you look for?
I don’t. I’m not one of those guys that can’t wait to hook up with a woman. Not that I’m opposed to going out and having some fun, but I don’t usually initiate it and it’s never anything serious. I’m just not interested in a permanent relationship. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many women who only want to wrangle a cowboy. I’m not interested in being anyone’s prize.
7) Isn’t that a pessimistic view?
Probably. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t say that there isn’t a woman out there who can ride, rope, put up with my stubbornness and cynicism as well as keeping my interest piqued. But I certainly haven’t found her, and even if I did, I’m not exactly the happy-ending, “ride off into the sunset” kind of guy.
8) So, what you’re saying is that you’re not the stereotypical strong, sensitive cowboy?
I’m more of the tell-it-like-it-is, don’t have time to deal with fairy-tale nonsense type.
9) We’ve heard you’re a bit of a flirt, any truth to the rumor?
I don’t know that I’d call myself a flirt, or a player. I enjoy spending time with a beautiful woman and I can certainly appreciate her but I’m not looking for anything with attachments. Maybe that’s where the rumor comes from.
10) What’s next for you?
Doing what I do best - more rodeos. We have several rodeos planned for the rest of the year. I know Mike is hoping to elevate our breeding program and get some better riding stock but that would involve Derek more and I’m not sure how likely that is to happen right now.
About the Author
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen Competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.
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