For those who don’t know it already, I’ll share with you where the idea for Give the Lady a Ride came from: television. Two shows, both on Country Music Television (CMT).
Cowboy U was a reality show that aired from 2003 to 2007. It featured eight city slickers who had to learn all about ranch life. The first thing that happened when the contestants arrived at the ranch-of-the-season was their luggage was exchanged for cowboy duds. That meant the women had to do without their nail polish and electric hair dryers.
Activities, aside from adjusting to a more rustic lifestyle and learning to ride a horse, included calf-scrambling, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and yes, bull riding. Even the women had to learn.
The show’s stars, Rocco Wachman and Judd Leffew, used a type of bucking device to teach their dudes to ride. Sometimes it was a barrel suspended by ropes between two trees, sometimes an actual bucking machine. The former bull rider I interviewed said he’d start his riders off with a bull rope on a horse–so that’s what I did. If you haven’t read Give the Lady a Ride, you missed out on the scene with the New York socialite bouncing on the back of Tandy, a dapple gray quarter horse, with nothing to hold on to but the bull rope at Tandy’s withers.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was always fun watching these folks shift from having their noses turned up to truly enjoying the challenge. Since Patricia’s father was raised on a ranch in Texas, I wondered how she would respond, being a society woman with the wild West lying dormant in her blood.
Once Cowboy U was taken off the air, Ty Murray, founding member of Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR), stepped to the chute. Ty hosted some stars from TV, movies, and sports on their 2000-acre ranch right close to Stephenville, Texas. Since my family once owned a ranch out there, I put my imaginary Circle Bar Ranch in the area. Of course, I took a little license with some of the rodeo arenas in my story, but the location is the same.
Some of the folks involved in Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding were musician Vanilla Ice, actor Stephen Baldwin, Ultimate Fighter Josh Haynes. These guys and several others got the full bull-riding experience–thrown, hooked, stomped; broken arms, cracked ribs. Ty started his riders off on the barrel too, and when they graduated from his school, they rode an 1200-pound bull in a live PBR rodeo. But, compared to the real riding professionals, they looked a bit like cyclists with training wheels.
Both shows were fun for the same reason it’s fun to watch anyone adjust to being out of their element. Take your fish-out-of-water comedy, where the players take everything seriously, and throw some animals into the mix, and you’ll get a few giggles. Of course, I got more than that. I got a spark to my imagination.
New York socialite Patricia Talbert is my “fish out of water,” ranch foreman/bull rider Talon Carlson is the man with the bait, and the bull, Mostro, is thrown into the mix to make the story one fun ride!
The cast returns in The Final Ride, along with some new folks to the show. I’ll share them with you in the following weeks, let you get to know the characters I’ve spent the past year developing. I think you’ll get a kick out of them.