Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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August 20, 2012

Other Obsessions

By Laura Drake

If you’ve followed our blogs here at WITS very long, you’ve seen that there’s a lot more to us than the stories we write. We all have other interests; Sharla has her dolls, Fae has cats and cards, and Jenny has Baby Girl and underwear (we'll wait - we know you're going to check out the underwear!)

I’ve got other interests as well. Yeah, there’s motorcycling, bicycle riding, and fly fishing, but today, I want to put forth a case for my biggest obsession.  No, not food.

Pro Bull Riding!

Why? I’m not a country girl; I grew up in Detroit. I don’t much like country music; to me, a steel guitar sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. So how could I have gotten so wrapped up in a sport that I wrote a three book series set in that world?

  • I’m fascinated by young men who, through courage, craziness, or under the influence of large quantities of testosterone, get on the back of two thousand pounds of attitude that wants to  throw them in the dirt and dance on their dangly parts.
  • The athleticism. Bull riders have more in common with gymnasts than wrestlers. The mechanics require more balance than brute strength.
  • These aren’t media savvy, spoiled athletes. They’re mostly kids off farms, and ranches. Watching their wide-eyed interviews on camera, and talking to them in person, gives me hope for the future of America. They remind me with their gentlemanly “Ma’am’s” and “Sir’s” that mothers somewhere are still raising kids right.
  • I’ve watched this sport grow over the past ten years, and have enjoyed watching events that are real -- not slickly orchestrated and Hollywood perfect.

But the bigger picture is that these men represent the American Cowboy; a rare breed in today’s society of political correctness and metrosexuals. They still live by the belief that their handshake is a scared promise, and integrity isn’t what you talk about, it’s what you live. They live by a code that they’re willing to die by. How many people do you know like that?

Do yourself a favor. Check out their website. Tune in to a PBR event some weekend (TV schedule is here.) I dare you not to get sucked into the drama. Maybe I’ll see you at the finals in Las Vegas some November!

Let ‘er buck!

How about you? What you do, when you’re not pounding a keyboard? WITS readers want to know!

Laura has written three books set in the world of Pro Bull Riding. The first, The Sweet Spot, is due out next May, from Grand Central.

0 comments on “Other Obsessions”

  1. My second day back to WITS and my fav has captured my imagination again. Funny you should mention cowboys. This first gen Italian from Brooklyn was raised by a naturalized American who was IN LOVE with all things cowboy and western. I have a son who went to a ranch camp run by an cowboy geezer who fell in love with The Boy From NYC. The kid who brought Tolkein novels to camp and won rodeo contests. My Dungeons and Dragons nut-case in love with all things smelling of a musty barn. My favorite picture of my dad is in a cowboy hat and two six-shooters on his hips ... we called him Hopalong Cassi'deech. And although I love you ... bull riding was introduced to me by that crazy son of mine! However ... in Brooklyn we also had TWO country and western radio stations and I love country music along with opera and rock 'n roll. I guess the crazy son took after his mother.

    Other passions? Yikes. Do we have enough space? (tee hee) it started on a cold and stormy night ... well at least that's how I remember it. Left handed and accident prone ... I began hand crafts in second grade because my poor mother needed to keep me from killing myself running in the streets with the boys. I have had three craft and flea market businesses and intend to start another one later this year. Hyper active kids never get old. Old? Tired? Never. Maybe I'll send pictures of the new bizz later this season 🙂 I'll also check out the link for the bull riding. I mean chaps give me as much of a thrill as when football players bend down in those marvelously tight pants !!

    1. Oh yeah - love football season, in large part for the same reason! Wait til The Sweet Spot comes out, Florence - you are gonna LOVE the heroine's sidekick - a NY Italian with tons of 'tude!!!

  2. Oooooh obsessions...hmmm. That would be TV. DVR was created for people like me who need TV like crack. 🙂 Right now, most of my shows are on hiatus, but they're coming back really soon. Like, in weeks. My writing schedule won't change, because I've finally learned to put that first... o.O... But my reading...will suffer greatly. I don't want a 12 step program. Take my DVR and I will hunt you down like a psychotic tasmanian devil. Just sayin.... 🙂

    1. Okay, Sharla, I don't get it, but I won't mess with your DVR. Except for Bull Riding, and an occasional football game, I don't watch TV. My husband spends HOURS in front of the adult babysitter...

      I have to admit though, it takes me out of the mainstream of society. If someone refers to a Friends episode, or what's happening on DWTS, I just give them a blank stare.

  3. I'm gonna sound like a total wuss, but my obsession is my piano--the speed and dexterity required of my fingers, the wrong notes that test my ears, the patterns that entrance my brain, the sheer nerves that are needed for a successful performance, attending shows by other performers. This list goes on. I've only got a year or two under my belt, but I'm in it forever.

  4. I grew up on a small town country farm, and I'm not ashamed to say I love all things country. My favorite Westerns include Young Guns I and II, The Sons of Katie Elder and The Young Riders television show. I love music by Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. I think cowboys are hot, and not just because of thier Stetsons and boots, but because of thier INTEGRITY!

    1. Dead on, Debbie. I will admit to liking Randy Travis (before the arrest) and Garth. I call that 'country light.' Can't handle Wilie, or Waylon or the boys.

  5. As Laura mentioned, I collect dolls from all over the world in their native costumes with a few historicaly correct dolls like Queen Victoria, Liallian Russel (famous victorian singer) and even a cross-eyed doll that resembles the wife of President U. Grant. My other obsessions: I like taking photos, mostly scenery but some funny ones of people too. You know what they say, "Life is stranger than fiction." 🙂 And Laura, I've been to a couple Bull Rides in AZ. I absolutely loved it and understand your fasination.

  6. Obsessions? Riding my horse and watching Pretty Little Liars with my 13-year-old daughter (and my husband and 18-year-old son wont' admit it but they watch it too), and eating Scotchmallows from See's candies.

  7. Patricia, I can relate. I love horses, and have since I was a little girl taking English riding lessons after school. I always dreamed of having my own horse, and eventually I was able to buy two horses and ride whenever I liked - back in BK (before kids). Sadly, I had to give up horse ownership, but my hubby and I rented trail horses whenever and wherever we could. Now in my sixties, I continue to enjoy horses by taking riding lessons once again. Laura, I love the rodeo and check out the PBR on TV when I can find it. PBR and Vegas - can't beat that!

    1. Barb, I was so happy for you when you started lessons again - I'm so jealous!
      PBR is on CBS and NBC Sports Network. Usually Saturday and Sunday nights.

  8. Obsessions...I'm a full-time art teacher (love the summers off because that's when I get the serious writing in!); watercolors when I have time. Spending time with my four children, 3 of whom still live at home- various activities with each. Catching up with friends. Teaching one of my good friends how to play piano. There just aren't enough hours in a day!

  9. Okay - still love poor Randy Travis - wouldn't be a country star without a little craziness. LOL I'm of course a bull rider fan (since my debut as an author this summer was The Bull Rider's Brother - BSP) but there's something about the old country that speaks home and family to me. (Except of course the bad boy arrests - and if you knew my relatives- trouble with the law still speaks home and family.)

    Obsession? Right now it's grits. I'm from Idaho. Made my first batch of shrimp and grits this spring and love the carb loaded things. Yum.

    1. Lynn, I still love Randy, too. His voice is really special. Okay, I'm working on becoming a country girl, but Grits? I'll never say never, but . . .
      I do eat Hominy though!

  10. Oh, mine is definitely travel. I just came back from an amazing trip to France and I'm already struggling to narrow down my options for the next big adventure. I'd need to win the lottery though to satisfy all my travel cravings.

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