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Saturday, June 28, 2014


HOWDY!  I’m Kirsten Lynn a new author at Prairie Rose and thrilled beyond measure to be here! 

My story RACE TO MARRY published in the anthology LASSOING A GROOM takes place while a Wild West Show is visiting Sheridan, Wyoming.  Part of this show is what later would be called a rodeo, but the word rodeo did not make it as far north as Wyoming until 1916. Until then, cowboys and cowgirls gathered for the thrill and the glory in Wild West Shows, ranch round-ups, and summer carnivals. 

The first such event in Sheridan County was the “Old Settlers Reunion” in Dayton, Wyoming, 1895. The three day event was planned by J.D. Jennings a local sheriff and stock inspector. Jennings’ (nicknamed Shorty even though he stood over six feet) competition had no formal rules, judges, timer, or even designated rodeo grounds.  Contests took place in the street where bronc riders saddled their own mounts with the help of one man to ear it down until the saddle was on the rider mounted. The wild horse was turned loose in the middle of Main Street.  

This exhibition also included cowpony races, hurdle races, fancy trick riding, and roping. The first Reunion attracted 2,000 spectators. The next year the event was staged for five days and drew the attention of men from Cheyenne looking to stage a similar show.  With Jennings help their show would become the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

The city of Sheridan set aside the first three days of July 1897 for THE OLD TIMERS AND COWBOYS STATE REUNION AND REVIVIAL OF THE DAYS OF THE WILD AND WOOLY WEST. Stores dawned bunting and at the fairgrounds numerous stands where cigars, nuts, candy, cooling drinks and appetizing edibles stood ready for the first rodeo-like competition in Sheridan.
Crowds gathered for bronc riding, riding yearling steers, horse races, and other events all leading to a reenactment of an attack on the Deadwood coach at the end of each day.

By 1900, over 3,000 spectators dressed in the height of fashion including wasp-waisted dresses, birthday cake-sized hats and men in suits and derbys viewed a MIDSUMMER CARNIVAL, in a natural amphitheater in the hills east of Sheridan.

Cowboys from ranches from miles around competed in roping and tying down and horse races. A polo game between an English team and cowboys as well as a shooting tournament and reenactment of the Battle of the Little Big Horn rounded out the events. Between 1,000 and 1,500 Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe took part in the spectacle.

Crow Tepees at Sheridan Stampede 1914 (courtesy of Sheridan County Museum)

The Midsummer Carnival continued through 1913. The entire series of shows became known as Bots Sots, a Crow term meaning “the best.”

By the 1920s local ranchers got into the act and began staging rodeos. Ira Nash owner and his son Archie of the U-Bar-U Ranch opened the rodeo season, June 27, 1927, on their ranch on Lower Prairie Dog Road. 

The rodeo started at one o’clock to 1500 people in attendance. Approximately 400 automobiles passed through the gates to form a circle facing the chutes.

The U-Bar-U hosted the first rodeo of the 1928 and 1929 seasons, as well, boasting “some of the best outlaw horses in the region secured for the annual rodeo.” The rodeo could claim some of the best outlaw riders, too, including Curly Wetzel, “Doc” Alber, Junior Spear, Lee Owen and Jim Lemon.
Curly Wetzel at local rodeo (courtesy of Sheridan County Museum)

Mary Morgan, wife of P.J. Morgan, owner of the PK Ranch might not have hosted the first rodeo of the 1928 or 1929 season, but she staged one of the best. 

The cost to attend the PK RANCH RODEO was unique to the other rodeos mentioned. That’s because it was free. The PK Ranch provided the prizes including a “flashy Hupmobile roadster” for the all-around cowboy in 1928.

There were no stands. Spectators parked their cars and gathered on the hillsides around a natural amphitheater. 

At the first rodeo over 28 states were represented and 20,000 attended. In 1929, families camped on hills the night before and cars streamed onto the ranch as early as eight o’clock for the one o’clock show. A count of license plates indicated 35 states were represented.

A familiar figure, Curly Wetzel, won the bronc riding at both the 1928 and 1929 events.
The PK Rodeo was holding its own against Cheyenne Frontier Days, Pendleton Roundup, Calgary Stampede and Belle Fourche rodeo when in 1930 Mary Morgan fell ill and she could not hold such a large event.

Roper at last PK Rodeo (courtesy of Sheridan County Museum)
Morgan, not willing to give up the event completely, held a miniature rodeo, “just a little party for friends and their amusement.” Over 5,000 people still attended this small gathering, but no official records were kept.

By 1931, a group of local citizens wanted to bring visitors to Sheridan and decided to organize a professional rodeo. After years of highs and lows, building seating, pens, bucking chutes among other things, this rodeo became the Sheridan WYO rodeo. The WYO is held every July and is one of the rodeos on the PRCA Million Dollar Tour. 

Now here’s a bit about cowboy Cal Jenner just looking to ride broncs at JIM JENNINGS WILD WEST SHOW in 1903, and his run-in with his toughest challenge…rancher, Josie Allison.

He’s in town to tame a man-killer. She’s accused of being one. When she proposes marriage the race is on.

            Desperate to save her family ranch, Josie Allison, signs up for a bride race then begs a cowboy to put his John Hancock down to catch her. Marrying a man you don’t know is crazy, but there’s something about this cowboy that makes Josie want to trust him with her land and maybe even her heart. And Josie knows marrying a man you do know can be twice as loco.  
            Cal Renner came to Sheridan, Wyoming for one thing: ride the horse known as a man-killer and use the purse money to buy his own ranch. When a woman proposes to him five minutes after his feet touch Sheridan dirt, he’s sure a Wyoming asylum is missing a patient. But when she turns those summer green eyes his way the promise of a family to go with that ranch is too hard to resist. 
            When secrets are revealed and enemies join the race, Cal and Josie will have to learn to trust each other because the race to the altar has turned into the race for their hearts.

I hope you all will enjoy this wild and crazy “courtship” in the old west story! I am also over-the-moon, as I recently signed a contract with Prairie Rose for a full-length novel, HOME FIRES.  I cannot wait for everyone to meet Cord and Olivia. 

Kirsten Lynn writes stories based on the people and history of the West, more specifically those who live in the shadow of the Bighorn Mountains. Combing her love of the West and the military, her stories often merge these two halves of her heart. When she’s not roping, riding and rabble-rousing with the cowboys and cowgirls who reside in her endless imagination, Kirsten helps preserve the history of Northwest Wyoming working with local museums.
Kirsten is thrilled to be a part of Prairie Rose Publications! It’s a blessing when work feels like play and play feels like an adventure!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Favorite western movies? I’ve got a few. But if I had to choose, I think it would have to be The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

This Hollywood classic, starring John Wayne as Tom Doniphon, Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance, Vera Miles as Hallie Ericson, and Jimmy Stewart as Ransom “Ranse” Stoddard has just about everything a western cinema fan could hope for: action, romance, right-over-might…and an unforgettable theme song.

Dorothy M. Johnson’s short story was made into a movie in 1962. It’s one of my oldest “movie” memories, as I was five years old when it made the rounds to the movie theaters and drive-ins.

Here’s the description of the movie according to Wickipedia:b>

Elderly U.S. Senator Ransom "Ranse" Stoddard and his wife Hallie arrive by train in the small western town of Shinbone, to attend the funeral of an apparent nobody, a local rancher named Tom Doniphon. Prior to the funeral, Hallie goes off with a friend to visit a burned-down house with obvious significance to her. As they pay their respects to the dead man at the undertaker's establishment, the senator is interrupted with a request for a newspaper interview. Stoddard grants the request.

As the interview with the local reporter begins, the film flashes back several decades as Stoddard reflects on his first arrival at Shinbone by stagecoach to establish a law practice.

A gang of outlaws, led by gunfighter Liberty Valance, hold up the stagecoach. Stoddard is brutally beaten, left for dead and later rescued by Doniphon. Stoddard is nursed back to health by restaurant owner Peter Ericson (John Qualen), his wife Nora (Jeanette Nolan) and daughter Hallie. It later emerges that Hallie is Doniphon's love interest.

Shinbone's townsfolk are regularly menaced by Valance and his gang. Cowardly local marshal Link Appleyard (Andy Devine) is ill prepared and unwilling to enforce the law. Doniphon is the only local courageous enough to challenge Valance's lawless behavior.

"You, Liberty...I said YOU pick it up..."

On one occasion, Doniphon even intervenes on Stoddard's behalf, when Valance publicly humiliates the inept Easterner. Valance trips Stoddard who is waiting tables at Peter's restaurant. Stoddard spills Doniphon's order causing Doniphon to intervene. Valance stands down and leaves. Doniphon tells Stoddard he needs to either leave the territory or buy a gun. Stoddard says he will do neither.

Stoddard is an advocate for justice under the law, not man. He earns the respect and affection of Hallie when he offers to teach her to read after he discovers, to her embarrassment, she's had no formal education. Stoddard's influence on Hallie and the town is further evidenced when he begins a school for the townspeople with Hallie's help. But, secretly, Stoddard borrows a gun and practices shooting.

Doniphon shows Stoddard his plans for expanding his house in anticipation of marrying Hallie, and reminds him that Hallie is his girl. Doniphon gives Stoddard a shooting lesson but humiliates him by shooting a can of paint which spills on Stoddard's suit. Doniphon warns that Valance will be just as devious, but Stoddard hits him in the jaw and leaves.

In Shinbone, the local newspaper editor-publisher Dutton Peabody (Edmond O'Brien) writes a story about local ranch owners' opposition to the territory's potential statehood. Valance convinces the ranchers that if they will hire him, he can get elected as a delegate to represent the cattlemen's interest. Shinbone's residents meet to elect two delegates to send to the statehood convention at the territorial capital. Valance attempts to bully the townspeople into electing him as a delegate. Eventually, Stoddard and Peabody are chosen. Valance assaults and badly beats Peabody after Peabody publishes two unflattering articles about Valance and his gang. The villains destroy Peabody's office. Valance also calls Stoddard out for a duel later in the evening after Valance loses his bid for delegate. Valance leaves saying "Don't make us come and get you!" Doniphon tells Stoddard he should leave town and even offers to have his farmhand, Pompey, escort him. But when Stoddard sees that Peabody has been nearly beaten to death, he calls out Valance. Stoddard then retrieves a carefully wrapped gun from under his bed and heads toward the saloon where Valance is. Valance hears he has been called out and justifies going out in self-defense. His wins his last poker hand before the duel with Aces and Eights.


In the showdown, Valance toys with Stoddard by firing a bullet near his head and then wounding him in the arm, which causes Stoddard to drop his gun. Valance allows Stoddard to bend down and retrieve the gun. Valance then aims to kill Stoddard promising to put the next bullet "right between the eyes," when Stoddard fires and miraculously kills Valance with one shot to the surprise of everyone, including himself. Hallie responds with tearful affection. Doniphon congratulates Stoddard on his success, and notices how Hallie lovingly cares for Stoddard's wounds.

Sensing that he has lost Hallie's affections, Doniphon gets drunk in the saloon and drives out Valance's gang, who have been calling for Stoddard to be lynched for Valance's "murder." The barman tries to tell Doniphon's farmhand Pompey (Woody Strode) that he cannot be served (due to his race), to which Doniphon angrily shouts: "Who says he can't? Pour yourself a drink, Pompey." Pompey instead drags Doniphon home, where the latter sets fire to an uncompleted bedroom he was adding to his house in anticipation of marrying Hallie. The resulting fire destroys the entire house.

Stoddard is hailed as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and based on this achievement, is nominated as the local representative to the statehood convention. Stoddard is reluctant to serve based upon his notoriety for killing a man in a gunfight. At this point, in a flashback within the original flashback, Doniphon tells Stoddard that it was he (Doniphon), hidden across the street, who shot and killed Valance in cold blood, and not Stoddard in self-defense. Stoddard finds Doniphon and asks him why he shot Valance. He did it for Hallie, he says, because he understood that "she's your girl now". Doniphon encourages Stoddard to accept the nomination: "You taught her to read and write, now give her something to read and write about!"

Stoddard returns to the convention and is chosen as representative. He marries Hallie and eventually becomes the governor of the new state. He then becomes a two term U.S. senator, then the American ambassador to Great Britain, a U.S. senator again, and at the time of Doniphon's funeral is the favorite for his party's nomination as vice president.

The film returns to the present day and the interview ends. The newspaper man, understanding now the truth about the killing of Valance, burns his notes stating: "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

"Hallie, who put the cactus rose on Tom's coffin?"

Stoddard and Hallie board the train for Washington, melancholy about the lie that led to their prosperous life. With the area becoming more and more civilized, Stoddard decides, to Hallie's delight, to retire from politics and return to the territory to set up a law practice. When Stoddard thanks the train conductor for the train ride and the many courtesies extended to him by the railroad, the conductor says, "Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!" Upon hearing the comment, Stoddard and his wife stare off thoughtfully into the distance.

As a side note, one of the many reasons this film holds a special place in my heart is because I remember it as being the first time I made the connection between a scene onscreen representing a flashback. Remember the “flashback within a flashback” that the Wikipedia article mentions? The smoke from John Wayne’s cigarette moves and flows to take over the screen as he tells Jimmy Stewart, “You didn’t kill Liberty Valance. Think back…” That smoke took us back to the truth of what had happened, and my five-year-old brain was shocked—and enamored, even then, with the idea that time passage, or remembrances could be shown through the haze of cigarette smoke. It was the moment of truth for Ransom Stoddard.

For me, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance embodies the core of the west—good and evil, and how sometimes “the point of a gun was the only law”—and it all depended on the man who held the weapon.

Liberty represented the purest evil. Ranse was determined to fight him with the law he treasured—the desire to do things the legal way blinding him to the fact that Liberty didn’t respect that. In the beginning, his naivete is almost painful to watch, providing Liberty some rich entertainment. Though Tom finds it amusing, his growing respect for Ranse’s perseverance is portrayed to perfection by that familiar downward glance of John Wayne’s. Accompanied by the half-smile and his slow advice-giving drawl, the character of Tom Doniphon is drawn so that by the point at which he sees the handwriting on the wall and burns down the house he built for Hallie, the viewer’s sympathy shifts, briefly, to the circumstances Tom finds himself in.

But Ranse is determined to vanquish Valance one way or the other—with a lawbook or a gun—whatever it takes. In the final showdown, the lines of resignation are etched in Tom Doniphon’s face, and we know he is honor-bound to do the thing he’ll regret forever: save Ranse Stoddard’s life and lose Hallie to him.

I love the twist. Ranse truly believes he’s killed Valance. Again, to do the honorable thing, Tom tells him the truth about what really happened.

What do you think? If you were Ranse, would you want to know you really were not the man who shot Liberty Valance? Or would you want to be kept in the dark? If you were Tom, would you have ever told him? It’s a great movie!

Now you can sing along!


When Liberty Valance rode to town the womenfolk would hide, they'd hide
When Liberty Valance walked around the men would step aside
'cause the point of a gun was the only law that Liberty understood
When it came to shootin' straight and fast---he was mighty good.

>From out of the East a stranger came, a law book in his hand, a man
The kind of a man the West would need to tame a troubled land
'cause the point of a gun was the only law that Liberty understood
When it came to shootin' straight and fast---he was mighty good.

Many a man would face his gun and many a man would fall
The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance
He was the bravest of them all.

The love of a girl can make a man stay on when he should go, stay on
Just tryin' to build a peaceful life where love is free to grow
But the point of a gun was the only law that Liberty understood
When the final showdown came at last, a law book was no good.

Alone and afraid she prayed that he'd return that fateful night, aww that night
When nothin' she said could keep her man from goin' out to fight
>From the moment a girl gets to be full-grown the very first thing she learns
When two men go out to face each other only one retur-r-r-ns

Everyone heard two shots ring out, a shot made Liberty fall
The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance
He was the bravest of them all.

The man who shot Liberty Valance, he shot Liberty Valance
He was the bravest of them all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PRP Summer Fandango: #FreeBooks and #Prizes

Are you ready to party?

Summer Fandango, where...
The cowboys are cool,
The weather's warm, 
And the books are hot!

We have a two-day party on Facebook and you're invited! Bring your dancin' shoes and have a little nip of the spiked punch, because it'll be a wild ride.

16 authors!
Over 30 prizes:
Gift cards

The first party is Wednesday, June 25, and then we give you a few days to recover. The second party is Saturday, June 28, and Katy bar the door!

But each day, PRP will give away a 
Grand Prize Package:
A half dozen trade paperback anthologies including:



It'll be a rootin' tootin' good time, so drop by!  All you have to do is go to the Summer Fandango event page on Facebook and click Join.  While you're at it, Like our Facebook page and join the Prairie Rose Publications group!

See you there!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coming Home by Barb Betts

Hello All,

B.J. Betts here.

My book “Echoes in the Night” is soon to be released in just days. Oh, it is so very exciting. I am eager to hear your thoughts on my work. Two of my works are about the Vietnam War. I grew up in that era. You know the dreaded 60’s a time strife and change in our country. Actually, I think I was very lucky to be born when I was. In some ways the war molded me into the person I am today. I have a deep respect for those who served and our country. For some reason when I think of the war the song Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire plays through my mind.

Some of his words still hold true today. Here are a few phrases from his song.

The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy.

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation

The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace. Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say  grace.


More than half of the men and woman who returned from fighting in Vietnam returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They suffered through depression, anxiety, substance abuse, alcoholism, and conduct disorders.

Some that served would suffer flash backs, thinking they were once again in the throes of battle. Thinking the event was happening again when in actuality it was a car back firing instead of gunfire.



My own brother upon his return home from Vietnam hit the dirt on the 4th of July as fireworks streaked across the sky. At night we would often hear him cry out in his sleep. 

In some cases those affected were ever on alert, afraid to sleep. Being sleep deprived, left them being distracted, unable to concentrate and often having angry out bursts. And then there were those who just tuned out. Isolating themselves. Afraid to feel anything for another human being.

In my book “Echoes in the Night” my lead character Mathew Manning experiences some of these symptoms after losing his twin brother Marcus to the war.


 I hope you enjoy my blog today. I would love to hear your stories, for those who are old enough to remember the Vietnam War. With over 58,000.00 deaths reported of our servicemen and women many a family was touched by the war.