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  • Writer's pictureBecca Whitham

Cow Tailing

My next novella releases in approximately three weeks. "The Cowboy's Bride Collection" will be in stores March 1. It's published by Barbour, which means the book will be in WalMart and Barnes & Nobel. That's heady stuff for a gal just getting started. It's also pretty heady stuff to be on the cover with women who've sold over a million copies. And, it's downright fun to have a brand new author joining us. Watching her reaction to the various stages of publication brings back memories of when I was experiencing the same thrill with "The Homestead Brides Collection" a year ago. There are nine different authors with nine unrelated stories tied together with a single theme: cowboys.

As I was doing research, I discovered that the term "rodeo" wasn't used until well after my time period. Instead, they were called cowboy competitions, hence my chosen title. What's interesting is that the skills of those long ago competitions are mostly the same as the ones we see in modern-day rodeos. Except there was this one...cow tailing. Here's a description from "Cowboy Lingo" by Ramon F. Adams:

" 'Tailing' was the throwing of an animal by the tail in lieu of a rope. Any animal could, when traveling rapidly, be sent heels over head by the simple process of overtaking the brute, seizing its tail, and giving the latter a pull to one side. This would throw the animal off its balance, and over it would crash, onto its head and shoulders. Though the slightest yanks were frequently capable of producing results, many men assured success through a turn of the tail about the saddle-horn, this supplemented sometimes, in the case of cattle, by a downward heave of the rider's leg upon the straining tail. Such tactics were resorted to frequently with the unmanageable longhorns, and a thourough 'tailing' usually knocked the breath out of a steer, and so dazed him that he would behave the rest of the day. It required both a quick and swift horse and a daring rider."

After this description, I did more research but couldn't find any corroborating stories of cow tailing as a rodeo event. However, I simply couldn't resist adding it to my story. It only shows up once, and there's no description, but it tickles my fancy that I got to add it.

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