How to Kiss a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

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How To Kiss a Cowboy

Guest Post: The Pros and Cons of Bedding a Rodeo Rider by Joanne Kennedy


The folks here at Romance Junkies invited me to write about the pros and cons of getting involved with a rodeo rider. Now, this is a subject I know a lot about since my newest western romance, How to Kiss a Cowboy, features Brady Caine a bronc ridin’ cowboy. But when I sat down to write some ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ about these kinds of heroes, I had a bit of trouble because frankly, I couldn’t think of any ‘cons’ to getting involved with a roughstock rider! After all, these are my favorite kind of cowboy, and I see no reason not to get as involved as possible, long as you’re not married or dead.


So I decided to compare and contrast the three different types of rodeo riders, show the pros and cons of each, and help you make a decision next time you go cowboy shopping at your local rodeo.


I figured studying up on this topic would be a lot of fun, but then I remembered I am married, so I can’t do actual hands-on research. I had to rely on second-hand information in order to make my decision and order up my ideal cowboy in a purely hypothetical way. But it was still fun. 


So let’s get started. There are Bareback Bronc Riders, Saddle Bronc Riders, and Bull Riders.


Bull Riders




While most rodeo events have some basis in everyday ranch work, nobody in the whole crazy history of the West, even on its wildest Wild West day, ever rode a bull for any practical reason.


So Bull Riding isn’t about technique. It was never about getting a job done. It isn’t about “breaking” or taming anything. It’s about excitement. Bull Riders are the kind of cowboys who say “watch this!” a lot, and you cover your eyes because you know whatever they’re about to do is going to be scary and a little stupid but you secretly peek through your fingers because it’s also going to be all kinds of awesome.




Trouble is, a lot of Bull Riders aren’t real ranch-raised cowboys. A lot of them are townies who went to bull riding school and found they had a talent for hanging on tight while a two-thousand pound animal tried to toss them into orbit. Because of the forces they have to endure during that eight-second ride, they tend to be short, stocky men, with lots of muscle. If that’s your taste, you want a bull rider, but I like my cowboys lean and lanky, so I’m moving on to the next category.


Bareback Bronc Riders


Note: Any readers new to rodeo need to understand that it’s not the cowboy whose back is bare in this event; it’s the horse. I wanted to get that straight right away, because I know how much romance readers love those shirtless cowboys, and that’s not what we’re talking about here. Okay, now that that’s clear, let’s look at our bareback riders.




Bareback cowboys practice the purest form of roughstock riding, where the rider has nothing but a rope to keep him on his horse. He has to react instantly to the horse’s every move, using his own body as a counterweight. That builds some incredible abdominal muscles, which is a big plus for all you shirtless-cowboy fans. 




The same lack of equipment that makes bareback riders so exciting to watch can be a real handicap. The cowboy’s body whips back and forth with a force that makes you wonder how his innards survive even the most successful ride. It looks like that horse is trying beat him into some sort of shook-up, blenderized cowboy smoothie.


I like my cowboys smooth, but who wants a cowboy with less equipment? Not me!


Saddle Bronc Riders




The saddle lets a cowboy use less brawn and more balance. Saddle Bronc riders don’t  just hang on and pray their livers and kidneys won’t be all mixed together into lidneys and kivvers at the end of the day. They ride with ranch-raised skill, using their well-honed bodies to make every ride a breathtaking demonstration of power, polish, and precision.


And I don’t know any woman who would turn down a man with that kind of skill.




Saddle Bronc riders have saddles. That means they’ve got more stuff to lug around, and that stuff happens to be a smelly old bronc riding saddle that spends far too much time in the hot sun in the cab of his pickup. This leads to the total demolition of any hint of “new car smell” in even a brand-spanking new pickup, and makes it smell very, very strongly of horse.


Okay, I know that was a pretty lame “con.” Any real rodeo fan loves the smell of horse, but it was the only  negative I could think of. So I believe I’ve made my hypothetical choice, and I’ll be leaving the hypothetical rodeo with a hypothetical saddle bronc rider to have some hypothetical fun in that pickup truck, but I’m sure there are readers out there who disagree with my choice. I’d love to hear your opinion.




Book Information


Book: How To Kiss a Cowboy

Author: Joanne Kennedy

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Release Date: February 3, 2015

Genre: Western Romance (Contemporary)




Between rodeo wins and endorsement deals, Saddle Bronc Champion Brady Caine is living a charmed life. But when he causes an accident that could end a promising barrel racer’s career, he decides that he’s done with loose women and wild rides. All he wants to do is erase his mistake by getting Suze Carlyle back in the saddle.

The last person barrel racer Suze wants to see on her doorstep is the man who ended her rodeo career, but she can’t help admire Brady’s persistence. Sparks fly between them, but when her barn is sabotaged she wonders if he’s really the straight shooter he seems to be…


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Joanne Kennedy

Author Biography


Joanne Kennedy’s lifelong fascination with Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. In 2010 she was nominated for a RITA award for One Fine Cowboy. At various times, Joanne has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her fascination with literature led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a retired fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


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