Posts Tagged With: NDOC

National Day of the Cowboy Ebook Giveaway Winners

I am proud to announce the Ebook Giveaway winners for the National Day of the Cowboy Blogathon. First and foremost, all authors that were involved will receive a copy, as well as NDOC president Bethany Braley. Thank you for all of the support, and great posts this week in honor of the our American Cowboy.

How this giveaway worked was if you had commented on my blog I compiled all of your names together to randomly select each winner, however there were not enough comments to go around for the amount of winners I had selected, so I also gathered names from the facebook likes, and comments on the event, as well as western writers of America group, Western book readers, Old West, and Western Movie groups as well. If you commented on my blog you won simple as that 13 comments for 13 books. Once all other names were compiled, I recruited my wife to randomly select without my knowledge to keep things fair, 7 more names to compile the 20 winners in this weekends giveaway. If you did win you will receive Laramie’s Code as soon as I have all email addresses in.  As promised you will also receive Laramie’s War as soon as it is complete, with all of the hard work this week to make sure things went smoothly, I did not get the time to collaborate the finish of the book with smashwords. I am hoping to have it complete no later than Aug 15th. Once completed all winners will receive their copy of that book as well. I want to apologize for that delay.  It would also behoove you to leave a quick comment here listing the Ebook format you need for the book, for your personal enjoyment. So without further adieu.
Saturdays winners are as follows:
Ron Scheer, Janna Shay, John the Critter, Diane Cantara, Lakenya Kolpits, Kathy Pooler, David Morris, Virginia Cambell,
Robert Pohle, and Sierra Delis.

Sundays winners are as follows:
Jim Olson, Tricia Ann Kralik, William McGee, Jodi Lee Stewart, Paty Jager, Brenda Heirs, Bill Henderson, Kimmie Cagaanan-Vavak, Kit Collings, and Cherie.

For delivery purposes of your ebook I need the following Emails.
Ron Scheer, Virginia Cambell, Robert Pohle, Jim Olson, Tricia Ann Kralik,William McGee, Jodi Lee Stewart, Kimmie Cagaanan-Vavak, and Kit Collings. If your name is not in this list, then I have your emails from your posts on the website. If you would like, I would also be honored to add each and every one of you,  to be included in my monthly newsletter for further news on, and my books, that is sent out the first monday of each month.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Be Honest, Be Fair, and Live By a Code.

You have to have a code. It doesn’t mean you have to wear a Stetson hat, or wear a pair of dusty Justin Boots. Heck you don’t even need Wrangler Jeans, but what you do need is a set of rules for yourself to live by. It doesn’t have to be J.P. Owens Code, or even John Wayne’s Code. You can write it yourself. All you need is a set of core values, that you can live by honestly. I always say be honest, be fair, and brave. Three words, that make up a core of who you are is all it takes. Best selling author Don Bendell stops in today, sharing his code of values, Welcome Don

Don Bendell’s CODE OF THE WEST:
• Cowboys should treat women like ladies, period.
• Cowboys fight fair, and only when they have to, and when they do have to fight, they win, period.
• You know exactly where you stand with a cowboy. There are no gray areas, only black and white, but not when it comes to skin color.
• A cowboy is only as good as his word.
• A cowboy protects his family, spread, and community.
• A cowboy will fight for, and take care of orphans, widows, and those who are oppressed.
• A cowboy will go out of his way to avoid a fight and is always willing to share his grub, campfire, and water with ya.’
• And finally; A cowboy believes in his God, and he believes in America and will fight and die to protect either.

As Don shares, I would also like to share an audio clip of my code and the Cowboy’s Prayer. Once again thank you all for coming this week to honor the National Day of the Cowboy.

Welcome everyone this is shotgun Bo Rivers, I want to thank you all for stopping by today. Today is the 8th annual
National Day of the Cowboy, and I wanted to do a little something different, I would like to share with you a
Cowboy’s Prayer, and The code that I live by everyday, written by James.p Owen in the book Cowboy Ethics, What wall
Street can learn from the code of the west. So if I could ask you to bow your head and PreyDear Heavenly Father, as a broken ole rodeo Cowboy, I ask…
Heavenly Father, I pause at this time,
mindful of the many blessings you have bestowed upon me.
I ask, Lord, that you will be with me in the arena of life.

I as  a cowboy of ethics, do not ask for special favors.
I don’t ask to draw around the chute fighting bull or horse, the steer that won’t lay,
or to never break the barrier.

I don’t even ask for all daylight runs.

I do ask Lord, that you will help me live my life here on earth as a cowboy,
in such a manner, that when I make that last inevitable ride, to the country up there,
where the grass grows lush, green, and stirrup high, and the water runs cool, clear, and deep,
that you’ll take me by the hand and say –

“Welcome to Heaven cowboy, your entry fees are paid.”

With this prayer, you must have a code to live by a set of standards in life and the one’s that I
choose to live by are

Live each day with courage.

Take pride in your work.

Always finish what you start.

Do what has to be done.

Be tough, but fair.

When you make a promise, keep it.

Ride for the brand.

Talk less and say more.

Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

Know where to draw the line.

You don’t have to be a cowboy to live by this code either, you may be a recovering addict or a prostitute,
maybe a science fiction author, no matter what you do in life you can live by this code, as i do. Thanks again,
and happy trails.

It isn’t much, and the gravel in my voice isn’t always a good sound but just a little something for you to enjoy

The Cowboy Song

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Happy Trails Until We Meet Again

This concludes our week long blogathon in honor of the National Day of the Cowboy, and I want to say that it went rather well.

I personally want to thank Steven Law, Ken Farmer, Larry Payne, J.R. Sanders, J.J. Devine, D.B. Jackson, Tyler Brentmore, Mathew Pizzolato, and Phil Dunlap for participating in this weeks Blogathon. We topped over 600 visits this week to honor the National Day of the Cowboy.

I would also like to thank Bethany Braley the founder of National Day of the Cowboy organization,for adding us to the calendar of events, and supporting our purpose as Western Authors, and look forward to helping her get New York, as one of the states to make it official as a day we can celebrate to honor the National Day of the Cowboy.

I also want to thank everyone who stopped by here, and on facebook to read each blog, it was wonderful to have you here on my site, and hope that you will continue to visit from time to time.

The free Ebook giveaway is still up for grabs, so feel free to get your comments in, due to the fact the comments were not at large as I had hoped. I plan on snagging some of the likes and comments from facebook as well. All contest winners will be announced on Sunday, 10 winners will be chosen on Saturday, and 10 on Sunday. Mathew Pizzolato is also running an Ebook giveaway, where he will announce his winners as well. So stay tuned to see if you are a winner. If you have been chosen I will need an email, and an Ebook format, so that I can send the books out Monday Morning, as I ride on over to Kathy Pooler’s Blog to share the heart of a cowboy, which begins a week long book tour.

For blog tour information log onto All the blogs, and websites that I will be featured on will be posted there throughout the weekend, as well as throughout the week. I will be sharing about my second self-published book Rodeo Dayz, a book of short stories, in which nine rodeo contestants share their experience in the rodeo, and a short history in NY that dates back to the early 1950’s, co-written by Donnie Baxter, Leo Martin, and Wayne Martin. I will also be promoting my brand new Ebook Series The Adventures of Laramie Taylor, Laramie’s Code, and Laramie’s War. These Ebooks are about Laramie Taylor’s life before Laramie’s Thunder, The Collins Crew.

I want to also announce our first sponsor in the National Day of the Cowboy blogathon, and book tour Leo and Jen Martin at the Double M Tack shop, and Double M Haunted Hayrides, the home of Scary Harry, an ghostly cowboy that haunts Terror Town with his bandits protecting the gold they stole, before the town demised some time ago. Thank You Jen and Leo for letting me advertise the National Day of the Cowboy blogathon, and the Read ’em Cowboy Barnes and Noble bookfair certificates.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The National Day of the Cowboy: An American Heritage

Today being our last guest post for the National Day of the Cowboy, I had  to save this Cowboy, for the end. J.R. Sanders is not only a western author, but he is one of many that are tied in deep in efforts to get Congress to recognize the National Day of the Cowboy throughout the United States. J.R. also hosts a Read em’ Cowboy event, which is geared towards the children. Children’s authors will do readings and other activities with kids, and a cowboy/cowgirl costume contest for the youngsters.  Along with the authors, there is live cowboy music, rodeo queens, an art display, living historians, roping demonstration, raffles, cowboy vittles in the B&N cafe, and more. Below a youngster participates in this wonderful event.

Read ’em Cowboy Participant

Thank you J.R. for all of the hard work that you put into the National Day of the Cowboy, and the American Heritage of the American Cowboy. Welcome.

There’s no other cultural or historical symbol as uniquely American as the cowboy.  In fact, if the U.S.A. could have only one symbol with which to define itself, there’s probably nothing that would represent us better.  All the things the cowboy stands for – freedom, independence, honor, hard work, pride, loyalty, patriotism – are all things that our country also stands for – or ought to, anyway.  So it makes perfect sense that there should be a day officially set aside to encourage every American to recognize and pay tribute to a vital part of our national heritage and identity.  To me, the question’s not really “Why should there be a National Day of the Cowboy?”; it’s “Why hasn’t there been one all along?”  (I mean, there’s a National Pie Day, for crying out loud – not that I have anything against pie).

Bethany Braley and the National Day of the Cowboy organization have been working tirelessly for several years now to get the day recognized permanently by the Federal government, as well as by individual states, and 2012 has been a landmark year in their efforts.  Earlier this year Wyoming became the first state to pass the NDOC resolution in perpetuity.  They were followed just last month by – wait for it – California.  Eight other states have either passed one-year resolutions or issued proclamations (Texas passed a two-year resolution) naming the fourth Saturday in July the National Day of the Cowboy.  Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.  NDOC continues its lobbying, with the eventual goal of getting the U.S. Congress to pass a permanent resolution.  It’s an uphill battle, but NDOC and its hardy crew of volunteers are a committed bunch.

And ultimately, what NDOC is doing is what we are all doing in various ways – trying to preserve a cherished history and tradition, and a

fans of these various pursuits, we’re all in this battle together.  We all support one another’s efforts.  If nobody ever read Western books, nobody would write them.  If nobody went to Western music events, nobody would play Western music.  If nobody watched Western movies and TV shows, nobody would produce them.  Yet people do read Westerns, and so people write them.  People do go to cowboy concerts, and buy CDs, and there are some fine Western performers carrying on their rich musical tradition.  No matter how many times Hollywood suits, or book publishers, have proclaimed the death of the Western, the Western refuses to ride into the sunset.  There’s a pretty simple and clear message in that.  There’s something in the American makeup that strongly identifies, even in this ultra-modern high-tech age, with our Western heritage, and those core values that it represents.  That’s what keeps the writers writing and the readers reading.  It’s why we do what we do, and why we love it so.

J.R. Sanders


J. R. Sanders is a native of Newton, Kansas, one of the original “wild and wooly” cowtowns.   His deep interest in Old West history dates back to childhood visits with his family to the Dalton Gang hideout, Abilene, and Dodge City.  J.R. has written feature articles for a variety of publications, among them Law & Order and Wild West.  His children’s book, The Littlest Wrangler, was released by Moonlight Mesa Associates in June, 2010, and has been adopted for use in the educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  His next book, Some Gave All: Forgotten Old West Lawmen Who Died with Their Boots On, is due to be published by Moonlight Mesa Associates in 2013.

J.R. is a member of the Western Writers of America, Western Fictioneers and the Wild West History Association.  He lives in Southern California with his wife, Rose, and dog, Monte.

To read J.R.’s Book The Littlest Wrangler visit his  Website at:

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Code of the West: A Cowboy’s Law

Larry Payne

We are nearing the end of the National Day of the Cowboy blogathon,  and I thought I it was fitting to include the Code of the West.  Joining us today sharing that Code is, Larry Payne, A new found western author of the Ride The Savage Lands. Welcome Larry and thank you for stopping by for this weeks blogathon.

The Code Of The West

John Wayne once said, “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.”

Back in the day, when men were working on settling the west, a lack of written law made it necessary to make some of their own, rules of behavior, if you will. This “Code Of The West” was a gentleman’s agreement, of sorts, as rules to live by. They were never written, but always respected. They might break every written law of the territory or government, but took pride in upholding their code.

The Code

* Don’t inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
• Never steal another man’s horse. A horse thief pays with his life.
• Defend yourself whenever necessary.
• Look out for your own.
• Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
• Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
• Don’t make a threat without expecting the consequences.
• Never pass anyone on the trail without saying “Howdy”.
• When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get into shooting range.
• Don’t wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting.
• After you pass someone on the trail, don’t look back at him. It implies you don’t trust him.
• Riding another man’s horse without permission is nearly as bas as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man’s horse.
• Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
• A cowboy doesn’t talk much, he saves his breath for breathing.
• No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse’s needs before your own and get your horse some feed before you eat.
• Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.
• Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
• Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand to show your friendly intentions.
• Do not practice ingratitude.
• A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do. Cowboys hate quitters.
• Always be courageous. Cowards aren’t tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.
• A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
• Never try on another man’s hat.
• Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. Same was true for anyone who joined the cowboys on the range.
• Give your enemy a fighting chance.
• Never wake another man by shaking or touching him. He might wake suddenly and shoot you.
• Real cowboys are modest. A braggert is not tolerated.
• Be there fro a friend when he needs you.
• Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and blacklisting.
• A cowboy is loyal to his brand, to his friends and those he rides with.
• Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also known as “the rattlesnake code”. Always warn before you strike. But, it could be ignored if you were being stalked.
• Never shoot a woman no matter what.
• Consideration for others is central to the code.
• Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
• Honesty is absolute. Your word is your bond. A handshake is more binding than a contract.
• Live by the Golden Rule.

The National Day Of The Cowboy is long overdue.  Men that helped a scarred nation recover from a war that pitted brother against brother and father against son. From moving thousands of cattle along the trails from The Chisholm to the Oregon, to exploring unknown ranges for the railroads, they opened up a new land from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. And through my stories I salute the men, and sometimes women, who braved a harsh and brutal environment in their quest for a better life for themselves and those who would follow.

   The National Day Of The Cowboy, a fitting way to say…”Thanks fer getting’ ‘er done, boys.”

Ride the Savage Land

Bio: Larry Payne grew up in East Chicago, IN and now resides in Apache Junction, AZ with his wife, Susan, and their two cats, Molly and Emily.
He is a US Navy veteran where he served as a Hospital Corpsman and is employed at Banner Heart Hospital, in Mesa, AZ, as a Cardiac Monitor Technician.
His novella, Ride The Savage Land, will be published as an e-book by Wild Child Publishing. The release date is yet to be determined.

You can find out more about Larry’s short stories on his Amazon author page: Author Central

Larry’s website:
Larry’s Blog:
Tweet him: @LarryPayne
Visit Him On Facebook: Facebook

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Symbol of America: The Cowboy

While in my travels of searching for western authors to assist me in celebrating the National Day of the Cowboy, I stumbled onto a gentleman that surely knows his way around a western, not only in writing them, but starring in them as well. I would like to give a good warm welcome to Ken Farmer, or “Deputy Kyle” as in the 1983 film Silverado. Welcome Ken.

Ken Farmer

The Cowboy is just as important to our nation’s heritage as the pilgrims, the revolution and the civil war.  In fact, in many parts of the world, the Old West Cowboy IS the symbol of America. Having been born in the early ‘40s, I grew up with westerns. First the Saturday double feature matinee where we waited for the Durango Kid, Red Ryder, Hoppy serials or The Three Mesquiteers, Tim Holt, Johnny Mack Brown, Gene and Roy movies. Then later on in the ‘50s, there was that little box we called the TV. Yep, grew up with the Cowboy. Didn’t realize at the time, that those movies and TV shows were actually Hollywood’s glamorized version of the Old West.

It wasn’t until I started doing research for writing screenplays that I learned about the “real” Old West—that there weren’t tied-down gun rigs or shoot-outs in the street at high noon. Oh, sure there were gunfighters, bounty hunters mostly who would just as soon shoot you in the back as not or guns for hire. Most gunfights took place at a distance. The dime novels had a great deal to do with the Old West myths, like Wyatt Earp, who, according to actual records and newspaper accounts (excluding his own versions), never killed anyone. Did a lot of pistol-whipping, though. Carried his gun in a leather-lined pocket in his coat, not in a holster. Again, so much for Hollowood.

Deputy US Marshall James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok got a lot of dime novel play that spiced up his reputation, but there was a Deputy US Marshall in the late 1800s that far out-shown Hickok as a lawman. He killed twice as many men in the line of duty as “Wild Bill”, served over 3,000 felony warrants, was never wounded even though he had his hat shot off, his reins shot in two, his gun belt shot off and a button shot off the front of his vest. He served over 32 years as a Deputy US Marshal and is still considered to this day to be the best Deputy US Marshal in the long and storied history of the Marshal’s Service. The reason he didn’t have the notoriety at the time was…he was black. He was a former slave and the first black Deputy US Marshal appointed west of the Mississippi. His name was Bass Reeves.

My writing partner, Buck Stienke and I decided that Bass would be the focus of our first deviation from our modern-day military action series novels about the Black Eagle Force we had been writing. After three Black Eagle Force novels, we decided to do an accurate historical fiction western adapted from a screen play I had written back in the ‘80s called the Tumbleweed Wagon. We elected to title the novel, The Nations.

The synopsis is as follows:

THE NATIONS also known as “Indian Territory”, “Robber’s Roost” and “No-Man’s Land”, was regarded in the latter part

The Nations

of the 19th century as the bloodiest and most dangerous place in the world.  It was a refuge for outlaws men from all over the North American continent. There were only 200 Deputy US Marshals made up of whites, blacks and Indian to police the vast area of 74,000 square miles under Federal Judge Issac C. Parker, known as the hanging judge. The Nations is based on actual cases and is crammed full of excitement, suspense and the everyday humor that develops between men as they live and fight and sometimes die together. From the action and dialogue, the guns, wardrobe and historical authenticity, The Nations paints a story of the Old West  as it really was.

It is the year 1885. A notorious band of outlaws, known as the “Larson Gang”, has been terrorizing Arkansas, Missouri and the Nations for years. When they kill five Deputy Marshals while rescuing Ben Larson, the vicious younger brother of the leader Wes Larson—it is too much for Judge Parker. He orders an all-out concerted effort to capture the Larson Gang and bring them to justice. “If  they will not respect the law; then by God we will make them fear it.”

Black Marshal Bass Reeves, the first black marshal west of the Mississippi, and white Marshals Jack McGann, Tobe Bassett and John L. Patrick recapture the youngest member of the gang, Ben Larson, a true sociopath. Along with two Indian Police, known as Lighthorse, the lawmen begin the treacherous journey to Fort Smith with their prisoners—Preacher Budlow, a gospel quoting, whiskey running and somewhat demented old scalawag, Jed Neal, a tough, but honorable black man mistakenly accused of killing a cowboy on the trail, and Ben—shackled to the bed of the Tumbleweed Wagon.

In the small town of Checotah, the Marshals encounter the Larson gang unexpectedly. A wild gun battle ensues and when the smoke clears, all of the outlaws are dead, except Ben, who does indeed get to Fort Smith to stand trial under Judge Parker.

“It is not the severity of the punishment that is the deterrent… but the certainty of it.” – Judge Issac C. Parker.

The Nations will be released 20 July, look for it. You can order signed copies from Ken & Buck for $14.95 at we believe there should be a National Day of the Cowboy? Absolutely! Nothing is more “American” than the Cowboy. ‘Nuff said.

Short Bios of Ken Farmer and Buck Stienke.

Ken Farmer, served in the Marine Corps and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. Ken has been a professional actor/director/writer for over forty years with memorable roles in Silverado, Friday Night Lights and The Newton Boys, wrote and directed Rockabilly Baby. He was also the OC an VO spokesman for Wolf Brand Chili for over eight years and participated in the Ben Johnson Pro-Celebrity Rodeos until Ben’s death in ‘96.

            Buck Stienke is a former fighter pilot and retired captain from Delta Airlines. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, he was also executive producer for the award-winning film Rockabilly Baby and co-author of five novels with Ken Farmer.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Cowboy: A Genuine American Hero

In honoring the Cowboy, I had to ask #1 Best Selling author Steven Law to participate, and to my huge surprise he said yes, without skipping a beat. I would like to welcome Steven Law to my blog, and thank him for a riveting guest post to honor the National Day of the Cowboy. Welcome Steven.

When I was a kid growing up on our Iowa farm, I dreamed of being two things: a professional baseball player and a cowboy.  I didn’t know any professional baseball players, but I did know a few cowboys. My grandfather and father were in the cattle business, so they, technically, were a modern version of that cowboy persona. I helped them work and feed cattle, mend fences, work the hay fields, and spent many a Saturday at cattle auctions. That was “cowboyin’” our way.

Steven Law

The modern day cowboy is also associated with rodeo and roughstock riding. When I’m around those guys I think about the cowboys I know and knew, and how today’s cowboy has transcended from a stigma they received after fifty-plus years of misrepresentation from Hollywood. When I think about this and what National Day of the Cowboy is accomplishing with their efforts, I am relieved that the American cowboy is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Though historically the cowboy lifestyle and persona was adopted by Mexican vaqueros, it was the American cowboy who settled and tamed the American West. There is some debate about when the American cowboy culture actually began, whether it was during the Lewis and Clark or Mountain Man era, the Gold Rush, the days of the Santa Fe or Oregon Trail, or after those Civil War veterans stopped shooting Yankees and Rebs and started rounding up stray cattle in Texas. But I don’t think that really matters.

What the American cowboy is known for is durability, stamina, ruggedness, modesty, and respect.  He faced monumental hardships and the worst type of evil, but victory belonged to him. He treated women with gentleness and grace, and for all that he accomplished his triumph truly belonged to them. He was not just a white man, but a man of many colors. And the true American cowboy did not mistreat or misrepresent himself to the real Americans who were already here. They were his mentors, his spiritual compass, his brothers in peace and in arms.

What the American cowboy is not… he is not the hat or the boots, or the guns, the horse he rides, the pickup he drives. He is not the man who chews or smokes tobacco, drinks beer or whiskey, or eats biscuits and beans. He is not six-foot-five and bullet-proof, nor is his hide made of leather. Cowboy is his heart, his mind, and makes up the blood that flows through his veins and shines through in that genuine cowboy way.

For guys like me, I don’t need a reason to celebrate the American cowboy. I know who they are, where they are, and where they came from. But there are people who don’t, who have forgotten, and our children need to be educated about why and how America came to be and the role the cowboy played. For the same reason we have a presidents day, a day for mothers, fathers, and grandparents, and a day for Martin Luther King, we need a day for the cowboy. They are all significant contributors to what has made America great. They are all American heroes.

True Father

Please join me and others as we celebrate the American cowboy, and support National Day of the Cowboy and their efforts to preserve our pioneer heritage and cowboy culture.

About Steven Law:

Steven Law is the #1 best-selling author of Yuma Gold and The True Father, and the founder and president of the ReadWest Foundation, Inc. Visit his website at

You can also find Steven Law’s books via

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Where Did All the Cowboy’s Go?

When I began asking western authors and writers to guest post on my blog to honor the National Day of the Cowboy, I had to ask western author and enthusiast Phil Dunlap. His well rounded history of western novels have a great impact on the western genre, and his knowledge of the American Heritage is well shared abroad.
Welcome Phil, and thank you for your great contribution to the National Day of the Cowboy Blogathon.

When I was in my impressionable youth, I lived for the weekends. Every Saturday was          another double-feature at the movies.  The Western movies. I’d get popcorn and a Coke and scoot down in the middle row and take up residence for the next two or three hours. All my heroes were cowboys or sheriffs or gunslingers or, well, you get the picture. As I got older, and finished high school, went to college, got my first real job, I just naturally figured I’d just move on and adopt a new set of heroes.

Problem was that it didn’t happen that way. I was somehow unable to mentally separate myself from the dusty trails and boulder-laden desert of the southwest. Oh I had other interests, of course: illustrating, flying, graphic design, all of which I immersed myself in to one degree or another. And I seemed to be sailing along quite well, until I actually went out west and walked among those very same boulders, cacti, and hot, dry sands that had held my interest for so long. And the mountains, those incredible mountains. The renewal of all those wonderful dreams of being on the streets of Tombstone or hunkered down behind a rise to await the inevitable ambush from Apaches, or riding a horse up and down the arroyos and across dry riverbeds in pursuit of outlaws. There’s even a smell of something that lingers just out of reach, it’s the smell of life and death, and it whisks you off to a time when good and evil clashed so demonstrably that you couldn’t escape the clarity of its presence. And maybe just a hint of fear that it might catch up to you.

So, today I write Western novels. Why? Is it really that I’m still just a cowboy at heart? If that’s true, I know I need to reach out to all the other cowboys to share what I love about the West. Wouldn’t I like everyone to read my books and get caught up in the excitement of the early gunfighters, Indians, ranchers, and railroaders? You bet. And that’s why I’m here. Because, while to some it may seem a stretch, I think we’re all cowboys. We all love to ride in a convertible with the top down, race along on a motorcycle, or jog on a mountain trail in the cool morning air. Just like cowboys. Therefore, In my mind, every single one of us is a cowboy at heart. I know I am.

And that brings us to the National Day of the Cowboy, which will be celebrated July 28, 2012. Yep, just around the corner. It’s a celebration of all that’s the old West, but it’s also about the spirit that lingers in us all. It’s the spirit that drove men to do marvelous things in the most dangerous conditions imaginable in an effort to accomplish a dream: to build a nation. And they did. Those hardy pioneers–the cowboys, ranchers, farmers, railroaders and merchants–all worked tirelessly together to build what we enjoy today: the greatest nation in the world. And, by golly, we’re still doing it.


Phil Dunlap is the author of eight published Western novels (with three more contracted for). He’s been a TV Director, free-lance journalist (Newspapers and magazines), graphic designer, professional pilot/flight instructor, and an advertising agency executive. He has two series: US Marshal Piedmont Kelly (Avalon Books,
soon to be Amazon Encore), and his latest books are in the Sheriff Cotton Burke series from
Berkley Books (PenguinUSA). To purchase Cotton’s Law click the image provided for my book on

I hope you’ll visit my website at: and peruse my books, events, and tidbits. My blog can be accessed at:

You can also find Phil on his Amazon author central Phil Dunlap.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Celebrating the Skills, Protecting the Dream

I also had the chance to chat with Tyler Brentmore, a newly published western author, and his take on the heritage of the American Cowboy. Welcome Tyler.

Heritage Days are not a new phenomenon, and in some parts of the West I’ve traveled through locals would be hard-pressed to identify when normal life turned into heritage. The beds may have gotten softer, communications a mite easier, but a working ranch still needs its working men, and most of those are cowboys.

In my adopted second state of New Mexico there are around 6,800 stock-raising ranches. Including their support services, their businesses employ 18,000 people and pump over $2bn into the economy. This isn’t heritage, it’s normal life.

Over in Quay County, where the red dirt roads grid out the original surveyor’s one mile sections, feet are still pushed into boots, hats onto heads, at a time of the morning most town-dwellers don’t know exists. Breakfast comes later.

I mention to my host the stop-start tire dust threading its way towards us across the flat landscape. He doesn’t even lift his gaze. “Oh, that’ll be Henry.” State news might arrive through the television or radio, but the mail comes from a neighbor with a USPS sticker in the cracked windshield of his pickup. If Henry drops it in the mailbox or stops to collect the mail-to-go, there might be a wave. If he drives up to the ranch house he’s bringing more than letter news and everyone downs tools. It’s been a system that worked before telephones and email, and if it ain’t broke there’s no reason to fix it.

Henry carries more than mail and news, he carries goodwill and quiet concern. He has a standing invitation to collect vegetables from the garden which he’ll drop off later on his route – to the recently bereaved, to the returnee from surgery – and he’ll hear how things are over a coffee and pass on what’s needed. In a widespread community of fiercely independent people, I can see the benefit. It’s the reason my host is a First Responder EMT.

On Sunday we ride to the family church, a modern, airy building. I join in with the hymns, I listen to the sermon. It’s the notices that catch my ear, the community pulling together, encouraging their young by fundraising to augment a scholarship, congratulating a junior rodeo rider, supporting the family of a disabled serviceman. Over refreshments I hear plans to lend equipment and manpower, to share a cost. There’s talk of travel both near and far, of books read, jokes shared.

Then we’re out in the parking lot and I’m admiring the red-painted one-room schoolhouse strategically set on trimmed grass opposite its sprawling modern equivalent. “I was schooled there,” says the beaming woman who’d earlier poured coffee, “and I went to college.” I don’t doubt it, the way I know she’s told the story to grade students across the way. We should all seed a dream.

We ride out towards The Caprock where the wind turns the turbine blades. We’re heading for a single withered tree, all that’s left of a fruit garden. Grandparents lived here, raised stock, grew corn, taught the next generation how to work with the land, with the animals. The foundation line of their home remains plain in the thin dirt. It’s hardly bigger than the pickup we’ve traveled in. We talk of the dust bowl, of tornados, of hailstorms. But we talk, too, of childhood memories, of swinging from the tree, of sitting on the porch on Grandpa’s knee watching sunsets that filled the sky with fire and took away the breath.

Writers like me ill-serve these people. We focus on the notorious, the sensational. Sure, they were here: Black Jack Ketchum roamed these lands, William H Bonney, Dave Rudabaugh and many more. But such as these were far outnumbered by those pioneering men and women who did not try to take the easy route, those who kept to their purpose with courage and determination in the face of adversity, those who could, and still do, seal a deal on the shake of a hand and a look eye-to-eye. It is their traits that we write into our fictional heroes, when such heroes and heroines surround us every day.

If you are planning to enjoy a BBQ on Saturday, or shout for the barrel-racers, or just listen to a Country tune as you drive through landscapes to bless the eye, give your support to the National Day of the Cowboy. Deep down its values are yours.

Tyler Brentmore writes historical Western fiction. The first, Dead Men’s Fingers, follows a man as he finds the inner strength to face his past and do what’s right to protect his family.

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Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cowboy: An Iconic Symbol of American History

I had a chance to talk to several western genre authors, and writers about their feelings on the National day of the Cowboy, and it becoming a national day of recognition of our American heritage and the American Cowboy’s Heritage. During my interviews, and conversations with many of the authors and writers, I expressed how I would like to honor the National Day of the Cowboy by posting our personal feelings on the rich history that we know and love to write about. I feel it is important that our readers see, that we as authors want to support the movement in recognizing the Cowboy as a day we celebrate here in America.  I was able to get nine of the authors I spoke with, to guest post on my blog to honor the Day of the Cowboy. This week here on my blog, as well as my very good friend, and co-author Tim Bultman’s blog at  will be sharing  and honoring the true history of our country,and the true and rich history of our American Cowboy as it was when the Cowboy paved the way for America.

This Morning I would like to introduce a western wordslinger, as he is known Mathew Pizzolato. Hello Matt, What is your take on the iconic symbol of the American Cowboy.

Matthew Pizzolato

There are few things in this world that are unique to this country. The Western genre as a whole and the cowboy in particular go hand in hand as symbols that represent everything that is American.

The cowboy that rode across the American West helped to settle this country. He braved Indian attack, wild horses, stampedes, drowning and every other form of horrible death imaginable. The cowboy’s time came and went, but it was glorious while it lasted. While it was a period of danger and death, it was also one of loyalty and honor.

The cowboy often rode from can-see till can’t-see and faced death every second he was in the saddle. In fact, many of them lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries. It was said one could tell a cowboy by his missing fingers or a gimp leg.

While he faced death every day, the cowboy was a man of honor, integrity and loyalty. He rode for the brand and was loyal until death. When he gave his word, he kept it no matter the consequences. Most of all, the cowboy was self reliant. He depended on no one but himself to get the job done.

The cowboy is a stereotype that transcended gender and ethnicity and encompassed all political affiliation. All cowboys and cowgirls adhered to a strict personal code that has quietly slipped away from popular American consciousness.

As a Western writer, I strive to keep the spirit of the cowboy and the American West alive in my work. It is my way of honoring those brave and hardy souls who made this country great. My characters, whether they are cowboys, lawmen or outlaws, exemplify the cowboy’s spirit of honor, integrity and loyalty.

Perhaps former president George W. Bush best described the meaning of the National Day of the Cowboy. “We celebrate the Cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The Cowboy’s love of the land and love of the country are examples for all Americans.”

Modern American society has fallen away from the virtues that the cowboy held dear and would benefit from being made aware of the cowboy’s lifestyle, of his values and of his personal code. That is why the National Day of the Cowboy is so important.

It honors an icon that lives on in the hearts and minds of those who read and write Westerns and is exemplified everyday by those modern day cowboys and cowgirls who live and work on ranches in all 50 states, not to mention those who participate in rodeos all around the world.

The National Day of the Cowboy brings to the forefront the values that shaped this country and it honors a true American legend – the cowboy, who gave his blood, sweat and tears and many of them their lives, to those of us alive today and it’s something we shouldn’t forget.

By Matthew Pizzolato

Matthew Pizzolato is a member of Western Fictioneers. His short story collection, THE WANTED MAN, is available for the Amazon Kindle and as a Barnes and Noble NOOK BOOK. His fiction has been published online and in print in such publications as: BEAT to a PULP!, The Copperfield Review, PULP MODERN, Frontier Tales Magazine, The Pink Chameleon Online, Perpetual Magazine, Long Story Short, and The Storyteller. He writes a weekly NASCAR column for Insider Racing News and is a contributing writer for Matthew can be contacted via his personal website: or he can be found on Twitter @mattpizzolato. When he’s not writing, Matthew is the Editor-in-Chief and webmaster of The Western Online.

Amazon Book Link: The Wanted Man

My Blog: The Western Wordslinger

My Facebook Page:

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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