If you’re stopping by for Part Eight of the Widow’s Lawman, I’m so sorry it’s delayed. Life interfered with writing and I couldn’t get the chapter to turn out like Jake or Ellie wanted or I was happy publishing. I’m working on it, though, and hope to have it to you early this week!

Thanks for not resortin’ to a hemp party!

–Kirsten Lynn




YEEEEE-HAAAW!! GEM SIVAD is back at the campfire with her newest Eclipse Heat release, TROUBLE IN DISGUISE !! I haven’t seen this much excitement round the fire since a jackrabbit ran through camp and one of the hounds took after it and knocked over Cookie’s bean pot!! Why some of the boys got so worked up they went and took a bath before they thought better of it! I can’t wait to read Deacon and Miri’s story and you won’t want to miss out on this one folks!

I’ll be away from camp for a bit today, but I’ll check in from time to time. Meanwhile, Cookie will be here keeping the coffee hot and the beans burned (and sidlin’ up to Gem the wily ol’ coot).

Enough from me, here’s Gem and her HAWT new release!  

Good morning, Kirsten. Pour a cup of brew and help me celebrate the release of the fifth title in my Eclipse Heat series—Trouble In Disguise! As soon as my coffee mugs arrive, I’m sending one your way. J And—since I mentioned mugs—the winner of my Wild and Wicked Cowboys  Eclipse Heat mug give away is *drum roll…* Cindy H. Congrats Cindy!!

If guests dropping by the campfire today leave comments, I’ll give away another mug.

 TID Mugs with EH wrap (small)

Trouble In Disguise is a steamy historical western with a former minister as the hero. It took me a while to figure out where and with whom Robert “the Deacon” McCallister would find love. But after revisions, edits, more revisions and painful cuts (picture doing surgery on your own child) my third McCallister bounty hunter is here. J Since we’re already at the campfire, I’d like to share a scene.



Even before Ketchum trotted to Possum’s side and sat down, Miri knew they were being followed. Since she preferred knowing who was on her trail, she figured it was time to find out. She camped for the night, built a small fire and made a show of grooming Possum before fading into the surrounding shadows with Ketchum leading the way in their investigation. Any predators lurking in her path scurried away at the approach of the big wolf guiding her.

She and Ketchum were squirming on their bellies on the ground using the twilight and half darkness for cover when her quarry struck a lucifer and lit his cigar.

“Lose something?” Deacon drawled.

Miri felt like a fool. Ketchum growled at the same time his tail thumped. Evidently her wolf couldn’t decide whether to bite Deacon McCallister or lick him. Miri had the same problem. She stood and brushed the dirt off her buckskins before she answered in Beau’s voice, “You followin’ me fer a reason, McCallister?”

“I decided to hold back from coming into your camp for the night until you’d made a fire and put the coffee on. Catch.”

Miri caught the jack he tossed.

“I brought supper. You cook.”

“Maybe I don’t want company.”

“Get used to it. Until we find the counterfeiter’s plates, we’re partnering.” Deacon delivered his astonishing opinion before he grunted and rode past her toward her camp, leaving her standing in the dark holding a dead rabbit.

“Ketchum,” she muttered in her best Beau voice, “I think we’re looking at trouble. What say you?” The big wolf whined, nudging the rabbit in her hand and reminding her to get moving. Now this was a quandary for certain. She’d ridden away to put distance between her and Deacon McCallister and he’d followed her.

I don’t think I can sleep across from him and not crawl into his bedroll. She groaned. Darn it, she’d been planning on stretching out by the fire and reliving her Pleasure Dome experiences. Now here was the real-life version of Deacon stomping all over those plans as he bullied his way into her camp, dogging Beauregard’s heels and impeding Miri’s happy dreams.

Her theory that one taste of Deacon would be enough was not proving true. She swallowed, trying to tamp down her lust. Reminding herself to focus on reclaiming her prisoner, she returned to camp where Deacon had made himself at home. He’d already removed his saddle and commenced brushing down his horse when she and Ketchum entered the camp.

“McCallister, you’ve got a lot of nerve showing up here.” She threw the rabbit back at him. “I’ve got my own food.”

“So be it,” he agreed amiably enough. He didn’t say another word.

Miri pulled her hardtack and jerky from her saddle bags and sat by her fire, daring him to pour himself a cup of her coffee. She was mesmerized by her proximity to the man who simultaneously enraged and aroused her.

She chewed her tough jerky watching as Deacon deftly skinned, cleaned and spit the carcass of the rabbit. Then he set the meat aside to build his own fire. He finished grooming his horse as the flames burned low enough for cooking.

Using a metal rod he pulled from his saddle bag, Deacon propped the meat over the coals, rotating the spit and browning the meat on all sides. Juice sizzled as it dropped on the fire. Miri’s stomach growled as she watched. It was almost less torture to look at Deacon.

Whiskers had grown back, covering the lower half of his face. The new growth looked more black than red in the half light of camp. She shivered and hunched closer to her fire, remembering how she’d watched him shave his beard off. Desperately she snarled in Beauregard’s meanest tone, “McCallister, I don’t know what yer up to, but I’m guessing it ain’t to my benefit.”

“Sure it is. You think too small, Beauregard. I’m going to help you find the plates, catch a gang of counterfeiters and collect the bounty on all of them. In return for my help, you’re going to introduce me to the young woman I met at the Pleasure Dome.”

Miri choked so hard on her biscuit she spilled her coffee. Deacon crossed the space between them and thumped her back until she wheezed and quit coughing. Then he filled his cup with her coffee, handed her a plate with a piece of rabbit meat on it and retreated to his side of the camp.

Well don’t that beat all? I guess he was partial to how it felt too. But I can’t very well say hello, Deacon. Nice seeing you again. By the way, I’m a female…


 Eclipse Heat series

Since both his partners have married and retired from the hunt, Deacon McCallister is alone when he visits the Pleasure Dome, an infamous brothel in Fort Worth’s Hell’s Half Acre. He’s tracking a counterfeiter but what he finds is TROUBLE—dressed in a man’s ruffled shirt and nothing more.


Bounty hunter Miracle Beauregard pretends to be male, calls herself Beau and for years has fooled the general public concerning her gender. But underneath Miri’s disguise, beats a feminine heart in lust for Deacon McCallister. Though she spends a lot of time dreaming about her rival, she never expects to act upon her longings.


When Miri follows an outlaw to the fanciest whorehouse in Texas and crosses paths with her heart’s desire, she trades her buckskins for bare skin to play the part of Deacon’s paid companion.


Inside Scoop: Miri figures wrong when she thinks one taste of Deacon will be enough and quickly discovers her undercover lover has forever on his mind.

A Romantica®/Lawless erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave


If you enjoyed the excerpt from Trouble In Disguise, it releases this morning from Ellora’s Cave. Later today it should be available at Amazon so I’m also posting the link for my Gem Sivad Amazon page.

Thanks so much for sharing your campfire today, Kirsten.


___________Gem Sivad___________

Web Twitter / FB / Amazon





Howdy Folks!! Welcome to the campfire! Cookie has the coffee hot and the biscuits hard as a rock…Aw, come don’t go skulkin’ away ya ol’ so and so! **rolls eyes**

Well, y’all didn’t stop by to listen to me and my ornery cook carryin’ on. We’ve dusted off the best hollowed out logs and spit and polished our boots to celebrate Kat Flannery’s new release LAKOTA HONOR!!

Don’t miss out on this one folks! It’s a Western with an alpha hero, a heroine with healing powers and a fight for true love…It’s got everything! 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00066]


Bestselling Western Romance author, Kat Flannery takes you on an exciting journey with the release of her new Historical Paranormal Romance, Lakota Honor.


Fate has brought them together, but will a promise tear them apart?

In the small town of Willow Creek, Colorado, Nora Rushton spends most of her days locked up in her home with a father who resents her and fighting off unwanted marriage proposals from the wealthy Elwood Calhoun. Marked as a witch, Nora must hide her healing powers from those who wish to destroy all the witkowin—crazy women. What she doesn’t know is that a bounty hunter is hot on her trail.

Lakota native Otakatay has an obligation to fulfill. He has been hired to kill the witkowin. In a time when race and difference are a threat and innocence holds no ground, courage, love and honor will bring Nora and Otakatay together as they fight for their freedom. Will the desire to fulfill his promise drive Otakatay to kill Nora? Or will the kindness he sees in her blue eyes push him to be the man he once was?



“Transport back to the old west with this paranormal historical, and its alpha hero, and a heroine hiding her secret talents.”

—Shannon Donnelly, author of the Mackenzie Solomon Urban Fantasy series


“Ms. Flannery doesn’t shy away from writing gritty scenes or about unpleasant topics…That’s what good writing is all about—bringing out strong emotions in a reader.”

—Peggy L. Henderson, bestselling author of the Yellowstone Romance Series


“Those who relish the conflict of a heroic half-breed trapped between the white man’s world and the Indian will fall in love with LAKOTA HONOR.”

—Cindy Nord, author of No Greater Glory


“LAKOTA HONOR weaves a fast paced and beautiful prose that lures you through every chapter and leaves you wanting more.

—Erika Knudsen, paranormal author of Monarchy of Blood







Colorado Mountains, 1880


The blade slicing his throat made no sound, but the dead body hitting the ground did. With no time to stop, he hurried through the dark tunnel until he reached the ladder leading out of the shaft.

 He’d been two hundred feet below ground for ten days, with no food and little water. Weak and woozy, he stared up the ladder. He’d have to climb it and it wasn’t going to be easy. He wiped the bloody blade on his torn pants and placed it between his teeth. Scraped knuckles and unwashed hands gripped the wooden rung.

The earth swayed. He closed his eyes and forced the spinning in his head to cease. One thin bronzed leg lifted and came down wobbly. He waited until his leg stopped shaking before he climbed another rung. Each step caused pain, but was paired with determination. He made it to the top faster than he’d thought he would. The sky was black and the air was cool, but fresh. Thank goodness it was fresh.

 He took two long breaths before he emerged from the hole. The smell from below ground still lingered in his nostrils; unwashed bodies, feces and mangy rats. His stomach pitched. He tugged at the rope around his hands. There had been no time to chew the thick bands around his wrists when he’d planned his escape. It was better to run than crawl, and he chewed through the strips that bound his feet instead. There would be time to free his wrists later.

He pressed his body against the mountain and inched toward the shack. He frowned. A guard stood at the entrance to where they were. The blade from the knife pinched his lip, cutting the thin skin and he tasted blood. He needed to get in there. He needed to say goodbye. He needed to make a promise.

 The tower bell rang mercilessly. There was no time left. He pushed away from the rocky wall, dropped the knife from his mouth into his bound hands, aimed and threw it. The dagger dug into the man’s chest. He ran over, pulled the blade from the guard and quickly slid it across his throat. The guard bled out in seconds.

He tapped the barred window on the north side of the dilapidated shack. The time seemed to stretch. He glanced at the large house not fifty yards from where he stood. He would come back, and he would kill the bastard inside.

He tapped again, harder this time, and heard the weak steps of those like him shuffling from inside. The window slid open, and a small hand slipped out.

“Toksha ake—I shall see you again,” he whispered in Lakota.

The hand squeezed his once, twice and on the third time held tight before it let go and disappeared inside the room.

A tear slipped from his dark eyes, and his hand, still on the window sill, balled into a fist. He swallowed past the sob and felt the burn in his throat. His chest ached for what he was leaving behind. He would survive, and he would return.

Men shouted to his right, and he crouched down low. He took one last look around and fled into the cover of the forest.


2011-08-11 09.19.24BIO

Kat Flannery has loved writing ever since she was a girl. She is often seen jotting her ideas down in a little black book. When not writing, or researching, Kat enjoys snuggling on her couch with a hot chocolate and a great book.

Her first novel, CHASING CLOVERS became an Amazon’s bestseller in Historical and Western romance. This is Kat’s second book, and she is currently hard at work on the third.

When not focusing on her creative passions, Kat is busy with her three boys and doting husband.


Kat’s website

Kat’s blog


YEEE-HAW!!!  Thank y’all so much for comin’ by the campfire, during the Cowboys and Lawmen blog hop! We had ourselves a real fandango and it was a pleasure meetin’ so many nice people! Hope y’all will come back and read the rest of THE WIDOW’S LAWMAN.  If nothin’ else to support Sheriff Avery…that boy’s gonna need it. 🙂  Well I dug deep into my Stetson and the winner of the $10 Amazon Card is….


I’ll be sending you an email, Shadow, so be on the look out! And check your Spam folder. If ya don’t hear from me by the end of today give me a holler here on the “Contact Me” page!

And don’t forget, everyone, be on the lookout to see if you won the Grand Prize!!!

See y’all soon!!

–Kirsten Lynn










HOWDY! Welcome to the campfire! Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself to home. Find a seat on a hollowed out log, a bedroll spread on the ground, or a sexy cowboy’s lap!  😉   I write spicy Western Historical Romances, and I LOVE talking about cowboys and lawmen from the past, when the West was wild in all sorts of delicious ways (or current sexy cowboys and lawmen, I’m not particular).

I’m not published, YET, so I’m sorry I can’t offer a free book, BUT don’t let it be said we’re cheap here on the trail. For one lucky commenter I’m offering a $10 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N, winner’s choice!! And of course, all commenters will have a chance at the Grand Prize…A $100 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N!!!!

BUT that’s not all…Cookie show them what else we have…Oh fine, I’ll do it myself…Since y’all so generously stopped by, I’m giving a preview of my next FREE READ to be featured here starting May 11, 2013!! So keep on reading to the end of the post!  If you’re new to the site, I’ve published two free reads here, “Race to Marry” and “Christmas Stroll” please take a look.

OH and if you’re new Cookie is my sidekick and I don’t keep him around for his biscuits…if ya get my drift.

Okay enough jabberin’ let’s get to the reason y’all stopped by…

What’s fun about writing lawmen in the old west is they were a colorful bunch, and often chosen from a lawless bunch.  A writer can bring these dichotomies into Western romances to create multidimensional heroes.  All but two of my stories take place in Wyoming. It’s where I grew up, where I returned after a brief absence, and the place I love.  Most of Wyoming’s early lawmen were men with less than desirable pasts who were elected because: 

1.) A town wanted a man who would look the other way regarding other nefarious deeds

2.) The best way to catch a thief is to hire a man who knows how they think

3.) These were men were respected or feared enough to keep law and order

One Wyoming lawman had all these characteristics and his life reads like a great plot for a book. This was William Galispie “Red” Angus (Even the name is great! Don’t you love it! Oops, sorry).

Born in 1849, William Angus grew up in Kansas when the territory was in the throes of a nasty guerrilla war over slavery. This warfare took its toll on young Angus.  In 1862, when he was only 12 years old, he demanded that he be allowed to enlist in the Union army. He joined as a drummer boy.  When discharged in 1865, at the ripe old age of 15, he’d witnessed some of the worst fighting of the Civil War, but instead of quelling his desire for danger he embraced it. Angus found work as a freighter in western Kansas, when such employment was considered highly dangerous.  The Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Lakota Sioux were active in the area, and Angus was in Fort Wallace in 1867 during its siege.

Surviving these hostilities, Angus joined the 19th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and participated in a campaign against the Cheyenne. He was discharged in 1869, and though you’d think he’d had his quota of excitement he refused to seek a quiet life. He resumed freighting between Kansas and Oklahoma, and then worked for three years in Texas as a cowboy before spending a year as a teamster in Guatemala.  He made his way back to the United States through California where he again found work as a cowboy and finally made his way to Wyoming driving a herd in 1880.  He first came to Prairie Dog Creek in northern Johnson County, but relocated to Buffalo in 1881.

Not shockingly, Red Angus had red hair and though normally easygoing he possessed a fierce temper when riled. He was also known as a man whose courage was without question.  In Buffalo, he became part of the Laurel Avenue and saloon crowd. Laurel Avenue being the area of Buffalo that catered to the baser needs of men.  Angus became known as the “Mayor of Laurel Avenue,” and his first wife had been a prostitute in one of the brothels. He was no stranger to run-ins with the law. Territory v. Angus was the first criminal case filed in Johnson County. Angus was charged with assault for pistol-whipping a man. Tried and convicted in 1882, he paid of a fine of $80 with $5 charge for court costs.

Nearby Fort McKinney was a primary economic force in Johnson County, but cattle raising was the butter on the bread supporting a great number of cowboys and a few rich men. Big cattle companies dominated the southern half of the county, while smaller family outfits filled the northern half.  Big cattle outfits in southern Johnson County, whether or not they held title, occupied and monopolized huge chunks of land, more than they could ever legally claim. They asserted rights under fictitious legal theories like “range rights” and “accustomed ranges.”

So what does that have to do with Red Angus?

By 1884, Red took an interest in becoming a lawman and started working toward that goal. He built a new saloon and became a bar man. He served on the town council and was elected chief of the fire department earning the respect of the citizens of Buffalo.

Trouble was brewing at the same time Red Angus was preparing to run for sheriff.  The year 1888 saw huge divisions in Johnson County. Officials from the northern portion petitioned the Territorial Government to become its own county, Sheridan County, and won. Also, after a series of disastrous winters the cattle barons and small ranchers were scrapping for any grazing lands.

It was during this heated time, Red Angus, likable bar owner closely associated with Buffalo brothels ran against Frank Canton, model of an efficient sheriff. But the respect Angus had been earning swayed voters in Red’s favor. And in the community of Buffalo, owning a bar and having “unsavory associations” at brothels wasn’t always a bad thing.  In the general election, Angus won 509 to 379. Angus’ election was contentious because it was well known he supported the small cattle ranchers, those the cattle barons accused of being rustlers. 

By 1891 and 1892, this small Wyoming County was described by national papers as “a raw and brutal haven for range pirates,” and “the most lawless town in the country.” A county “under the control of criminals so maliciously confident that they had begun naming big cattlemen to be put to death.”   Charges and countercharges were flung from one camp to the other.  It wasn’t long before the battle of words turned to a series of lynchings and other hostilities perpetrated by the large cattle barons against the small rancher.

I won’t get into the whole of the Johnson County War, as I blogged on that in  After a series of murders and raids, in the spring of 1892, “regulators” under the leadership of men from the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association took a train from Cheyenne to Casper where they unloaded and rode into Johnson County. The invaders attacked a small ranch and killed two “rustlers” Nate Champion and Nick Ray.  They then took refuge at a friendly ranch, the TA Ranch.

Angus’ legendary temper and courage surfaced with a vengeance and he rounded up a posse of 48 men that soon grew to an army of anywhere between 200 to 300 men, and surrounded the TA ranch. Many riding, and duly deputized by Sheriff Angus, were cowboys who had worked for the very men they were riding against. The invaders held off Angus’ army by using the natural defenses of the ranch along with well-placed ranch buildings.

Soldiers from Fort McKinney saved the invaders, but Angus issued arrest orders for the “regulators.” His warrants were denied as the soldiers had been called in as a favor to Governor Amos Barber (a supporter of the big cattle barons), who knew the men would be executed if turned over to Red Angus.  Angus secured an agreement that the invaders would be turned over to Civil Authority for trial, and the prisoners were sent to Fort McKinney. Authorities fearing the wrath of the local citizenry transferred the prisoners to Fort D. A. Russell for safe keeping. Their fears may have been justified, a few days after their arrest the barracks at McKinney were bombed by three cowboys.

The Court held that the regulators wouldn’t receive a fair trial in Buffalo and transferred venue to Laramie County. The people of Johnson County had no recourse, as the County simply couldn’t afford the cost of prosecution. In Laramie County, the invaders faced a sympathetic court and were set free.

Sheriff Angus was defeated for reelection and took a job tending bar at the Occidental Hotel, in Buffalo. Later, however, he served as deputy clerk and county treasurer. In 1893, he engaged in a shootout with Arapahoe Brown in the street in front of the hotel. Neither was a very good shot. Doctor Will Frackleton, a circuit riding dentist was in town and witnessed the fight from the doorway of the hotel. Bullets flew into the barroom while the customers ducked for cover. When the fight was over, Frackleton told Angus and Arapahoe, “Well I don’t see what in hell you carry those things for. You fellows can’t hit anything with them.”  The tension dissolved and the men joined the dentist for drink at the bar.

William “Red” Angus remained in Buffalo where he passed away in 1921.


Davis, John W.  Wyoming Range War: The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2010.


“Hell’s fire and sweet damn! Not her…not today.” Sheriff Russ Avery dropped the shade and stepped back from the window.  One week, one damn week on the job and he’d suffered through at least thirty visits from the widow Ellie Reed.  Next time a lawman offered the choice between swinging from a rope, or taking over as sheriff Russ was gonna choose hangin’…hands down. Hell, he’d even take his own horse and rope and find the cotton wood suitable to get the job done.

A small shadow crossed over the shade and Jake almost tripped over his own boots getting to his desk and falling into his chair. Holding his breath he started thumbing through handbills. If he wasn’t breathing and looked busy maybe she’d just keep going.

“Please Lord have mercy on a miserable sinner.”

“Sheriff Avery, I have a matter I wish to discuss with you.” The widow blew in like a dust storm on the prairie flipping up the shade as she passed by the window.

Jake shielded his eyes against the flood of light as the woman settled into the chair on the opposite side of his desk.  By the bright eager look in her brown eyes and flush on her cheeks, Jake’s gut squeezed.  This was the day he was going to pay for past sins.

Copyright @ 2013, by Kirsten Lynn (This is an original work of Kirsten Lynn any attempt to reprint part or all of this work is strictly prohibited)

Thank y’all for stopping by the campfire and hope to see ya back real soon!  Don’t forget to go back to and continuing hopping to all the other ace high sites!  And if you’re looking for more cowboy charm join the group on Facebook!/groups/453991144693516/

But before ya go make sure to leave a comment and INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL addy, so you can be entered for a $10 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificate from me, so you can buy a hot Western Romance for your Summer, or a $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Certificate from the hop!!!

Thanks again for stopping by!!!


Let me tell ya folks, Cookie and me stumbled on a piece of history we just plum hadn’t heard of before.  (The roll of Cookie was played by my parents when they came to visit and we hit the trail). We decided to enlighten y’all, so you can look smarter than us.  We’ve heard of Fetterman, Crook, and of course who can forget Custer, but our ears never picked up on the name Brigadier General Patrick E. Connor.

Now General Connor was assigned to command the Powder River Expedition in present day Northeastern Wyoming.  His orders were to make war on the Indians forcing them into submission to maintain peace. I know, sounds like same song second verse. But actually, Connor was one of the first commanders in the area so the snowball started with him.

August 29, 1865 (less than a year before Fort Phil Kearny was established),  Brigadier General Patrick Connor with 125 cavalry and 90 Pawnee scouts attacked Chief Black Bear’s Arapaho camp along the Tongue River.  Black Bear’s camp was comprised of 500 inhabitants, however many of the young warriors were farther North on a raid against the Crow.

Connor’s men made war on those Arapaho present disregarding the fact it was mainly women and children. Captain Palmer reported, “Unfortunately for the women and children, our men had no time to direct their aim; bullets from both sides and murderous arrows filled the air; squaws and children, as well as warriors, fell among the dead and wounded.”

The warriors present made a stand providing their families the opportunity to escape. The Arapaho fled up Wolf Creek. Connor followed with a contingent of soldiers. He was driven back. The majority of his men stayed behind destroying the village including tipis, food and winter supplies. This gave the Arapahos time to launch and aggressive counter-attack, driving Connor down the Tongue River.

Only the use of howitzers held the Arapahos at a distance during the withdrawal, and saved the out-numbered soldiers.  The Arapaho suffered 64 casualties and several hundred ponies. It is believed this engagement caused the Arapaho, a non-hostile people previous to the attack, to attack the Sawyer Expedition two days later.

Where the Bozeman Trail crossed the Tongue River Valley, Colonel J.A. Sawyer’s wagon train and road building expedition of 82 wagons fought the Arapaho for thirteen days.  Captain Cole of the military escort was killed along with E.G. Merrill and James Dilleland, drovers.  The siege ended when Connor’s army rescued the wagon train.

Instead of “subduing” the Arapaho, Connor’s attack is believed to have been influential in causing the Arapaho to ally with the Sioux and Cheyenne at the Fetterman Fight the next year, and to fight at the Rosebud and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Were any lessons learned from the Connor Battle…Nope. Sorry to say folks, but the soldiers moving into the area kept underestimating the American Indians and paying a high price until numbers in people moving West and superior weapons did what armies never could.


SHERIDAN COUNTY HERITAGE BOOK.  Sheridan County Extension Homemakers Council. 1983.


Yee-Haw!! I just took home an honorable mention from Siobhan Muir’s ThursThread (flash fiction) with author Scott Mckinley judging!  Thanks to both Siobhan and Scott! This was a fun exercise to get the ol’ brain workin’!

For those wandering what flash fiction is: you’re given a phrase that has to be incorporated in a scene no longer than 250 words. The phrase for this contest was “Nothing personal, Kid.”

If y’all wanna check out the prose that took this prize, I’ve included the scene below!

“Sonofabitch!” Jack grabbed the foot the protesting big toe hopping like that might ease the throbbing pain. All effects of the whiskey consumed in town died in a flash of pain. “That goddamn trunk…”

A baby’s cry split the air. Every muscle tensed like a well stretched rope. The orange glow of gaslight unveiled a woman’s form gliding across the floorboards of his bedroom to a crib. Was he at the wrong ranch?
Words of comfort drifted back to him as she held the baby until loud bellows turned to hiccups.

Jack dropped his foot. “That ain’t mine!”

The angel in a white cotton gown angled her head meeting his gaze. Green eyes flashed with fire. Lines creased her brow. “Of course he’s not, ya fool. But he’s my responsibility and if I’m sharing your bed, he’s gotta come, too. I can’t be leavin’ him alone.”

“Sharin’ my…” He whistled low remembering morning by the breaking ring.

“Sorry, it’s nothin’ personal, Kid.”

“I’m not a Kid. I just outrode and out roped every man here.”

“There’s a depression goin’ on, Little Lady. Men got families to feed.”

“I need to feed mine, too. What do ya suggest I do?”

“Can ya ride a man like ya handled that mustang?”

“Better.” He saw the lie in her red cheeks.

“Fine. Show up tonight and ya got yerself a job in the house and out.”


Two sets of green eyes stared at him as he returned to the present. “Sonofabitch.”


The Ace High authors over at Wild and Wicked Cowboys kindly offered to host me, so I’m movin’ the campfire this Saturday, March 23rd!! Hope y’all will join me over there where I’m jawin’ about Polo in Wyoming and how it helped me create the hero in my current WIP!

Wild and Wicked Cowboys

For your enjoyment and as a thank you for stoppin’ on by, here’s a couple pictures from last summer’s Cowboy Polo match between the wranglers of two dude ranches here in the Sheridan area!

Each player was required to drink a can of beer, then play the first chukker.
After a brief half-time, another can of beer and another chukker.

cowboy polo one





The ball was destroyed during the first chukker, so the second period was played with a fooball.

Head on over the Wild and Wicked Cowboys to read how the “sport of kings” ended up in the “King of the Cowboy Towns!”

**Both photos were used with the permission of Perk Connell at the Big Horn Polo Club, Sheridan, Wyoming


Now Cookie and me bein’ the perceptive types know y’all have been ponderin’ one question over and over.  What horse and rider is depicted as the symbol for Wyoming?

Well folks the hard and fast answer is… we don’t know. Thanks for stoppin’ by today, see ya next time…What’s that Cookie? Oh, alright don’t go workin’ yerself into a fit of apoplexy. Have I ever let these good folks leave the campfire without a good story…Don’t answer that.

379px-Bucking_Horse_and_Rider_logoPopular belief holds the bronc is the legendary Steamboat. Although there always has to be someone who disagrees and in this case that someone is the University of Wyoming.  Their source claims the bucking horse and rider (BH&R) are “Stub” Farlow on a horse named Deadman. However, the University claims the bucking horse and rider used as the University’s logo is Steamboat with crack buster Guy Holt holding on.

But we’re not going to listen to the University. We’re going to go with everyone else in Wyoming because we like them better.  So, let’s start with the bronc, Ol’ Steamboat.

The year Steamboat foaled is also disputed. I’ve found anywhere from 1894 to 1901. We can discount 1901 since Steamboat  “first attracted public attention at the Festival of Mountains and Plains in Denver in 1900.” (Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame).  But he was foaled on the Foss Ranch in Wyoming.  While gentle when led by Frank Foss’s young son, no ranch hand could hold him long enough to get a saddle on his back. Foss realized the black colt was never going to be a cow pony and sold him to the Two Bar Ranch in Bosler, Wyoming.

Busters at the Two Bar were the only ones busted by the wild horse. The top buster, enraged at being bested by the big black hit the horse across the nose with the butt of his quirt. The blow damaged the horse’s nasal cavity and ever after the horse whistled like a steamboat whenever he got riled up and started bucking.  From Texas to Canada the legend of Steamboat  “the whistlin’ hoss” was known.

Steamboat was sold to John Coble of Bosler not long after the cruel incident that gave him his name. Coble saw the black for what he was and began entering him in rodeos such as the Festival of Mountains and Plains and Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.  The bronc started taking first place from the start, and much to the pain and suffering of many a cowboy his career was off and bucking.

“I’ve seen ’em all for 65 years and I never saw a buckin’ hoss to top Steamboat. First off, he was big and powerful—1,100 pounds—and tireless. Fact is, he was the closest thing to perpetual motion that ever wore hair. He’d start to squat when they threw the saddle on him and by the time the bronc buster was set in the stirrups Steamboat’s belly’d be almost touchin’ the arena dust. Then, the second they’d jerk that blindfold he’d explode! He’d bust out to the middle of the arena as if he wanted the stage all to himself and he’d put on the damnedest exhibition of sunfishing and windmilling I ever seen. His best trick was to swap ends between jumps and come down ker-slam on four ramrod legs. His head and forelegs would be twisted one way and his rump and hind legs another. When he was goin’ all out, he seemed to be on a great big invisible pogo stick. Few men could stand that kind of battering without bleeding from the nose, and most became nauseated as well. Sometimes, no matter how tight a rider laced his buckin’ corset, he’d wind up with broken ribs. Bronc riders are harder’n scrap iron, but ol’ Steamboat put some of the toughest into the hospital for repairs.” (Rodeo buff Jack Bowers in Sports Illustrated interview)

It’s difficult to compare the broncs of yesterday to those in today’s rodeo.  Horses did not exit a chute, but were “snubbed to the saddlehorn of a rider” or blindfolded while the rider mounted and then turned loose.  Horses were ridden for 30 seconds, or sometimes until they stopped bucking.  Regardless of the changes to the sport, Steamboat remains one of the greatest bucking horses of all time. To his last event he never stopped bucking with all he had.

Coble sold Steamboat to Charley Irwin who operated a Wild West Show with his brother. In 1914, Steamboat met a sad end when he contracted blood poisoning after running into a barbed-wire fence.

Steamboat earned the moniker, “the horse that couldn’t be ridden” from his early days at the Two Bar.  The truth was, the bronc was ridden by some of the best bronc busters of the early 20th Century including: Harry Brennan, Clayton Danks, Guy Holt, Tom Minor, Dick Stanley and Thad Sowder.

Who’s the cowboy riding Steamboat on the State symbol?  We don’t know…Once again thanks for coming…Okay, okay…

Over the years the debate has been whittled down to Albert Jerome “Stub” Farlow from Lander who rode Steamboat (for a little while at least) at the Albany County Fair Grounds, or Guy Holt. Holt rode Steamboat in Cheyenne.

But I have to agree with the University of Wyoming whichever horse and rider inspired the symbol “the bucking horse and rider represents the toughness and never-say-die spirit that is Wyoming.”

What we do know about the symbol. The first use of the Bucking Horse and Rider dates back to 1918. It was used as an insignia worn by members of the Wyoming National Guard in France and German during World War I.  The insignia used by soldiers was designed by First Sergeant George N. Ostrom of E Battery, 3rd Battalion, 148th Field Artillery Regiment, AEF. The United States Army adopted the insignia and used it as a means of identification on gun trails, trucks, helmets and other equipment. The BH&R was used extensively by Wyoming units during Korea, Vietnam as a rallying point and “symbol of pride and reminder of home.”

In 1935, then Secretary of State Lester Hunt (he later became Governor) proposed changes to the Wyoming license plate design. He commissioned Mr. Allen T. True to “put to paper” his concept, which included the Bucking Horse and Rider. In 1936, the famous Bucking Horse & Rider license plates debuted and the State obtained copyright for the image.

Wyoming’s license plates have gone through many changes over the year, but every plate design included the famous Bucking Horse and Rider. No matter which horse and rider is depicted every Wyomingite displays this symbol with pride.

There ya go folks. Now y’all can sleep well tonight knowin’ the answer to this burnin’ question, or ya can toss and turn fightin’ about which horse and rider is depicted. Either way, I feel Cookie and me have done some good today.

Speakin’ of my coffee makin’ rattlesnake of a partner and myself, y’all will notice the blog has been cut to once every other week. This might be how the trail goes for a mite longer as we get adjusted to our new campfire.  I’m sorry we won’t have time to host all those top hand authors, and while we might bring one round the campfire now and again, I just can’t give my word to ‘em that I can do justice to their ace high stories…and ya know what they say ‘bout a woman’s word on the trail. As for another short story…well I just might have one of those bloomin’ come spring.

Hope y’all will stick with Cookie and me as we adjust to the trail and get all our mavericks herded.  Oh, and if ya’d like to mosey on over to the “About”  area I’ve added a bit more.

Help yourself to a bit more of Cookie’s coffee iffin’  ya can stomach it, and feel free to sit ‘round the campfire and debate those bucking horses and bronc bustin’ cowboys.

If ya want to read more about Steamboat a good read is:  Steamboat, Legendary Bucking Horse: His Life and Times, and the Cowboys Who Tried to Tame Him by Candy and Flossie Moulton.








Good as Cookie’s coffee is, after a long day of fillin’ up on dust on the trail ya wanna sit back with a cold brew or soda pop…Oh yeah, cowboys love a grape or orange pop, look it up…  And the place brewin’ up the best is the Sheridan Brewing Company!


In 1887, Arnold Tschirgi, George Paul, and Peter Demple, joined forces to found The Sheridan Brewing Company. First they had to avoid robbers’ intent on stealing the business’s start-up money. Thieves were common along the Cheyenne to Deadwood stage line. So, the men sent the $10,000 in gold by the Northern Pacific Railroad to Custer Station, and transported the capital the rest of the way by wagon.  By 1888, the brewery distributed its first product.

A year later, in 1889, The Sheridan Brewery expanded its operations, producing millions of sheridan0109barrels of beer before Prohibition in the 1920s. Undeterred by this law, the brewery shifted to new products like near beer Sherex and an assortment of fruit-flavored soft drinks.

By the end of Prohibition in 1933, the brewery was producing 600 barrels of bear a day. By 1954, 60,000 barrels a year left the brewery, and at this time the Sheridan Brewery stopped its beer operations and focused on soda pop. That same year the brewery became the first company in the United States to bottle its products in flat-topped cans.

canapopThe Can-a-Pop Beverage Company quickly became the leading producer of canned soft drinks larger than any other plant in America. Franchises started up in Los Angeles and Compton, California and Peoria, Illinois. But as quickly as Can-a-Pop sprung to the top, its bubble was popped by such brands as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Fanta and Nehi. These brands held national recognition and advertising and edged out the hometown soda company.

The brewery was torn down in 1994, and a park is now at the spot of Sheridan Brewing Company. But never fear there are still plenty of places in Sheridan, Wyoming to have a cold one…Right Cookie?


Pictures from the Sheridan County Museum

Blair, Pat, Prater, Dana and the Sheridan County Museum. Images of America: Sheridan. Arcadia Publishing, 2008.