Chasing the Rodeo by W. K. Stratton
On Wild Rides and Big Dreams, Broken Hearts and Broken Bones, and One Man's Search for the West

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From its roots as the quintessential Western pastime, rodeo has grown to an international, prime-time television sport. Steeped in tradition and the independent spirit of the range, aspiring cowboys and cowgirls are called to its high-stakes, rough-and-tumble fame as they risk their lives for eight seconds of triumph.

In Chasing the Rodeo W. K. Stratton follows this quest for one season of the pro rodeo and bull-riding tours. He explores the history of the chutes -- from rodeo's disputed origins (Prescott, Arizona, or Pecos, Texas?) to its current skyrocketing popularity. But out on the trail Stratton finds more than calf-roping and unrideable bulls, uncovering a culture complete with myths, codes of honor, million-dollar purses, Cowboy Church, and the kinds of legends that make good stories unforgettable.

Just such a story emerges here as Stratton tells of his runaway "rodeo bum" father --Cowboy Don -- whose specter haunts his travels on the circuit. As he learns more about the life that proved too seductive for his father to abandon, Stratton fills in a portrait of the man he never knew but whose legacy he couldn't help but inherit.

Filled with cowboy longing and rodeo dreams, this is a tribute to the characters of the West -- Freckles Brown, Lucille Mulhall (the first cowgirl), Wild Bill Hickock, Lane Frost, and today's superstars like Jesse Bail. In the great tradition of Wallace Stegner and Ken Kesey, W. K. Stratton fashions an expansive tale out of the gritty reality of the life around us. Chasing the Rodeo is a bucking, riveting, glorious ride -- you'll want to hang on for the whole go-round.


About W. K. Stratton

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W. K. (KIP) STRATTON is a native of the Southwest. His journalism has appeared in GQ, Sports Illustrated, Outside, and Southern Magazine, among others. He now writes for the Dallas Morning News and lives in Austin, Texas.
Published May 2, 2005 by Harcourt. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Stratton ties his own family history into his account, including an embezzler grandfather, colorful ladies and Cowboy Don, the runaway father he never met.

| Read Full Review of Chasing the Rodeo: On Wild Ri...

Austin Chronicle

As far as its future goes, Stratton fears that the rush to position rodeo as the next NASCAR, complete with the ubiquity of Toby Keith's jingoistic anthems, will strip the sport of its soul.

Jun 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Chasing the Rodeo: On Wild Ri...

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