|Author Davalynn Spencer|
A fellow author, Davalynn Spencer, married a cowboy and helped him for years as they traveled the rodeo circuit from the Pacific Northwest to Alabama, Montana to Arizona, and points in between.
Thanks so much for sharing with my readers, Davalynn!
How did you meet your husband?
Mike and I met at the First Baptist Church in Porterville, California when he walked in the door for the youth group. Our small group included high school and college students, and he was attending the local junior college at the time – in between rodeo injuries. When I saw that cowboy hat and those chocolate-brown eyes, I knew I didn’t have a chance.
Please tell us about your experience being the wife of a "Paniolo."
When I married a rodeo clown and bullfighter, I had no idea how bloody my knees would become! Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. And then our son got in on the act – oh my. At 2 years old, he only helped with the comedy routines between rodeo events. But at 12, he started “fighting” steers and small muley (hornless) bulls at junior rodeos.
The word “fighting” refers to the clowns (now called bullfighters) distracting the bulls so the bull riders can safely get off. If the rider hangs up – gets his hand caught in his bull rope by falling off the wrong side, or tangles his spurs in the rope’s tail – the bullfighter steps in (literally) and frees the rider. That’s when things get real western and Mama’s prayers get real serious.
Today, bullfighters fall into two categories: protection and freestyle. Protection work applies to what I just described, and freestyle is a show-down between the bull (usually a Mexican crossbreed fighting bull) and the bullfighter. The man wants to show how close and comfortable he can be around those sharp-horned, dead-eye, freight-train bulls. It’s thrilling to watch, but oh so deadly. Our son has worked both styles of bullfighting, but I think we convinced him to give up the freestyle after he won the Championship at the Colorado State Fair and Rodeo two years in a row.
I imagine his wife had something to do with his decision as well.
Tell us a little about what it was like for you and your family during those years.
When my husband was fighting bulls professionally for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, we lived on the road most of the year in a 45-foot drop-van trailer we converted into living quarters, tack room, and animal compartment at the rear. This allowed us to always be at home while traveling with the whole family and our entire menagerie. We pulled the rig with a 2½-ton International Harvester truck with a two-speed rear-end, and yes, I drove. Only two wheels shy of an 18-wheeler. We traveled from the Pacific Northwest to Alabama, Montana to Arizona, and points in between.
Bull riding was the event we concentrated on, and I was always a bit grateful that my husband was on his feet in the arena instead of strapped to the back of one of those loose-skinned, snot-slinging bovines. I know – small blessings.
My part in the rodeo had to do with helping Mike get his comedy acts ready to present between rodeo events. I also sang the National Anthem at most of our rodeos, and kept an eye on our animals – ponies, chickens, dogs, guinea hens – and our son and daughter.
Again, thank you for sharing! Don't forget to come back next week when Davalynn will share about their Hawaiian Rodeo experience!
Aloha, and Mahalo for visiting!
The Hawaiian Island Detective Club
Book One—Pineapples in Peril
Book Two—Menehunes Missing