Heidi M. Thomas Shares Some Great History About Her Cowgirl Grandmother
The Cowgirl Behind the Books by Heidi M Thomas
In a scrapbook my grandmother created is a clipping from the Sunburst Sun (Montana) newspaper, Aug. 26, 1922, that reads:
|Heidi's grandmother on horseback|
1:00 Parade of cowboys and cowgirls, headed by Cut Bank brass band
2:30 Tootsie Bailey will enter competition with entire field, riding wild steers with only one hand on cirsingle
Another clipping states “Tootsie Bailey won first and Mary (Marie) Gibson second prize in the steer riding.”
Marie Gibson was a well-known Montana cowgirl and won national awards for bronc riding.
Tootsie was my grandmother and she would have been 17 at that time. I did have the opportunity to spend time with her, ride horseback, and get to know her pretty well before she died suddenly when she was only 57 and I was 12.
I know that she was an avid horsewomen and that she was more at home on the back of a horse than behind a dust mop. My dad told me she had competed in rodeos, riding steers, when she was young. I kept thinking how courageous that was, especially as I got older and watched bull and bronc riders. Grandma was petite—five-feet two-inches and weighed a little over 100 pounds. I was amazed that she would pit herself against an animal that weighed 900 pounds or so, one whose sole purpose was to get that pesky rider off its back and then maybe stomp on her!
Grandma was my inspiration for my strong, independent heroine in the first two (and soon a third) books in my “Dare to Dream” series. My character, Nettie, has a dream to become a rodeo star and the tenaciousness to follow that dream.
In Cowgirl Dreams (EPIC Award Winner), during the 1920s, she faces family and social barriers to that dream.
The sequel, Follow the Dream (a WILLA Literary Award Winner), finds her still holding on to her dream. But the drought and depression of the 1930s forces her to make some tough choices and rethink how her dream works in with her family and life in Montana.
I believe, whether my readers have aspired to become cowgirls or business women or writers, the message is the same: Dare to dream and follow that dream, even if it changes along the way.
Both books are suitable for young adults as well as adult readers and are available through my website http://www.heidimthomas.com, from my publisher http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidiThomas.html.
Follow the Dream is also available on Kindle and Cowgirl Dreams on Nook.
|Heidi M. Thomas|
About Heidi M. Thomas:
Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana, had parents who taught her a love of books, and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos.