Today I'm spotlighting a book written by a friend of mine, Heidi M. Thomas. Dare to Dream finishes a trilogy of Dream novels based on her grandmother's life.
Title: Dare to Dream
Author: Heidi M. Thomas
Genre: Western Historical
Publisher: Globe-Pequot/Twodot Press
Date of publication: May 2014
Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.
In the spring of 1941, Nettie, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.
Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this sweeping rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.
It’s 1941 and Nettie Moser has regained her heart and spirit for rodeo. To her dismay, at the Cheyenne Roundup, she is denied the chance to ride by the Rodeo Association of America.
Nettie clenched her jaw. The Rodeo Association of America. All men. No women allowed. Montana promoters had not joined that group…yet.
Twenty years since her first ride. All the rough rides proving themselves, competing with men, the world championships won—and now cowgirls were being erased.
Nettie leaned closer to the RAA man. “I’m a woman, and I’m riding.”
“Not today.” The RAA man gave no ground. “Them’s been the rules the last ten years.”
“But not enforced,” Nettie argued.
“Then it’s about time.”
A few of the waiting riders chuckled, one whistled in appreciation, and more expressed the strong personal opinion that Nettie should step aside, at which Jake gave a warning snarl.
“It’s for your own good, ma’am,” one of the riders called out. “Bonnie McCarroll was killed in Pendleton way back in ’29, and then Marie Gibson got killed in Idaho in ’33.”
“I was there,” Nettie told him and the others. “I lost a friend to a heartless accident. I can’t believe that’s never happened to you. What about all the men who’ve been killed? Why, just a couple years ago Pete Knight was killed in Ellensburg, Washington when his bronc fell on him.”
The men stood, humbled to silence a moment.
Nettie stuck her fists on her hips. “In Pendleton, the men in charge made Bonnie McCarroll ride hobbled. If your horse somersaulted over you—any of you—while you were tied on, you might not get free either.”
“Whoa.” Jake held her arm. “It ain’t these fellows’ fault, Nettie.”
“Go tell your troubles to Bob Jones,” groused the registration man. “You’re holdin’ up the line.”
Nettie let out a resolute breath and let Jake guide her away. “All right, let’s go find Mr. Jones. We’ve never been to a rodeo where they’ve enforced those rules.”
He stopped. “It won’t change things, honey.”
“They can’t stop us.” She spun on her boot heel and walked away, following signs to the rodeo office.
Globe Pequot/Twodot Press
Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in her veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.
Heidi’s first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, won an EPIC Award and the USA Book News Best Book Finalist award. Follow the Dream, a WILLA Award winner, is the second book in the “Cowgirl Dreams” series about strong, independent Montana women. Dare to Dream completes the trilogy.
Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Professional Writers of Prescott, is also a manuscript editor, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes in north-central Arizona.
She is an avid reader of all kinds of books, enjoys the sunshine and hiking in north-central Arizona, where she writes, edits, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes.
Married to Dave Thomas (not of Wendy’s fame), Heidi is also the “human” for a finicky feline, and describes herself primarily as a “cat herder.”
This is another book I'm sure will become a part of my library. I hope it will also be in yours.