Real American Cowboy Magazine
This was the website for Real American Cowboy Magazine.
Content is from the site's 2013 -2015 archived pages offering just a small glimpse of what the magazine offered its online visitors.
The new owners of this domain wanted to keep an edited selection of content live on the web for historical purposes. Enjoy the nostalgic look back.
Always Free. Always Real. Always Cowboy.
CHARLIE NICKS / Publisher/Managing Editor
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE’RE ABOUT
The cowboy is among this countrys greatest and most enduring symbols, right up there with the Bald Eagle, the American military and yes, even Old Glory itself. Over the past 150 years cowboys have become a respected sub-culture within the landscape of the American melting pot.
Todays cowboys, in many ways, represent a career path that largely no longer exists there are no 700 mile cattle drives anymore – the ATV has replaced the horse on too many ranches rodeos have moved from the corral to the arena to the stadium livestock is bred with more precision than ever it’s a different day and a different time but still, Cowboy Nation is alive and vibrant and swelling with fans and people who want to be aligned with the old cowboy values.
Real American Cowboy Magazine is written, photographed and presented by REAL American Cowboys/Cowgirls not by a high-browed editorial board sitting in a fancy office in downtown L.A. our Publisher, Charlie Nicks, learned to write by the light of a wood stove in a bunkhouse while working as hired-cowboy for a Montana cow-calf operation. Our 2013 Writer of the Year, Hope Sickler, was raised on 10,000 acres in North Dakota, today she’s a well-known horse trainer and accomplished barrel racer. It comes down to authenticity. You have to be a cowboy to know a cowboy and thats just how it is. All of our writers ARE COWBOYS and perhaps that’s the core difference between this publication and all others.
Our nature is a little independent, we have little interest in conforming to what we feel are waning magazine and literary models with strict editorial rules and corporate mentality in that sense, were the Wild West version of a cowboy magazine.
We dont chase advertisers if you want to advertise with us, advertise with us. If you dont, dont. We can tell you this how much advertising we can sell isnt on our list of priorities. Call to talk about your advertising, (303) 915.0736.
We write stories about people who happen to also be cowboys and cowgirls there are some great cowboy magazines out there where you can get times or scores or livestock reports we write about the real lives of the ranch and rodeo cowboys who live the life, who walk-the-walk.
Always positive, always real, Real American Cowboy Magazine works hard to produce stories that inspire our readers to be happier, live richer more productive lives and to help perpetuate the cowboy values we think separate our unique culture from all others. And thats good enough for us.
We are now the nations leading online cowboy magazine and statistically among the most popular publications in any format. Only ProRodeo Sports News touches base with more cowboys/cowgirls each month than we do. We understand the Internet and the power of social-media in fact, we have a half dozen social-media partners and together, were making a major communication impact throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
We recently released our first video documentary for the National Western Stock Show, arguably the leading traditional livestock and rodeo show in the United States.
In a larger and more esoteric sense, our mission is to document the world of todays Real American Cowboy, over time creating a body of work that will contribute and be considered among those rare presentations that will represent our culture a hundred years from now.
And finally, were a publication that keeps its doors wide-open. If you send us an email, youll get one back. If you have a story idea, well give it a look. If you are a legitimate cowboy or cowgirl and you think you want to write send us an article. Were good at interaction because we think its important. And nobody is more transparent that we are – we put it all out there.
We appreciate you spending some time with us, we truly do and we hope youll share us with your friends. Thanks much.
HUNTER HERRIN FIT TO BE TIED!
Mary McCashin for Real American Cowboy Magazine
With 10 years of professional rodeo, seven Wrangler National Finals qualifications, and one AQHA Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year going into the 2014 NFR, Hunter Herrin has the recipe for success.
Since the Apache, Oklahoma native turned pro in 2004 he’s roped alongside the best of the best from a 2010 match roping with Fred Whitfield to sharing a rig with current World Champion Shane Hanchey for most of the 2014 season. Hunter has striven for greatness, overcoming obstacles of green horses, bad calves, and a seemingly unlucky streak when it comes to the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas.
“I don’t know why I haven’t fared very well out there. It’s one of those deals where I think you’ve just got to get off to a good start. I got off to a good start in 2008 but then I let off the gas; I’d caught the world leader, was $4,000 behind him in the world standings, and was 1st in the average at the NFR. My approach every night changed and there are three to four calves I should have won rounds on. When you do something like that you just open the door for someone else.While many stories exist about valiant battles between man and beast, few exist between man and rodeo arena.
Each trip to the NFR has proven to be a learning experience for Hunter. The seven times he’s qualified he’s gone into the Finals is solid standing; 8th his rookie year, 2nd four times, 4th once, and this year he heads to Vegas in the number six spot, “Each time you go in there you have a legitimate shot and you’d better hustle. You’ve got to jump on it from the start by trying to win that 1st round with everything you’ve got.
Hunter’s previous NFR experience has led Hunter to develop a new and improved game plan as well, “Right now what I need to do is practice. In the past I’ve jumped on practicing too early and I feel like I’ve peaked prior to the NFR, I need to be my absolute best on December 4th, not November 4th. I’m ready to start running and getting flexible, I’ve never gone to a gym and trained with a trainer so I don’t see a reason to start now. I think just being a flexible, in-shape person gives you an advantage. In addition to upping his physical training, Hunter will do the same for his horse; Hunter is aware that his training is both mental and a physical feat.
In 2011, Hunter headed to the NFR on what he thought was the best horse he could have under him. Hunter had a strong season, but once again things didn’t go as planned. Hunter’s World Champion dreams once again evaded him due to poor horse performance, weak calves, and a variety of reasons. Fast forward to this year and Hunter’s AQHA Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year, “Rambo; “This year I have a horse that’s a lot better than the horse I had in 2011. You hate to start picking them apart but Rambo is either going to go in there and be a difference maker or a hindrance. It sounds weird saying that but it depends on what kind of calves we’re roping, he’s so strong and sometimes he just jerks them down. He runs close and he brings things to a sudden halt. If the calves aren’t strong and can’t handle a horse of his caliber it’s going to be hard to win, I’m going to have to be perfect. But going in there I have no doubt in my mind I have the best horse and leaving there I know I’ll have the best horse.
Hunter also has a new horse that he got the 1st week of August, owned by Clay Cerny who previously owned “Rambo. Hunter feels that with the combination of the two horses he’s set for the 2015 season. “They’re both super hard stopping horses, they like their brakes.When asked if he’s taking his newest equine addition to Vegas Hunter was open about his decision, “I think if I take him, the first little thing that goes wrong, I’ll jump ship. I haven’t jumped ship all year. He’s green right now but come next year, watch out. For now I’m going to ride what go me to the NFR and that’s “Rambo. We’re going to have to be on point the whole time. I’m not too worried about it, if any horse is capable he is.
Hunter feels confident heading back to his #1 rival, the Thomas & Mack arena, “I’m in a different spot than I’ve ever been in before, other than the first year I made the Finals. All you want to do is go out there and do the best you can do, no matter when you finally make it or how many times you’ve been.Following a 2nd at San Antonio and notable wins such as Ellensburg and Salinas, Hunter has been on a steady roll all season long and looks to carry that momentum into the Finals.
Looking back over his career Hunter will admit sacrifices, generally financial, had to be made to get him where he was today. “My parents didn’t always have money for me to go onto the next rodeo, but somehow they’d scrape it together and we’d go.Hunter remembers arriving home from high school sports practice around 5pm most evenings then he and his dad would start roping at 6pm and would not stop until 1 or 2am five days a week. Weekends didn’t prove much different, “On Saturdays we might start at 9am and not stop until 9pm, unless we went to a rodeo. That’s the kind of work I put into it and my parents put into it.
Hunter points out the numerous sacrifices his parents made for him then, “As a young kid starting to rodeo you’ve got to have people behind you who can support you financially because it’s not always easy. I know guys that rope really, really well but financially they couldn’t make it and they had to go home just because of the expense factor. If you’re going to be a calf roper or you want to rodeo, you need to realize the financial side. You have people whose families can afford for you to rodeo, my family wasn’t that way and it’s still not.
Hunter credits his long-term sponsors Express Ranches for believing in him and supporting him from the beginning, “Without them sticking with me through all these years I probably wouldn’t be rodeoing, they’ve been amazing to me.Hunter has picked up sponsorships with Cinch and Rios of Mercedes Boot Company. The local Comanche nation tribe will sponsor Hunter’s 2014 NFR trip, “It’s a good deal. You have to get in locally with people who want to see you do well. I’ve been trying to make this happen for a while and it finally has come together.
When asked what advice he would give to the next generation Hunter once again stresses the need to be financially aware and encourages up and comers to seek out many avenues of sponsorship, “My parents always helped me as much as they could, they always seemed to find a way to scrap fees together when it mattered. If this is what you want to do you need to bust it, get it where you need to get it, and people need to worry more about their horses and less about their rig. And don’t cut your ties with anybody because at some point you’re going to need them, I promise, and I say that from experience.“
Hunter additionally stresses a work ethic and a love for the sport, “Say there are 200-300 guys who’ve tried to make the NFR in the past 10 years and only 30 of those guys have probably ever ended up making it. But a 100 of them have been hustling and competing aggressively for seven years, they’re the ones who started in Fort Worth or Odessa and went right to the end of the season. You need to have your ducks in a row because it starts getting down to just 10% of guys making it, and it’s usually the same guys over and over.
For some it may be hard to stomach the idea of being among the elite, right there in the middle of the top 15 best ropers in the world, and not win that gold buckle. For Hunter Herrin it’s been a cruel reality his past seven trips to the NFR.
The top 15 tie-down ropers heading into Finals are made up a close-knit group of guys, guys that Hunter has traveled with, befriended, and trusts. “You want to be out there with people that you like, that you’ll hang out with, and that don’t expect you to change your routine.Competition levels exist though, friends or not, “There are some people you dang sure want to rope against because you just to rope against them, with any event you’re going to with be friends with people, or even not friends, but you want to dominate. You can’t focus on whoever is doing what, it makes you do stuff you wouldn’t normally do. I’ve just got to focus on ‘Rambo’ and myself. Hopefully it’ll get started off right and things will just keep rolling.
But while many people are striving for a gold buckle Hunter has a different perspective, “I’m not focused on winning the world, I’ve had my chances to go in there and I have failed. This year I’m going with a whole different mindset and we’ll see how it turns out. I can rope the best I can and win my fair share. It’s hard to look at those 10 calves like they are just 10 ordinary calves and you’re going to tie them all down no problem. Facing things with that mentality just isn’t who I am. You’ve got to be aggressive but you have to know when to be really aggressive and when to just do your job. 2008 was probably the closest I came to things. I’d have thought after ’08 I would’ve really matured out there at the Finals, it’s just never clicked since. That’s going to change this year though.
©Copyright 2014 Real American Cowboy Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
An Update: The first summer I took my son to the Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming he feel in love with everything about horses. The second year we went he was old enough so I booked a Pack Trip. He became obsessed with cowboys. I ended up getting him a subscription to the Real American Cowboy Magazine. He became enamored with Hunter Herrin and asked if we could spend part of the summer going to rodeos. I looked at rodeos in Colorado. The The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series which includes bull and bronco riding, steer wrestling, roping and kids’ events like calf and ram scrambles seemed like a good choice. He really wanted to see Hunter Herrin compete. He can repeat all the 2016 highlights for Herrin: Co-champion of Round 3 and placed in five rounds to rank third at the Wrangler NFR. Finished third in the world standings with $205,573. Won the San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo, the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo, the Rodeo of The Ozarks (Springdale, Ark.), the Wrangler Champion Challenge presented by Justin Boots (Kissimmee, Fla.), the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots and the Colorado (Pueblo) State Fair & Rodeo. Co-champion at the Horse Heaven Round-up Wranglers Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots (Kennewick, Wash.) Honestly I can barely keep up with my son's obsession.
Recently I was online doing a search for popular womens eyeglasses. I was planning another trip for the summer, this time to the Eatons’ Ranch in Wolf, Wyoming. It is both a dude ranch and working cattle ranch located on the magnificent, pine covered eastern slopes of the Bighorn Mountains in northeastern Wyoming. I needed to replace my regular glasses and pick up a pair of sunglasses as well. Ray Ban is my brand and I have been using an e commerce site called Eyeglasses.com to buy them without having to spend the time driving an hour to get to the closed eye glass store from where I live in upstate NY. Anyway, my son comes into my study and asks if I had booked our reservations for the summer. I had not. He was wondering if we could instead go to a dude ranch in Colorado called Tumbling River Ranch. I was willing to look into it. My question was why the change? Turns out he has a friend(girl) whose family goes each year to this Colorado dude ranch and he thought it would be great to be there at the same time she would be there with her family. Ah!! We enter the teenage years and girlfriends! I'm glad they have horseback riding and dude ranches in common. I wonder if she also is into Hunter Herrin. If not, I am sure my son will educate her!
ABOUT MARY McCASHIN
Mary McCashin was born and raised on a horse farm in a small North Carolina town. In addition to her expansive knowledge of horses, cowboys, and agricultural life, McCashin learned at an early age about a work ethic. The life of a “farm kidtaught her how to be diligent and thorough with your work, a trait she has carried forward into her career as a writer for Real American Cowboy Magazine.
McCashin has been to more rodeos than she can count and has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada. She has been attending Cheyenne Frontier Days since she was three, as well as Calgary, Houston, and the Denver Livestock Show & Rodeo just to name a few. Her exposure to horses, cowboys, and the western way of life is strong, as is her passion for writing.
2015 Colorado Summer Rodeos
The 2015 COLORADO SUMMER RODEO GUIDE
Our 2015 Colorado Summer Rodeo Guide is online from May 15th October 1st.
- All leading Colorado rodeos
- Barrel Racing Events
- Bull Riding Events
- All County Fairs
- The Colorado State Fair
For advertising rates and deadlines please call (303) 915.0736.
50% of all our ad proceeds are paid directly to sponsor Colorado Cowboys! And you get to pick your own Cowboy/Cowgirl!
REAL AMERICAN COWBOY MAGAZINE’S TOP 5 COLORADO RODEOS
Our writers and photographers attended 10 of Colorado’s leading summer rodeos and rated them in several categories including – fan appeal, cowboy hospitality, stock, contract acts, media-support and access, committee organization, crowd size and the overall production of their show.
The summer rodeo season in Colorado overall was great several top venues had issues with water and weather equine disease hampered others, but all in all there have never been more or better competitors in Colorado arenas than in 2014. People who purchased a ticket to ANY rodeo in Colorado left feeling they got their moneys worth and its safe to say that thousands of fans statewide feel good about their experience.
Colorado is second only to Texas in the number of professional rodeos each year, and we’re fortunate to have some great ones. We hope you enjoy reading our rankings of Colorado’s summer rodeos for 2014 and we hope you’ll get out and support every Colorado rodeo because the truth is… there are no bad rodeos in Colorado.
These picks may surprise some folks, some may disagree, but for our money, these are our rankings of Colorado’s summer rodeos for 2014.
THE ROOFTOP RODEO, ESTES PARK
It is high time this rodeo gets all the recognition it truly deserves. A rodeo could not be held in a more picturesque Western environment; Estes Park, Colorado is truly one of the most beautiful communities on Earth. And thats just one reason we selected this rodeo as Colorados #1 Summer Rodeo for 2014.
There’s far more to it than that. The Rodeo Committee in Estes Park operates with a level of passion we haven’t seen elsewhere. They spare no expense to make sure the cowboys and cowgirls who make the trip up the hill are well fed, happy and safe. Cowboy hospitality is a huge priority with The Rooftop Rodeo Committee – and they do it right. Media is well treated and if a rodeo committee doesn’t recognize the value of keeping the media happy, well, they’re missing an opportunity that is irreplaceable.
The Rooftop Rodeo attracts the most diversified audience in Colorado, many of whom are from foreign countries, most of whom have never attended a rodeo before. And if this is going to be your “first rodeo” – you’re in for a treat in Estes Park. For 2014, the very best summer rodeo in Colorado was The Rooftop Rodeo in Estes Park, CO.
Cover illustration courtesy Don Dane / James Frank.
THE GREELEY STAMPEDE / GREELEY
Still Colorado’s biggest summer rodeo, still the largest outdoor 4th of July rodeo in the world, still a magnificent show and venue. Always a super rodeo to attend, outstanding stock, lots of big name contestants and the best 4th of July parade in Colorado, put Greeley on your must-see list for 2015. The Greeley Stampede is a consistent award winning PRCA sanctioned rodeo held on a well-kept campus with lots of free things for the family to do and see before a rodeo performance.
If its big name rodeo celebrities you want to see The Greeley Stampede probably attracts more top cowboys and cowgirls than any other rodeo in Colorado.
THE DOUGLAS COUNTY FAIR & RODEO / CASTLE ROCK
A surprise pick?
Maybe, but if you’ve been there you know why we ranked this outstanding event so high. Great stock, super line-up of contestants, great community program.
If you havent visited the Douglas Country Fairgrounds, you should. Its obvious the people of Castle Rock and Douglas County take equine and rodeo events seriously and you can see it in the design of their entire facility. It suggests commitment and there is nothing more important to the health of a rodeo than the commitment of the community supporting it.
PIKE’S PEAK OR BUST RODEO / COLORADO SPRINGS
Another super-rodeo that should be on the list of any rodeo fan within 500 miles. A setting second only to Estes Park, this beautiful venue is a perfect place to watch a reliably outstanding rodeo performance. Big name cowboys and cowgirls line the day-sheet, top-stock and of course, the military presence is inspiring.
This is a rough-tough kind of rodeo, lots of top Colorado cowboys and cowgirls literally duke it out for scores and times and paychecks, which are always big at The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS PRORODEO SERIES / STEAMBOAT SPRINGS
The Steamboat Springs ProRodeo Series is a summer long series of sanctioned rodeo in a beautiful setting. One of the best and well-run rodeos in the West, this series gives many Colorado cowboys a place to move up the ladder within their associations.
Colorado is second only to Texas in the number of professional rodeos each year, and we’re fortunate to have some great ones. We hope you enjoyed reading our rankings of Colorado’s summer rodeos and we hope you’ll get out and support every Colorado rodeo because the truth is… they’re all top rodeos.
THE NATIONAL WESTERN STOCK SHOW Colorados Premier Event
The National Western Stock show is our home rodeo being from Denver The Stock Show has long been THE event in Colorado in fact, it is Colorados biggest event.
Were very proud and honored to be a part of the media team that covers the National Western this is an article about the man we work most closely, with, Mr. Leon Vick.
Leon Vick is the Director of Rodeo and Horse Show Operations at Denvers National Western Stock Show. He’s a nice guy. He’s trusted. He knows a lot of people. And he knows what he’s doing.
Leon Vick has a big job. He is responsible for coordinating and overseeing all production items of the rodeo as well as the ticketed events in the horse show arena. No small feat. If you’ve been to the National Western Stock Show before think about everything going on – and much of it simultaneously – there are hundreds of vendors offering some of the coolest, one-of-a-kind merchandise and services you’ll ever see.
If you have a few minutes youll love this video and it tells the story of the National Western Stock Show in a way youve never seen it before. If youve never been to the National Western, have a look at what youll get to see live when you come this year. This video was produced by Real American Cowboy Magazine in 2014, all the photography youll see was shot on location by Sean Halverson. Sean is among the most noted ranch and rodeo photographers in the United States, his lives in Colorado and is a Stock Show fan himself.
There are cattle shows, dog shows, fine western art, the hall of education, draft horse shows, and rodeos – great PRCA rodeos go on throughout the entire Stock Show featuring outstanding livestock and many of the cowboys who just competed in the National Finals Rodeo in December. The National Western Stock Show is a livestock show visited by more than 600,000 people annually in Denver – they come from all over the world to see and be part of this remarkable event, now 108 years old that so many people love because it’s stayed true to itself – no big name entertainers, no flashy side shows – simply the best livestock show in America.
The National Western Stock Show gives people a chance to make a very real and personal connection to the people who raise all kinds of livestock, to learn about their lives and who they are and to make new friends. You may see a calf born, you may see a sheep sheared, you will see many of the finest cattle, horses, swine, goats and a long list of other farm and ranch critters in the entire world.
And you will love every minute of it. And it’s Leon Vick’s job to make all that happen. Easy? Think again. There are 41 ticketed events in all over the course of the 16 day show as well as a schedule packed with rodeo performances. In addition, Leon manages all budgets and personnel associated with rodeo and horse show operations at the NWSS. It takes experience to do a job of this magnitude.
Leon brings plenty of experience to the position. I was the PRCA Mountain States Circuit President for several years and ran my own company before I started at the NWSS. Being a successful cowboy for more than 20 years has paid dividends toward my post rodeo career, he says. Leon cites six major points for putting the large number of events together and making the show run smoothly; (1) Great people around me! (2) Quality committees. (3) Solid volunteers. (4) Trusting everyone to do the job that they are asked to own. (5) Accept input from the one that helps make it happen. (6) Hold every time line as though it is the only time line. There are a lot of people in a lot of different jobs that make the National Western Stock Show happen. Just the crews that I work directly with number close to 75.
Their jobs range from full time staff to production crews, sound & video, bull fighters, stock contractors, judges, vets and superintendents, Vicks points out. One of the important jobs is taking care of the 30,000 animals involved between rodeo, horse shows and livestock shows.
Leon feels a sense of responsibility to show respect for these animals. Most of the rodeo stock is housed at a ranch outside of Denver and cared for by our primary stock contractors. Quality hay and clean water is a must for us to provide to all animals. The show horses are housed in the stalling area of the horse show arena all under the same roof. Leon finds time management to be the most difficult part of the job. He has to put his trust in the people he works with to make the transitions go smoothly. I help provide guidance and trust our primary stock contractor and horse show superintendents to make it all happen.
For Leon, the part of the job he likes best is keeping the show appealing to its guests. The challenge is to create new twists to a 108 year old event so it remains relevant. The animals, much like the people in the industries have become more specialized to just one discipline. Rodeo is one of the areas where Leon has made changes. I helped develop a new rodeo format that is more fan friendly and easy to follow, he says. Leon takes great pride in his work at the NWSS. We challenge ourselves each show to successfully promote western heritage and a lifestyle that is getting further away from mainstream USA. All the while, were entertaining some of the best guests that an event could ask to have! The National Western Stock Show starts Saturday January 11th and runs through the 26th at the National Western Complex in Denver.
For more information or to purchase tickets go to: www.NationalWestern.com. The kick-off parade is set for January 9th in downtown Denver! If you’re one of those local folks who always plans to attend the Stock Show only to wake-up one morning to find out it’s over… well, this year come early. The National Western Stock Show is internationally recognized as the leading livestock show in the world, more than 30,000 of the finest ranch and rodeo animals will be there waiting for you. It’s the showcase of agriculture, a place you’ll the experience the wholesome lure of another culture – ag people – they from all over the country to show and share and to meet people just like you.
If you have kids, well this is hands down THE most family-oriented event in Colorado each year and something your kids will become enthralled with from the moment you walk through the door. Plan at least 4 hours that could easily turn into all day – dress warm – hop in the car and get family where people have been coming in January for 108 years. There’s plenty of parking and free shuttles to and from the complex. For more information and to see additional articles about the 108th National Western Stock Show, including a complete schedule of events.www.RealAmericanCowboyMagazine.com > National Western. Look for our posts throughout the entire Stock Show on www.Facebook,com/RealAmericanCowboyMagazine The National Western Stock Show – agriculture’s leading event – see ya’ there!
If you’re one of those local folks who always plans to attend the Stock Show only to wake-up one morning to find out it’s over… well, this year come early. The National Western Stock Show is internationally recognized as the leading livestock show in the world, more than 30,000 of the finest ranch and rodeo animals will be there waiting for you. It’s the showcase of agriculture, a place you’ll the experience the wholesome lure of another culture – ag people – they from all over the country to show and share and to meet people just like you. If you have kids, well this is hands down THE most family-oriented event in Colorado each year and something your kids will become enthralled with from the moment you walk through the door. Plan at least 4 hours that could easily turn into all day – dress warm – hop in the car and get family where people have been coming in January for 108 years. There’s plenty of parking and free shuttles to and from the complex.
For tickets, information and more visit www.NationalWestern.com. For more information and to see additional articles about the 2015 National Western Stock Show, including a complete schedule of events, you can also visit, www.RealAmericanCowboyMagazine.com > National Western.
OUR LEADING STORYTELLERS
Many excellent freelance writers contribute to our content, were not only grateful to them we acknowledge they are a large part of our success. You will see their by-lines throughout the stories shown on our PAST STORIES page.
HOPE SICKLER / 2013 REAL AMERICAN COWBOY MAGAZINE WRITER OF THE YEAR / Colorado
An accomplished professional barrel racer, horse trainer and rodeo journalist, Hope Sickler is a frequent contributor and popular writer appearing on Real American Cowboy Magazine. Raised on a mega-ranch in North Dakota, hopes lives, loves and knows the cowboy world.
Hope attended North Dakota State University, Global Equine Academy and Dickinson State University.
Hope also recently became the Editor of a new online magazine for the barrel racing community, Mile Hi Barrel Horse Magazine.
SHANNON COLE / 2014 REAL AMERICAN COWBOY MAGAZINE WRITER OF THE YEAR / California
As a Western Photographer, her work becomes a journal. She loves storytelling using her photographs. Shannon’s journey in photography began while living in a rugged log cabin nestled on Thomas Mountain in California with her two small children. Later, they settled on a beautiful ranch in Canada.
Some days, she would venture out to take photos of old abandoned barns. She discovered that while healing from the loss of her first son Tyler, what she saw through the lens was him. His gentle spirit has inspired her to follow her heart. Since then, her love for the Western lifestyle has grown tremendously.
She looks closely at what something can become and not what is. When an old dusty pair of chaps, the rim of a cowboy hat or something as simple as the chipped tea kettle her Grandmother left behind turns into a beautiful oil painting or photograph, you learn to appreciate the goodness that comes out of them. She tries not to force things. Whatever inspires you, will come in time, if you believe.
Shannon is blessed with a “good eye”, a God given talent for which she is grateful, and the knowledge and skill to capture images that take you right into “Nature’s Breath”.
Tyler Photography, “Nature’s Breath”.
In loving Memory of her son, Tyler 1989-1993
CHARLIE NICKS / Publisher/Managing Editor / Colorado
Charlie learned to write by the light of an open woodstove door in a dilapidated ranch bunkhouse during the years he was a “working cowboy” on an large cow-calf operation in Western Montana.
With no television and no radio, nights in that bunkhouse were extremely quiet and almost hypnotic when coupled with a nice fire. He worked for nearly 10 years on that ranch, some years not making a single phone call, irrigating, fencing, haying, doctoring, calving, feeding, weaning and shipping calves.
His life there was rich – most days working horseback – some days dangerous weather conditions – some days dangerous wildlife encounters 45 miles from civilization – the beauty of Western Montana – real cowboy life. He didn’t make much money, $250.00 a week in cash, a tank of gas and a carton of cigarettes. Friday afternoon to Saturday morning off.
Charlie’s birth certificate listed his father’s occupation as “cowboy”. Most of his family were rodeo cowboys, Charlie stayed home, working the ranch and caring for cattle. The ranch is now more than 100 years old and still family owned.
At first, Charlie wrote some pretty mediocre cowboy poetry, then some pretty mediocre short stories about small town cowboy life. Then some better cowboy poetry, then some better short stories and eventually books and eventually historical novels, two of them national Best Sellers.
In all, Charlie has written and published 14 Books and Historical Western Novels – his books are available at more than 800 fine booksellers throughout the West. He is also the Publisher of Real American Cowboy Magazine, now the leading online cowboy magazine in the world touching base with more than 2,000,000 viewers a month and boosting 230,000+ Facebook LIKES in just 15 months.
Charlie grew up in an extremely remote ranching environment in Western Montana – he spent a lot of years just being a cowboy – drinking beer and bailing hay – and to a large degree that has been responsible for his popularity among “cowboy people.”
So, when you read Real American Cowboy Magazine or any of his books, don’t think it was written by some guy with a pony-tail and earring trying to live out his cowboy fantasy – Charlie Nicks was born, raised and retiring – a cowboy. This may be the most transparent biography you will ever read – its the cowboy way.
In many respects Charlies life has been every bit as miserable as everybody else’s, some more so than others!
Hes been married three times, divorced twice, audited by the IRS five times, once had a nasty drinking habit, spent a 151 days in the pokey for bouncing two checks in 1994, a not surprisingly embarrassing low-moment in his life but one he stepped-up to having never had another drink nor so much as a traffic ticket in the 20 years since. The upside is, its kept him out of politics!
He once had a horse drown under him in a river, been run over by a buffalo, was once trapped in a stampede, diagnosed with colorectal cancer, built two magnificent companies hes twice been hospitalized in equine incidents, once bought a horse named Bucky without asking why the horse was named Bucky, been lost in the Montana mountains in January, employed a couple of hundred people, written and published 13 books, including 4 historical novels, 2 of them Best Sellers, appeared before about 2,000 audiences in 49 states and 5 Canadian provinces, once got a 4-minute standing ovation in Miami, (and thats not easy to do), befriended some pretty famous people and some genuine low-life’s and loved them both, worked in national politics, caught a skunk, a fox and a baby black bear, got saved several times, donated money to evangelist’s and paid for the funeral of an Indian man he didnt even know. Hes earned millions of dollars, owned a night club, credit collection agency, miniature golf course, insurance agency, and an advertising agency, four of them before he was 25, written some cowboy poetry that hangs in the Cowboy Hall of Fame, fought an occasion bout of depression, borrowed tons of money, repaid most of it sometimes a little late, never given-up on a person or a project, been a toothache of a relative, friend and family member, loved his family, paid for the college education of a young lady whose parents couldnt, quit hunting, plays crummy golf, left the Republican Party, doesnt trust bankers, sneaks an occasional smoke, been sober as a judge for 17 years, hasnt taken a pill of any kind, including aspirin, since October 2009, hardly ever swears any more, tries to keep his word, has a few dastardly enemies, many wonderful friends, a great sense of humor and a pretty good heart.
Charlie is a turtle, slow and deliberate, he does his homework. He loves libraries, hardly anybody knows that and visits libraries almost everywhere he goes, his two favorites are the Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT and the Klamath Falls City Library you can guess where its located. Google, he thinks, could be among Gods greatest gifts.
Hes taught classes at Central Colorado College, the Demming Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellent AT the Leeds School of Business AT the University of Colorado AT Boulder (a great school with a ridiculously long name), and the University of South Carolina. He is or has been a member of the Colorado Council on the Arts, Montana Historical Society, Wyoming Historical Society, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Colorado Authors League and Western Writers of America.
His books can be purchased at BarnesandNoble.com and/or Amazon.com and are available in hardback, paperback, CD or Ebook.
Historical Novels by Charlie Nicks
- Buffalo Tears
-Big Medicine Visions of Early Montana
- The Milk Check
Other books by Charlie Nicks
- Cowboy-up Cinching-up for the new economy
- Barely Gettin by in Bovine County
- The Official Bovine County Guide to Simple Living
- The Women from Venus Meet the Boys from Bovine County
- A Bovine County Christmas
- Toilet Tank Literature for the Soul
- Montana Spirits Bright
He likes quiet places where people are well behaved, libraries are the best but golf courses, camp grounds and churches work pretty good too. His favorite writer is James A. Michener who passed away in 1999, but he confesses having read every John Grisham novel. Hes read a couple of thousand books, too many of them business-oriented oriented, and he regrets that.
He loves the art of the great Charlie Russell who died in 1926 leaving the world with a glimpse of Montanas formative years and some of Fredric Remingtons work. Tom Bodett is his favorite storyteller and commercial radio broadcast voice, Motel 6 however is not his favorite motel. He likes Dave Barrys newspaper commentaries and those written by the late Lewis Grizzard from Atlanta. George Striat tops his music favorites, followed by Led Zeppelin. He has yet to buy into Lady GaGa, handicapped principally by her stage name choice. Lewis Black and Ron White (Black and White, get it?) are his two favorite comedians Chris Rock is right up there too.
Like many writers, Charlie Nick’s birth name isnt Charlie Nicks. Its a very difficult to spell and pronounce German name that his publisher thought might be a mistake to use if youre trying to sell cowboy and Indian books. Though hes never legally changed it, most people know him by Charlie Nicks, far more than by his difficult to spell and pronounce German people. This causes a lot of needless extra thinking for him in life and adds to the misery mentioned in paragraph one bank things, insurance things, tax things and legal stuff like drivers licenses and social security information has to be done in his difficult to spell and pronounce German name, everything else he does in life is Charlie Nicks. Sometimes people find out Charlies name isnt really Charlie Nicks and think they have discovered some dark secret about him a non-stop source of entertainment to him.
He is a guy who truly loves his family, friends, fans and customers. The people he loves most in life are (NOT IN ANY SPECIFIC ORDER!!!!) Terri, his wife, Blaine, Liz, and Anna. Both of his natural parents have sadly passed, he loved them both very much. He would take a bullet for his dog, Littles arguably the best dog in America, maybe the whole wide world.
He is a man who owes a lot of gratitude to a lot of people none more so than his family who have always seen fit to support him in every way. Hes also grateful to the hundreds, if not thousands of people who have always been so nice to him friends, customers, waitresses, pilots, policeman, critics, publishers, employees, bankers and competitors.
He also believes in saying youre sorry when youre wrong straight-up and fast and inspired by the television show My Name is Earl keeps a list in his pocket of people who he needs to mend-a-fence with. If he hasnt gotten to you yet, be patient, its a long list.
After retiring from something of acclaimed career as an advertising executive, Charlie decided to go back to his agricultural roots where his head and certainly his heart have always been. He launched Real American Cowboy Magazine online in March 2013 expecting a modest audience. Within a matter of months the publication, as they say, “exploded”. Today, well over 2,000,000 “cowboy people” are touched by Real American Cowboy Magazine every month – it has become the leading online Western magazine in the United States and has a phenomenal return reader record. Today, Real American Cowboy Magazine is the most popular cowboy magazine in the world with well over 400,000 Facebook Fans.
He speaks, mostly keynote presentations and he still teaches marketing – though today he only teaches online and social media marketing. And he is also one of the oldest working rodeo clowns in the country and enjoys entertaining kids and parents alike in the arena.
Charlie believes in human beings, he believes there is good in everyone! He also believes that man was endowed with the seeds of greatness and that America is still the best place on Earth, it is truly the land of the free, the home of the brave, a place where any man or any woman can get, do or become anything theyre willing to work for.
Simultaneously, he sometimes gets frustrated with himself at times when his own performance lacks its best and hes very, very, very, very disappointed in the conduct and attitude of financial and political leadership of this country and the general condition of the country, but believes, in time, well get this all squared-up.
Charlie is a guy who thinks transparency is a good thing and works hard at the risky practice of putting it all out there, what you see is what you get mind-set. He doesn’t expect himself or others to be perfect, though that has not always been the case, he does expect himself and others to be kind to one another recognizing most of us are trying to do the best we can and in the end, we’re only imperfect humans.
In the deepest recesses of his heart, Charlie Nicks wishes all people most of the things money can buy and all of the things money cant buy. And that includes you.