Tuesday, December 21, 2010


In spite of all else, I still enjoy the good old post WWII cowboy tales, politically incorrect as they may be.  They are preserved and extended at the website called http://www.ropeandwire.com. The material below is quoted with permission from that source.  I had to strip out the portraits and book jackets.


Each week, great western short stories and cowboy poetry are posted onto the Rope and Wire website. This is where you will also find dozens of your favorite old western movies along with interviews from current western authors and so much more.

The winners of the very first Rope and Wire Western Short Story Competition have been officially announced.
All of the judges agree that the stories submitted to this year's competition were all very good. So good in fact, it was a close call between many of them. . . . none of the judges knew who the others were until the winners were posted onto the Rope and Wire website. As it should be, and how it will be again next year when we host our second annual western short story competition.

I'm sure everyone is excited to read the results, but first, let me introduce you to the three judges who put so much of their time and effort into making this competition such a success.

Preliminary Judge, James J. Griffin

While a native New Englander, Jim has been a student of the frontier West from a very young age. He has traveled extensively throughout the western United States, and has visited many of the famous Western frontier towns, such as Tombstone, Pecos, Deadwood, Cheyenne, and numerous others.

Jim became particularly interested in the Texas Rangers from the television series Tales of the Texas Rangers. His deep interest in the Texas Rangers led him to amass an extensive collection of Texas Ranger artifacts, which is now in the permanent collections of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco.

Jim has also been an avid horseman all of his life. He bought his first horse, a pinto, while he was a junior in college, and has owned several American Paint Horses, including his current mount, Yankee.

Jim's books are traditional Westerns in the best sense of the term, with strong heroes who have good moral values. Highly reminiscent of the pulp westerns of yesterday, the heroes and villains are clearly separated with few shades of gray. No anti-heroes to be found here.

Jim is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. When not traveling out West, he currently divides his time between Branford, Connecticut and Keene, New Hampshire.

Death Stalks the Rangers 
By Jim Griffin

Texas Ranger Sean Kennedy is preparing to feed his troop's horses their morning rations when he spies an approaching horse. As the animal draws nearer, he recognizes the mount as belonging to fellow Ranger Thad Dutton. Dutton's body is hanging from the saddle, his foot caught in the stirrup.

Also just released by James J. Griffin,  Ride to Redemption, the second novel in the Cody Havlicek Texas Ranger series, from Condor Publishing, Inc.


Jim's Top Five (preliminary) Choices...

Alias the Cook 
Alias the Cook is imaginative, original, and just a darned fine piece of work.

Disturbing the Peace 
This is an extremely well-written, engrossing character study of the main protagonist, Sheriff Leo Coughlan.
For the Love of a Woman 
For the Love of a Woman is a fine human interest Western short story.

Some dog stories can be overly sentimental and maudlin, but the author hit this story just perfectly

Flash of Light 
I chose this story for its lack of pretension. It's exactly what it's meant to be, a romantic tale in the style of the pulp short stories of the late 40s or the 50s.

Preliminary Judge, Celia Hayes

As a writer, Celia Hayes is passionately interested in the history of the American frontier. She was brought up in an eccentric, baby-boom family, which provided rich materiel for her memoir "Our Grandpa Was an Alien".  She earned a degree in English Literature (California State University Northridge, 1976) before an un-slaked thirst for adventure and foreign travel led her to enlist in the United States Air Force.

She trained as a radio and television broadcast technician, and served for 20 years in Greece, Spain, Japan, Korea, Greenland and Ogden, Utah, in a wide assortment of duties which included midnight alt-rock DJ, TV news anchor, video-production librarian, radio and television writer and producer, production manager, and base tour guide.

In 2002, she became a regular contributor to the military-oriented weblog, "Sgt. Stryker's Daily Brief" (now "The Daily Brief") as "Sgt. Mom" writing essays and commentary on matters historical, personal, political, literary and military.

Daughter of Texas  By Celia Hayes 
A drama of a woman's life in Texas, before the cattle drives, before the Alamo, before the legends were born!

Celia Hayes at Open Salon

Celia's Top Five (preliminary)Choices...

The 4:15 Fiasco
I really rather liked the twist: that the robbers inadvertently did the good thing and got rewarded!

Flash of Light
Nice concise ending, and best closing wise-ass remark evah!

The Double Eagle
Nice classic western, loved the double-twist

Alias The Cook
Original character and set-up (I had to flip a coin to decide between this and The Professor Goes West - similar easterner adapting to west theme)

The K-Bar Incident
Didn't see THAT coming. This one, incidentally, could be done as a full-length novel.

Dave P. Fisher

Dave P. Fisher has spent half his lifetime as a working cowboy, rodeo rider, bronc buster, horsepacker, and guide. His adventures on the back of a horse have taken him from the wilds of Alaska to Oregon, and all through the Rocky Mountains .

Dave began putting his cowboy knowledge and experiences into poems, and then into western novels and short stories. His latest publications are the western historical trilogy, The Poudre Canyon Saga. Book 1 – Where Free Gather is out and can be found at bookstores and Amazon.com. Book 2 - White Grizzly is due out mid-December 2010, and Book 3 – The Men From Poudre Canyon will be out the beginning of 2011.

Information can be found at >> http://www.bottomofthehillpublishing.com

He is internationally published with over 300 non-fiction articles and fiction works to his credit. Along with winning top places in national western short story competitions his short stories have, to date, earned 8 Reader’s Choice Awards and others have been published in anthologies. His collection of Western short stories: Bronc Buster – Short Stories of the American West was awarded the prestigious Will Rogers Medallion Award for Outstanding Western Fiction.

THE WINNERS of the very first Rope and Wire Short Story Competition, along with comments from our final judge, Dave P. Fisher, are...

1st Place, and the winner of the competition's top prize of $250. 

The K-Bar Incident 
By Bill Henderson.  

Caught and held my attention from the beginning.


2nd Place, and the winner of the competition's prize of $75.

  For the Love of a Woman 
By Charlie Steel

.  Paints a picture of a couple struggling with a problem many have and the emotion and turmoil they experienced makes the story realistic. 

3rd Place, and the winner of the competitions prize of $50.

By Tom Roberts.   The writer gives us a look into Chapman’s tortured soul and broken heart and the depths that a man can sink to.

4th Place, and Certificate of Honorable Mention. 

The Double Eagle  
By T. T. Thurman.  

Well written, flowed smoothly with a good plot line that stayed on track.

5th Place and Certificate of Honorable Mention. 

Disturbing the Peace.  
By Elisabeth Foley

.   A young man who has been a friend to all finds that friendship returned when he is down. 


Old Scrote said...

I never read a cowboy/Western story in my life, but I was brought up on B movies starring, well you know them, Hopalong Cassidy, Randolph Scott, Roy Rogers, and so on. All the good guys wore white stetsons, all the villains black. Life was SO uncomplicated then. And the women knew their place..... :-)

prairie mary said...

And now all the hats are gray or maybe navy blue, and mostly baseball caps anyway, and a good share of them on women! But you'll never know it from Rope and Wire!

Prairie Mary