Blacktop Cowboys

Riders on the Run for Rodeo Gold

Ty Phillips

Thomas Dunne Books

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Blacktop Cowboys chronicles the 2004 rodeo season through the eyes of several steer wrestlers trying to make it back to rodeo’s version of the Super Bowl, the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas.
   Steer wrestling is an adventure that entails riding into an arena at 25 mph, sliding off a horse while taking hold of a 500-pound steer, and then throwing the animal to the ground. The best cowboys often accomplish all this in less than four seconds. The two main characters of Blacktop Cowboys are Luke Branquinho, a young carefree cowboy on a quest for his first title, and his best friend, Travis Cadwell, a veteran trying to make the NFR one last time.
     Much of Blacktop Cowboys unfolds in trucks, trailers, arenas, behind the chutes, casinos, beds and everywhere else cowboys spend their time. By taking the reader deep into the cowboys’ lives, Blacktop Cowboys offers a true and intimate portrait of men having the time of their lives while living on the road in pursuit of the dream to be the best.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One 
The Road to Denver
Norco, California
Sunday, January 18
Luke Branquinho unzipped his pants and began pissing into a fresh pile of horse manure. A bubbling green liquid oozed atop the parking lot dirt in small streams, a spent mixture of alfalfa hay and countless Coors Lights. The bleary-eyed cowboy stood beside a Ford F350 pickup in a halfhearted bid for privacy. He steadied himself by gripping the truck’s bed with his right hand. His left arm hung limp by his side.
A couple hundred yards away, small groups of people made their way

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Praise for Blacktop Cowboys

"With gritty tough-guy prose and an unerring eye for details that capture the guts and frailty of the human condition, Phillips has crafted an enthralling tale of the modern bulldogging cowboy...This is a raunchy, insightful delight." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Phillips...knows how to tell a good story...He captures the solitude and camaraderie which runs deeper than an unattended cooler of Coors Light."
--Entertainment Weekly
"This one of those books that will get read, passed around, discussed, picked apart, and then elevated to the level of classic." --Booklist
"More than just a good story about a couple of cowboyas on the road, BLACKTOP COWBOYS is about top athletes striving to eek out a living and make a name for themselves in one of the most difficult yet least understood sports in our country." --Lynn Campion, author of RODEO: Behind the Scenes at America's Most Exciting Sport
"In a world full of foul-mouthed cowboys, liquor and gambling, Ty Phillips, with his eye for detail and evocative prose, does something almost unimaginable: He discovers the beauty of it all.'' --Josh Peter, author of FRIED TWINKIES, BUCKLE BUNNIES & BULL RIDERS
"Ty Phillips does an outstanding job of taking the reader into the world of a professional rodeo cowboy. It’s a fun read for people who don’t know anything about cowboys or the sport. At the same time, it’s very credible for those who live and breathe rodeo. BLACKTOP COWBOYS makes you feel like you’re a traveling partner out on the road for a year experiencing everything – and I mean everything." – Ty Murray, 7-time all-around rodeo world champion and author of KING OF THE COWBOYS
"This is one of the most accurate and truthful rodeo books I’ve ever read. A lot of fans only see cowboys for a few seconds in the arena and think, ‘What a glorious life it is.’ But the rest of it isn’t quite as glamorous, and BLACKTOP COWBOYS captures that in an enjoyable way. If you really want to understand rodeo, then get this book because it accurately describes what happens in and out of the arena."--Walt Garrison, former steer wrestler and Dallas Cowboys fullback

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About the Author

Ty Phillips

TY PHILLIPS is an award-winning columnist and features writer for The Modesto Bee. He lives in Hickman, CA. Blacktop Cowboys is his first book. In addition to raising sons, brewing beer and singing in a rock band, he currently is writing his second book.

Ty Phillips


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Available Formats and Book Details

Blacktop Cowboys
Riders on the Run for Rodeo Gold
Ty Phillips

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
December 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466859173
ISBN10: 1466859172
272 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs

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Thomas Dunne Books

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