You wouldn’t think a romance writer and a bull rider would have much in common. But Abe Morris and I both love two things: writing, and rodeo. Meeting him at this year’s Cheyenne Frontier Days was one of the high points of my rodeo season.
Abe started out in New Jersey, roping calves at the Cowtown Rodeo. His enthusiasm for the sport led him to attend the University of Wyoming on an academic and rodeo scholarship, and he rode with the UW team for four years. After graduation, he had a long and successful career in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association until suffereing a career-ending injury in 1994, but getting beat up didn’t get him out of rodeo. He became the first African American rodeo announcer sanctioned by the PRCA, and was a Frontier Days commentator on the Fox network for nine years. He also began writing about his experiences.
It’s obvious Abe loves his sport, but when he talks about writing he really lights up. His book, My Cowboy Hat Still Fits, was published by Pronghorn Press in 2005. I picked it up last year when I was researching bull riding for Cowboy Crazy, and read it in a couple of days. His experience as an African American cowboy from the East is definitely unique in the annals of rodeo. It’s a great story.
Abe still writes for Humps N’ Horns magazine on a regular basis, and he still hangs out behind the chutes at Frontier Days. It was great to meet a cowboy who truly made rodeo history–and wrote about it, too!