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Rodeo sidebar

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by ccraker, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. ccraker

    ccraker Guest

    I haven't posted a story in a while, but if anyone could critique this that would be great. I have never covered the rodeo before, so I was curious what everyone thinks of this story. I only had about 20 minutes to write because the rodeo was running late.

    By Craig Craker

    PECOS Nearly all school teachers work during the summer to supplement their income.

    Not many have as cool a job as Kelly Maben.

    The Spur elementary school teacher is one of the best barrel racers in the country, qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo three times.

    "I think there are a lot of school teachers that rodeo, but not at this level," Maben said. "It's hard to compete at this level and keep a full-time job. I've been fortunate because my horse is really solid and really sound."

    Maben and her horse Bubba were on hand at the 125th West of the Pecos Rodeo on Wednesday. They didn't have the best time, finishing in 17.76 seconds, but the pair is likely on their way to another championship season.

    "School was out May 27 and I just hung around the house and this is my first rodeo of the summer," Maben said. "It is a Texas rodeo and a good Texas rodeo. They have a lot of good money. I leave for the summer from here."

    Maben is in Pecos with her cousin Clintonna Todd, of Lamesa, and will meet up with her husband Tye and 20-month-old Macye before traveling to Greeley, Colo. The group will then head to a rodeo in Calgary, Canada, for Maben's first time competing there.

    "Because of the teaching I try not to miss too much time during the school year," Maben said. "I try to hit as many rodeos during the summer as I can."

    Maben was raised as a barrel racer and went to Texas Tech where she decided to become a school teacher. She teaches English and writing to third, fourth and fifth graders at Spur Elementary and doesn't see herself stopping anytime soon.

    "I probably won't quit teaching," Maben said. "Probably when this horse is done, I won't rodeo as much.

    "It's not to old for a horse, but it is getting up there for a barrel racing horse."

    But the 14-year-old Bubba isn't done yet and Maben hopes to get a chance to compete in Las Vegas again and top the $102,332 she won in 2006.
  2. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    How much time/space did you have with this story? It really lacks, well, everything. Why did she start this? Is it only about the money? How does that compare to an average teacher's salary in Texas?

    What is it about "horse being done"? Can't she get a new one? What is a barrel racer? How do they travel with a horse and a 20-month old?

    Did she compete when she was pregnant? Does her husband compete? What actually does she do when she competes.

    See all these question I have? So, too, does your audience.

    You needed to provide a lot more depth and detail.
  3. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    OK, I did just see this was a sidebar...

    Still, it did lack a little depth and detail.

    I know this was your first time, but use that to you advantage. People love talking about themselves and obscure sports they love. They will help you and just keep asking questions until you understand. It will help your story, you would be surprised.
  4. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

    I can't even begin to express to you how much I hate rodeo. And I worked in the west so I know what I'm talking about.

    That said, I worked in the west, so I know what I'm talking about. I'm pretty sure you are talking about the Calgary Stampede here, which is kind of like the Super bowl of the rodeo world. Anyone in your audience that knows the sport--and you are in Texas, so that's a lot--knows very well what the "rodeo in Calgary" is. By writing it the way you did you betray your lack of knowledge about the sport. You are also underselling her accomplishment of qualifying to the event--you can't just sign up to go to Calgary. It's a big deal she's going.

    It also betrays your lack of questioning, I suspect.
  5. ccraker

    ccraker Guest

    Interesting. I have never heard of the Calgary Stampede and will keep that in mind for my next rodeo I cover. The thing that is strange to me is, she just randomly threw in she was going to a rodeo in Calgary, so I figured it was just another rodeo during Cowboy Christmas.
    Anyway, thanks for the help.
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