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Hey, Cowgirl, Need a Ride?
     

Hey, Cowgirl, Need a Ride?

4.7 8
by Baxter Black
 

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Two years after he won the average at the Las Vegas National Rodeo Finals by riding Kamikaze, the world’s most unridable bull, Lick is down on his luck, working on a ranch in the remote Nevada desert with Al Bean, an ornery old cowboy. Then into their lives crashes Teddie Arizona–aka T.A.–a woman of mystery who crawls out of the wreckage of her plane

Overview

Two years after he won the average at the Las Vegas National Rodeo Finals by riding Kamikaze, the world’s most unridable bull, Lick is down on his luck, working on a ranch in the remote Nevada desert with Al Bean, an ornery old cowboy. Then into their lives crashes Teddie Arizona–aka T.A.–a woman of mystery who crawls out of the wreckage of her plane with a $500,000 secret.

When T.A.’s “husband,” F. Rank Pantaker, dispatches his henchmen to retrieve the money–and the girl–Lick and Al find themselves trying to outrun the bad guys and protect a damsel in distress. Is T.A. out to cheat her cheatin’ husband, or is she really just trying to stop an illegal scheme cooked up by F. Rank and the infamous Ponce de Crayon, Vegas’s most glamorous tiger tamer? Is she playing Lick–or is it love?

Will Al Bean’s cockeyed schemes, an able assist from Cody, Lick’s cowboy sidekick, a brigade of old-time rodeo reunioneers, and a few miles of duct tape be enough to stop F. Rank’s nefarious plan, reform a career party girl, and change the hearts and minds of ten of the world’s most thrill-seeking billionaires? Can Cody keep Lick from climbing onto raging bull Kamikaze’s back one more time? Can true love triumph over shoot-outs at the not-so-okay corral and close encounters with white tigers? Hey, this is Baxter Black—what do you think?

Written with Baxter’s rip-roaring humor and inventive language, this caper gallops to a thunderously satisfying conclusion. Fans who enjoyed Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky? will relish their reunion with Lick and Cody, while new readers will delight in this unforgettable cast of characters.


Also available as a Random House AudioBook


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ten years after the publication of Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky? Black revisits the wild and woolly world of Lick and Cody, the two rodeo cowboys who got lucky. This time around, Lick is down on his luck in southern Idaho, licking his wounds after a series of rodeo setbacks. His romantic life takes a turn for the better, though, with the calamitous arrival of the beautiful Teddie Arizona Grant ("T.A."), who survives a plane crash after fleeing Las Vegas-and her husband, after stealing some of his cash. Subsequent chapters fill in the blanks: T.A.'s marriage to casino owner F. Rank is strictly one of convenience, while her theft is connected to an effort to stop a lucrative exotic animal hunt organized by Rank and a high-level animal trainer (stage name: Ponce de Crayon). T.A. is hunted down by Rank and his evil henchman; she escapes, and Lick (with an assist from Cody, who arrives mid-book, now 29 and married) attempts rescue. The plot is numbing, but more or less beside the point. What will bring readers back to Lick is Black's loving, sophisticated sendup of western romances, as if Larry McMurtry were writing Blazing Saddles II. 8-city author tour. (On sale Sept. 13) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Black, America's favorite cowboy poet, is larger than life and twice as funny, on radio and in print. This novel, his 18th and the follow-up to Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky?, continues with the misadventures of former rodeo champion Lick Davis as he tries to help blond party gal Teddie Arizona (T.A.-a none-too-subtle joke there) against her evil pretend-husband, F. Rank Pantaker, and his tiger-taming partner-in-crime, Ponce de Crayon. Black lays it on thick-too thick, sometimes-in this tall tale of cartoon cowboys and ruthless Vegas types. Through a series of captures, escapes, rescues, and more captures, the story moves ahead at breakneck speed and with all the energy of a bucking bronco. After just three chapters, readers are sure to find themselves talkin' like cowboys and feelin' 'round for their six-shooters. Highly recommended.-Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A good-lookin' gal gone wrong goes right but it takes a couple of lonesome cowboys to pull it off. NPR commentator and erstwhile veterinarian Black picks up the story of champion rodeo rider Lincoln Delgado Davis, known to one and all as Lick and last seen in 1994's Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky?, where he rode a wild bull and appeared nude on a camel. Black sets his hero down two years later in the sparsely settled Idaho/Nevada border country where unlucky Lick is paired up with gabby WWII vet and retired rodeo rider Al Bean, looking after a small herd under a big empty sky. From which falls Ms. Teddie Arizona, a hard-partying cocktail waitress whose deal with the devil has gone way wrong. Seems Teddie (known to most as T.A.) signed on for a two-year hitch posing as the wife of a big jerk from Las Vegas, Mr. F.Rank Pantaker. It seemed like a good idea at the time. F.Rank needed to convince his family he was a sober citizen, and T.A. needed to get the hell out of Vail, where the law was about to sweep her up with her drug-dealing roommates. But when T.A. learned that F.Rank had joined with Vegas animal trainer Ponce de Crayon in a scheme to bring big spenders to Ponce's ranch for a chance to slaughter endangered species, well, that was just too damned much. Pausing only to clear five million dollars in hunting deposits out F.Rank's wall safe, T.A. flew out of Vegas in the company plane only to hit a storm somewhere past Elko, where she crashed into the path of Al and Lick, who were out checking up on some missing cows. Lick and T.A. have to put off consummation of a pretty mutual attraction to stop that hunt, an effort that will involve a huge, half-loco cast of characters. Kinky Friedmanmeets Carl Hiaasen for harmless but slightly forced fun and games.
From the Publisher
Praise for Baxter Black

“He could make a dead man sit up and laugh.” —Washington Post Book World

“Humorist and poet of the ranch and the barnyard, Baxter Black has variously been dubbed a latter-day Will Rogers, the dean of cowboy bards, and the Art Buchwald of the Stetson-and-Levi’s crowd.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“Baxter Black is Mark Twain served up with a little Groucho Marx.” —The Weekly Standard

“If you like folksy and smart, earthy and sentimental, Black’s your man, and if you like cowboy poetry, no one does it better.” —Chicago Booklist

“Bax is a great writer . . . a voice from out there that needs to be heard.” —Bob Edwards, XM Public Radio

“He sees things nobody else sees. He has an imagination that is unparalleled.” —Associated Press

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307420862
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
12/18/2007
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
592,738
File size:
1 MB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

November 27, 1986: Lick and Al in Camp



Lick looked around. There wasn't nobody there. Of course there wasn't nobody there. Just him and the old man on a winter camp somewhere north of the Nevada line in the wilds of Owyhee County.

The camp was a twenty-year-old, sixty-five-foot single-wide New Moon house trailer that the company had pulled out here in the middle of a piece of high desert called Pandora's Thumb. Good enough for two cowboys to bach and take care of four hundred cows on winter range.

The old man had a car. An old four-door Ford sedan that hadn't had a current emissions sticker in ten years and seldom ran without tinkering. The ranch manager brought them groceries every Wednesday from Bruneau, Idaho, a good two-hour drive. No phone, no fax, no electricity. No Kwik Chek, Wal-Mart, Denny's, Backyard Burger, Pizza Hut, roping arena, therapist, or tanning salon. No contact with the outside world except that weekly visit.

"What's the matter with you, Al? Ain't nobody here."

"Git my gun, kid. I think they're fixin' to overrun the bunker! Them Huns kin sure fight. I know. I've played cards with 'em. Drunk their whiskey, danced their women, and done their polka. And kid"—Al lifted his head conspiratorily—"I never did like beer. Took too long to git drunk. Like enterin' the Dixie 500 in a Ford Pinto. Ya spend all yer time just gettin' there.

"Did I ever tellya 'bout the time I shot down one of our own planes?" Al paused. A curtain pulled over his eyes. The old man's head crashed back onto the bunk and within five breaths he was snoring like a diesel.

Lincoln Delgado Davis, or Lick, as he was known, was a long way from his college degree, his failed marriage, and his fizzled attempt at rodeo. Thirty-four, single, and beholden to no one, he was ambivalent about his future. The word "career" wasn't part of his vocabulary. He'd signed on with this outfit because he wanted to do some ranch cowboyin'. He'd spent time in feedlots and figgered this would be different. It was.

Bein' stuck with the old man wasn't so bad. In the two months they'd been together, first at the headquarters and now here, the old man had been through several hallucinatory spells like tonight. Wuddn't no big deal. Lick didn't know exactly how old the old man was. He was cagey about tellin'. Maybe he didn't know himself, but Lick assumed he was long past retirement age.

One thing for sure, he did look old. Al's gray hair was thin and about gone on top. His bare head had probably seen less sun than a Carlsbad Caverns bat. In the facial latitudes south of his hat brim his skin was as soft and supple as a welding glove. Years of toasting his ups and downs had left a road map of broken veins across his rosy cheeks and nose.

His eyes were faded blue and his fighting weight, which he claimed to have maintained since coming of age, was 146. We can assume that was fully dressed. He stood five foot eight when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. Out of kindness, one might characterize him as wiry, maybe spry. In the cowboy vernacular, he was just a pore doer.

Lick drew the covers up around the old man, turned down the propane lamp, and clanked into the kitchen. The wind whistled through the window edges where the duct tape had come loose. He put on his hat, coat, and gloves and headed out the back door to do the nightly check on the dogs and the horses. October had been mild. Fifty degrees during the day, twenties at night. But yesterday November had kicked Indian summer in the butt with a cold front that brought out the long johns. Low bruised clouds, sleet scraped off God's windshield, and wind that penetrated like taco grease on a cheap paper plate.

Lick looked up at the ugly night sky. The dogs were curled underneath the trailer on the leeward side where the skirt was broken. Gonna be nasty tomorrow, he thought to himself, but so what, I ain't goin' nowhere. He checked the two saddle horses standin' hipshot and dozin' up against the windbreak. They had three more horses in a fifty-acre trap down by the creek. Brownie and Bill, the old man's dogs, came sniffin' outta their hole beneath the trailer to help Lick make his rounds. He chopped a little ice in the horse tank with a short post and stood with his back to the wind, lookin' east. I been worse, thought Lick. I been worse.

A shot rang out! And it could dang sure ring out where the nearest neighbor was twenty-two miles away. The initial blast was followed by four more rounds. Lick raced back to the trailer.

"I think I got one of 'em!" the old man said as he stood in the doorway, obviously revived from his alcohol-induced blackout. He held a smoking .30-30 in his hands. "Rustlers, I reckon, or car thieves," he said.

Lick looked at the old faded turquoise Ford with renewed interest. It still sat like a tilted tombstone on the flat front tire. He thought he noticed a new bullet hole in the front fender.

"How 'bout some coffee, Al," suggested Lick.

The old man levered out a spent shell and pulled the trigger. The hammer fell on the empty chamber. "Might as well," he said. "I'm outta bullets."

"Don't forget the Milnot," reminded the old man when they were back in the kitchen.

Lick dug a can of evaporated milk out of the fridge door. "Got it right here." The fact that it was Pet milk and not Milnot never caused a problem. They sat at the Formica table with its sixties-modern aluminum tubular legs.

"Ya know, kid, I been thinkin'. Maybe I oughta go see some of my old friends. My old rodeo buddies, some of them fellers I cowboyed with. I used to ride bulls. It's a fact. I never won Pendleton or Calgary, nuthin' like that, but I had some good rides.

"Anyway, I ain't married to this oufit, although they've always treated me good. But I've got a sister somewhere. Washington, maybe, or Wisconsin, one of them 'W' states, I can't remember. But maybe I should just pop in and surprise her. I ain't seen her for twenty or thirty years. And I reckon I oughta do it 'fore I git too dang old to travel. Hell, you could go with me. I could be your guide. I got a little money, ya know. Lewis has been puttin' half my paycheck in a bank for me ever' month for however long I been here. Fifteen years, I think. Or twenty, or maybe it's fourteen. Anyway, it's a bunch."

Lick leaned back and let the old man talk. He himself was makin' eight hundred and fifty bucks a month plus board, food and horses furnished. He figured the old man to be making more. Maybe over a thousand. Lewis Ola, the ranch manager, always officially treated the old man like he was in charge. Lick did what he could to help and didn't worry about it.

He pried off his boots and propped his feet up on the extra kitchen chair. The winter wind and extended exposure had given his olive skin a sculptured look. He needed a haircut again. His thick black hair and his coloring were a gift from his Spanish grandfather on his mother's side. The heavy black moustache showed no gray but was looking ratty. He was an inch taller than the old man and twenty pounds heavier. He relaxed and tuned out the old man's ramblings.

Last payday they'd taken the old Ford and driven to Elko, Nevada, three hours to the south. The old man told him he'd gone to Elko every payday, once a month, since long before Lick had come on board. "Like 'clarkwork,'" he'd said, "if the car's runnin'."

Lick had spent his last ten years on the rodeo circuit, so he'd had plenty of harrowing experiences on the road. He was better prepared than most, but he did get his eyebrows raised more than once riding in that old car with the old man driving. He found himself with his hands pressed against the dashboard more times than he could count. The track out to the highway was nothing but ruts and boulders for the first four miles. It had taken an hour. The next three or four miles wound through several hairpin curves and drop-offs before it leveled out and continued fifteen miles onto the blacktop.

Lewis always paid the old man the unbanked half of his check in cash. When they arrived in Elko, Lick cashed his check at the bank. The old man went directly to the Stockmen's Casino bar. Lick did a little shopping and a lot of looking at Capriola Saddlery. An hour later, he wandered into the Stockmen's looking for the old man. He wasn't hard to find. He was leaned against the bar in conversation with another cowboy and a woman.

"Hey, kid," barked the old man. "You need a drink!" It wasn't a question. He turned to the barkeep. "A whiskey and water for the kid and another for me and my friends."

Lick glanced at his watch. It read 1:00 p.m. Which meant it was noon, Nevada time. For the next three days they only left the bar to play blackjack, eat the occasional scrambled egg, and venture across the railroad tracks. The old man would drink till he got tired. There was a corner booth with a padded bench where they'd lay him down sometimes. On at least two occasions Lick and Al slept in the car.

On the fourth morning, the old man reached over from the backseat and shook Lick awake. "Kid," he said, "I reckon we'd better head back, I'm outta money. I hope you got enough to get gas."

The old man pushed his chair back from the table. The scraping of chair legs on the floor brought Lick back to the present.

"Time for a little shut-eye, kid. I done checked the horses."


From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Baxter Black is a frequent NPR commentator whose syndicated column, “On the Edge of Common Sense,” appears in more than a hundred newspapers. He’s the author of Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky?, Cactus Tracks & Cowboy Philosophy, Horseshoes, Cowsocks & Duckfeet, and numerous volumes of poetry. He won’t let himself be described as America’s best-loved cowboy poet (though we sure think he is) but will agree to be referred to as the tallest, scrawniest, most left-handed one. He lives in Arizona among the catclaw and Gila monsters.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Hey, Cowgirl, Need a Ride? 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leader den
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
davehoy More than 1 year ago
Baxter art his best. a great follow up to hey cowboy, wanna get lucky!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book was good. Keeps you in suspense and has many turns in the process. WOuld like to read the other book that goes along with this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It seemed to take me a while to get into this book. The characters seemed hard to get to know. As I continued however I realized that I got to know these caracters slow an easy just like anyone else I meet. Their secrets just sort of peeled off in layers instead of blasting you with everything about them all at once. They were great fun and made me laugh out loud often. This was just a plain good old cowboy story with all of its twists and turns and tall tales. By the end I felt a sense of pride in the way the caracters had developed themselves as people and was happy to see what they had to overcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi