Welcome, today's guest is Tyson Walker, the hero of Christmas For The Cowboy due out Dec. 08 through Blade publishing.
Hello Mr. Walker, its a pleasure to have you with us today.
Tyson: "It's just Ty, and the pleasure's all mine ladies.
PB. You’ve been involved with rodeo in some capacity all your life, what got you hooked on rodeo?
TW: Rodeo is in my blood. It’s who I am. My father is a two time world champion Bronc rider and my mother is a world class barrel racer. I was born into the circuit, and didn’t know anything else. Growing up I was encouraged to follow my dreams, to experience the full range of the rodeo. I guess you could say, the rodeo’s excitement was bred into me.
PB: Do you ever wish you’d done anything other than the rodeo?
TW: No. Like I said, it’s a part of me. Wasn’t until I was a teenager that I really understood there was more to life, and by then I’d already gone pro. It’s pretty hard to stop being what you’ve always been just because something new appears.
PB: When did you meet Holly?
TW: shifts in his seat, crosses his legs. “I met Holly when I was eighteen at the final regular season rodeo on the curcuit in a small town in British Columbia. She was competing in every event a woman could. Joking around with a couple of the other bull riders and I hear a horse snort. Glanced up and it was like I’d been stomped by a bull – there she was, sitting atop a sorrel gelding waiting for her run.
PB: Do you remember your first date with Holly?
TW: That night. I watched her go into the arena, her body moved like poetry with her horse as they ripped up the cloverleaf. I followed her back to her trailer after her run and asked her out. We went to the Rodeo dance together. I remember our first dance; they were playing a Garth Brooks song. “Shameless.” She wore a green silk shirt with white on the collar, and a snug denim skirt that brushed the tops of her boots when she walked. I danced every dance with her, walked her back to her trailer and said goodnight.
PB: Where were you when you proposed to Holly?
TW: I proposed in July, on the last day of the Calgary Stampede, right in the middle of the award ceremony. With thousands of fans and officials, as well as other competitors staring at us, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. More exciting than any ride I ever made.
PB: How has the rodeo affected your marriage with you on the circuit 50 weeks out of the year and her at home?
TW: When we traveled together wasn’t a problem. When she retired to the ranch, it put a strain on things. She knew about the temptations and ‘bad’ habits that are out there for riders, men and women. You have to understand that there are going to be women who go to the rodeo just to rope a cowboy for the night – and they like a winner. There’s the booze, drugs, it’s like any sport really. A rough stock rider doesn’t have a very long career; it’s too hard on the body. When you face death in an eight second whirlwind, it’s not uncommon to try and find ways of dealing with the lows that come.
I never cheated on her but there were things that made her question my commitment. Fears that I never faced, worries, thoughts, doubts that I struggled with on a day to day basis. Wasn’t until this past year that we really got to know just how strong our love was. There are moments when I regret being gone so much – but she never tried to force me to be different, to not be who I was. In a way the rodeo gave us each other and it nearly took us away from each other. It’s a lesson we can’t, we won’t forget.
PB: What made you come up with the Christmas Getaways?
TW: My folks have been married a long time, Holly’s folks were married for thirty-five years before her Dad died. We came up with the idea of having a week long romantic holiday as a means of keeping the relationship alive. It was a way of stepping outside of the boundaries of our sex lives, of our marriage, without cheating on the other person. We decided to do it on our honeymoon. It would be our greatest Christmas and anniversary present since we got married Christmas Eve.
PB: The news about the baby was a shock, but having had a few weeks to digest the information how do you feel about it?
TW: I’m excited. I always knew Holly and I’d have kids, but I didn’t want to her to have to go through a pregnancy by herself. One of the reasons why I always used protection. Got so used to having it on me that I think she started to question my faith in our relationship. I was shocked when I found out that she was pregnant. Not because I didn’t want a baby – but because deep down I was terrified that I couldn’t be the father I wanted my kids to have.
It made me sit up and take stock of my life. A bull riding is a dangerous profession, one that you know you’re gonna get hurt doing. This baby made me really think, and it opened my eyes to what I truly want. And what I want is rather simple, comes down really to one thing. I want Holly and the family that we’re making.
Thank you Ty, for sitting down with us today. I hope you have much success and congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first born.
TW: You're very welcome, glad to have been here.
PB: Come back next week when we'll be talking to Ty's beautiful wife Holly Walker.