Texas farrier Frank Schweighart turned a driving daydream into a novel about a young rodeo competitor’s journey to success and second chances.
Schweighart grew up on a ranch and started shoeing when he was 13. He developed a knack for farriery and went on to gain certified journeyman farrier (CJF) status with the American Farrier’s Association. He is also president of the Texas Professional Farrier Association.
But the novel began as Schweighart drove through the desert Flagstaff, Ariz., when he saw a sign for a high school finals rodeo.
“I just kept thinking about how cool it would have been had I made the high school national finals. From there I drifted off thinking about riding bulls for a living and it went from there,” Schweighart told the Northern Wyoming Daily News.
Schweighart ran with the inspiration.
“I went and got me a laptop to work on it in my spare time and it just kind of created itself,” he says. “It was like I was on the sidelines, watching this thing unfold and I was just writing it down.”
He wrote Twice In A Lifetime follows young bull rider Billy Ray Robbins. According to the book’s summary, “It was a meteoric ascension into the ranks of the top professional bull riders in the world for young Billy Ray Robbins. Billy Ray easily breezes through the ranks of high school and amateur bull riding and soon finds himself in the middle of a world title run during his rookie year. He teams up with his girlfriend Jennifer and Homer Lee, the obnoxious dog, and Jennifer’s father, Johnny Rardon. Together, they weather all that the storms of life can throw at them, until they run into the ultimate storm, the one that challenges everything they stand for, including their right to stay alive. In the aftermath of the disaster, Billy Ray must do some serious soul-searching as he embarks upon a walk-about, desperately seeking some sign that he is still meant to ride bulls.”
“It was one of the neatest things I’ve ever done,” says Schweighart of the experience of writing the book, despite the time it took and the rejection he endured along the way.
As for writing another novel, Schweighart is unsure. His previous writing includes cowboy poetry, though he wrote only two poems last year.
“The creative juices are just not there right now,” he says.