Boys From The Bushes

“One unsuspecting evening in 2007 while speaking at the Tonkawa Library, I became reacquainted with a jockey turned trainer I’d known back in 1976.  A week later, I found myself at Remington Park Race Track in Oklahoma City surrounded by aging jockeys with amazing stories.

Within a month, I set the novel I’d been working on aside, and launched into what would become a four-year writing journey.  Immersed in the history of Oklahoma horse racing and the pioneer jockeys of the forties and fifties, I traveled all over Oklahoma and Kansas with notebook, pen, tape recorder and a growing passion to listen.”

Boys from the Bushes is the fascinating true story of thirty men and women who began riding as early as ten on the Oklahoma bush tracks and went on to dedicate their entire lives to the sport of horse racing.

Forty years before pari-mutuel betting was legalized in Oklahoma, when men began to return home from World War II, the anti-gambling sentiment temporarily relaxed and the Oklahoma bush tracks exploded into an industry.

Hundreds of farm boys and a handful of girls with a passion to ride jumped into the untamed arena of the Oklahoma Bush Track Circuit, embracing a dream to become a jockey.  Riders were the sons and daughters of farmers, horse owners and trainers. These underage kids rode in moccasins or old shoes and had no helmets, but they were experienced riders with a rugged toughness and a stubborn will to win.

The book is available through Brace Books or can be order from Oklahoma Heritage Association,, or call (405) 235-4458.

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