This year, spin a yarn as long as the Rio Grande (in 99 words, that is) to be a contender in a Western-themed Folk Tale or Fable event of the Carrot Ranch Writing Rodeo

Yours truly is the leader for this event, so saddle up, round ‘em up, and write those words for a shot at winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card and your work immortalized at

How do you participate? 

SIMPLE! Write ONE original folk tale or fable in 99 words. Exactly 99 words (not including title and byline) *Don’t publish the piece anywhere until after the contest is completed (The end of November, 2020) because we want the blind judging to be fair and uninfluenced.

Is there an entry fee? NO, Cowfolk! No Entry Fee!

Can I enter more than one story? No, one only. Sorry.

Deadline? All entries must be wrangled and submitted to me by noon EST on Tuesday, 13 October, 2020.

Do I have to be a published writer to enter? NO, Cowfolk! All are welcome to try their hand at writing a western folk tale or fable in 99 exactly words. 

What if my story’s word count reaches 101 words? EDIT it to 99 words, my friend, before you submit your entry. The story must be 99 words (not counting the title and byline) to qualify. I know, I know. It’s a challenge to convey what you wish with brevity. You can do it!

Need inspiration? Check out the adventures of Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. Real life characters like Wild Bill Hickcock, Jesse James, Calamity Jane, and Doc Holiday provide fodder. Or re-imagine real-life happenings, like the shoot out at the OK Corral or the gold rush. Native American culture is another rich source of inspiration. Or mosey on to something western-themed in these modern times. 

*Any genre, as long as you keep the western feel. Stretch your imagination, mind the word count, and lasso something great!

Ready to saddle up? Submit to (subject line Rodeo Entry)!

Winner for this event will be announced on Tuesday, 3 November, 2020.

Meet the Judges:

Debra R Sanchez is an award-winning bilingual author and editor-in-chief at Tree Shadow Press. She leads various writing groups, hosts writing retreats, teaches workshops at conferences, and has been judging poetry and short story contests since 2010. Four of her books have earned awards from The Author Zone (2017, 2018, 2020), and her other writing has won awards at writers’ conferences in numerous genres. Several of her plays and monologues have been produced and published. Other works have been published in literary magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Visit for more details. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @DebraRSanchez.

Beverly V. Blickenderfer is an award-winning Western Pennsylvanian writer and photographer. Her short works have appeared in Gannet Publications, and she’s written a novel and a children’s book. The writing influences of this avid reader are many and diverse, but her literary hero is Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean.

Need an example for inspiration? Here’s something I whipped up.

Rattlehog, – told in 99 words

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Jeb rushed into camp, eyes wild, mustache bristled. “A creature talked to me!”

We eased him into a seat and handed him a whiskey. 

“A groundhog, but…” He bolted the whiskey and tapped for more. “Stood waist-high, wise-eyed as a Granny’s, lower half a rattler’s.”

“Was it trapped,” I asked. “Or bit?”

“No, listen. It talked, quiet as a breeze. Said, ‘Better clear out. Something bad’s aboutta happen.’ I asked what, but it lowered itself to the grasses.”

I scoffed, but Ed packed his things, saying, “If a Rattlehog says get, you get.”

A plains fire started that night.