The 20th Quarter-Annual Horse Contest is a comedy about two thirty-something men (Jim Lucas and Ron Treland) in the 80's who come together periodically to deepen their long-term friendship through the playing of a basketball game called "HORSE". They have developed their own peculiar way of playing the game, where the object of the game is superseded by the creativity of their playing styles and shot selections. It is more of a creative ritual than a competitive game. The game is continuously "interrupted" (sometimes in real time, mostly not) by Ron's parents, Jim and Ron's high school basketball coach, Jim's college basketball coach, and Jim and Ron's wives. The "interruptions" constitute the evolution of the relationships between Ron, his parents, and his wife, and between Jim, his old coaches and his wife. Ron is caught in his father's business and under the command of his father's crusty personality, whereas Jim is caught in his past high school glories and college failures. Jim's wife, Lynne, is relatively economically and emotionally stable, and this stability is both a source of strength and resentment for Jim, who is less stable in those areas. Ron's wife, Jeannette, is tired of the whole thing and wants Ron to deal with his blustery and obnoxious father and live his own life, but she is unwilling to separate from Ron as he works on his relationship with his father. Jim's high school coach serves as Jim's much valued connection to his glory days in high school and Jim's college coach serves as his hurtful reminder of his failure to sustain a college basketball career. All of these characters impinge upon the personal development of Jim and Ron in both positive and negative ways. Jim and Ron are fearful of doing what they really want to do in life. The basketball game, played out in its own peculiar way, serves not only as means of deepening the friendship between the two men but as a forum for their emotional growth and development. The 20th Quarter-Annual Horse Contest is a fast-moving, scene-shifting, dialogue-overlapping story of how two young men come to terms with their past connections to glory in sport and their current relationships with their wives and family. Though this play transcends realism through its shifting, integrated scenes, it 'plays' realistically. Shifts in time and place are integrated into a whole that 'seems' quite natural.
In many children's hearts, there is no animal more beautiful than a horse. Horses are wonderful, affectionate companions, exciting to ride and fun to care for and groom. But horses are also very large, powerful animals. Their power, combined with their gentle ways, is the secret of their appeal to the kids who love them.
Thirteen-year-old foster kid Skye Nicholson has become an expert at being an angry, cold, and defensive teenager. After breaking more foster home placements than she cares to count, and committing numerous offenses, she's headed to her final resort --- juvenile detention. But after a court compromise, hope finds her through a beautiful sorrel quarter horse named Champ and the tough love of Tom and Eileen Chamber, who offer her another chance at their home at Keystone Stables. There she's introduced to a God who has the power to truly save her, no matter how much she thinks she's not worth saving.
Can men and women live together as friends or are sparks destined to fly? When the tension begins to melt into temptation in this novel, it threatens to destroy the relationships of friends and lovers.
This is one devious horse, it takes every opportunity it can to buck you off and leave you on foot miles from home. It is the ugliest thing you have ever seen, but it has the heart and soul of a champion and will go all day and the next, if you can stay on him.
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