Just under a month ago I received an interesting email from my website's contact option. I was being asked from INSP Television Network if I would be interested in a potential collaboration with the cast of 'The Cowboy Way: Alabama'. My eyes almost bugged out of my head and I read and reread the words. I emailed back right away and eagerly exclaimed how excited I was about this opportunity! I had no idea what it all entailed, but eventually I found out that my blog and Facebook page had surfaced with INSP and they wanted to work together. I did a little excited dance for three reasons. First, my husband Shane and I are huge fans of the show. We eagerly look forward to Sunday nights so we can watch the latest goings on with Bubba Thompson, Cody Harris, and Booger Brown (the main characters of the show). Second, we love the fact that these cowboys portray their ranch life and family life in such a positive, practical light. Third, I was honored and humbled to have been chosen by all the millions of other bloggers in the world to write about these incredible fellas and their families. I've been writing since I was quite young. The fact that I was actually noticed for my writing from someone not in our community or from someone who knows our family made me feel so incredibly blessed. Words truly can't define how truly grateful I am for this opportunity! With that, I will get right to the point of this blog post.
Within a week I enjoyed a telephone conference call with the cowboys and the Communications Coordinator for INSP. I got a chance to ask questions and have a down-to-earth conversation with the cowboys of the show. I asked some questions that were fairly run of the mill. The normal kinds of questions that you can find in various interviews of the guys and even on the INSP website, but what I really was looking for was the story underneath the questions. I'm not an investigative reporter at all, but being a 5th generation rancher/cowgirl has always made me want to dig a bit deeper into the "what, where, and why" behind things. The life we live as ranchers isn't an easy one so I'm always intrigued as to how folks became ranchers, why they love this lifestyle, and how they push through trying times. Through the questions I asked the cowboys I unearthed what I truly hoped I would find there. I found a true love of the cowboy/ranching lifestyle, an earned work ethic, and love of family. The program that so many look forward to watching every Sunday night at 6 pm MST shows three men who work together to achieve common goals. What I heard from them and what I truly felt in the emotion of their words was so much more than I imagined. I found a faith that was deep-rooted. I found a humbleness that isn't found around much these days on TV. I found a sense of gratitude that started with each other, extended out to their wives, children, and families and then onward to the network that took a chance in sharing their story with the world. What I found was a truth that what you are seeing on television is who they are in real life. The show 'The Cowboy Way - Alabama' is just that...a documentation of sorts of their daily lives. Nothing is sugar-coated or colored up to be anything other than who they truly are and what they do. I thought I was a fan before, but now...I'm an even bigger one! Seeing how these guys live their lives with faith, family, and tradition speaks volumes to me and I bet it will to you also.
What exactly is the show about? 'The Cowboy Way: Alabama' is about three men working together gathering cattle, helping neighbors, and trying to grow their bottom line in their ranching lifestyle. It also includes their day-to-day life with trials and tribulations. Let's face it...we all know that life isn't all sunshine and roses all the time. How those struggles are handled is what matters the most. Bubba, Booger, and Cody handle the things thrown at them with faith, good character, and grit. Things may not always turn out the way they had hoped when it comes to finding a home, gathering cattle, or driving to Texas to look at some cows for sale, but these cowboys use their faith to guide them. They also have solid marriages and view their roles as fathers in a very important light. I truly enjoy seeing their wives, children, and various family members in the show. It really adds a lot and truly makes a person feel like they can see the whole picture.
Where does the show take place? 'The Cowboy Way: Alabama' is based in southern (you guessed it) Alabama! Although there have also been spots filmed in places like Mississippi, Texas, etc. From here in the frigid winter of South Dakota, I have to admit that the blue skies and green, wavy grasses of Alabama sure do look inviting! I'd also give almost anything to have a slicked off horse right now. Ours up here look like wooly mammoths. :)
Why do these cowboys do what they do? As I mentioned earlier, I got a chance to visit with all three of the guys so I got individual answers from each of them. I'm going to give each of them the credit for their individual answers as to why they live the lives they do and what their words are about that.
Chris "Booger" Brown told me that he is a 4th generation rancher. When he was a young child in school he would cry because he couldn't stay home and help work cattle. He grew up having a big respect for his ranching lifestyle and knew it's where he belonged. He and his wife Jaclyn and their son Matthew (pictured below) are all working towards creating a successful future for themselves. Booger shared with me how incredible being on this show has been for him. He talked about being proud to be a part of a television show that is "morally right" in a world that sometimes isn't. He told me about messages he has received and conversations he has had with people whose lives have positively been changed by the positive, inspirational messages from the show. He is focused on being a positive influence not only for his family, but also for everyone out in the world. He is proud to be a part of something that is helping people in ways that he never imagined and he feels blessed because of it.
Cody Harris told me how he had grown up in a rodeo family. He also mentioned his great grandfather who traded horses back in the day and had a depot where folks could sit and play cards and get together. That depot grew into rodeos at that location. He had a lot of pride in his voice when he talked about that history. He talked about ranching and how it varies for each person. He knows of places nearby where some folks have 10, 50, or 100 head of cows who are bringing their kids up in the way of life. The message I received from Cody is that it doesn't matter how many cattle you have or how big your place is it comes down to family involvement and the blessing that comes in doing what makes you happy. Cody, his wife Misty, and son Carter are definitely doing exactly that (pictured below).
Bubba Thompson talked about how life has changed a bit since 'The Cowboy Way - Alabama' began and now that it is in its 5th season. He said folks definitely notice them more since the show got started. He also talked about how much it's changed his life. He is thrilled to do what he gets to do every day and wakes up every morning excited to go to work (I'd say that's living your dream life right there)! Bubba also mentioned how great it is to be able to work together with your friends towards a common goal. He is definitely focused on being the best husband and father he can be. Looking at Bubba, his wife Kaley, and their daughter Andie in the picture below and on the show...I'd say he's doing something right!
One thing that came through crystal clear about these fellas is their respect for their spouses and their vision for creating a future for their children. When I asked about how they all work together their words were very similar. All of the guys said how much the gals help out in all things and that their level of involvement made a big difference in how well they are able to do. I personally know how much work is involved in ranching (and not just with the outside physical stuff). It takes dedication to make sure the ranch paperwork is kept up to date, cooking and cleaning are a necessity as are the crazy hours that are sometimes involved in ranching. The guys all said how special their wives are to them and how they all work together through whatever obstacles come their way with faith and a true partnership to one another.
One of my curiosity points was on how each of the guys felt about the American cattle industry as a whole. Each of them loves what they are doing, but they also know how important it is to each and every person involved in ranching that our American beef take precedence. I share their belief in that if beef is labeled American it needs to be born and raised here in the USA under our rigid standards that some other countries don't adhere to. They realize as I do that the success and future of American ranchers hinges a lot on our countries stance on USA-Raised Beef. I won't go more into that, but I will say that the guys and I are definitely on the same page when it comes to this.
I asked the cowboys each to single out a quote that sort of personifies them. They each had good ones, but I've decided to hold onto those for a later date. Our interview went so well that I am hopeful I will have the opportunity to turn this into a series. I'd love to interview each cowboy one-on-one along with their wives and then eventually turn the subject of my blog posts to the gals. I'd love to share Misty, Kaley, and Jaclyn's stories with all of you as well. As ranchers we all know that it's all hands on deck most of the time. As Cody, Bubba, and Booger said...they wouldn't be where they are at without their family upbringing and their wives.
Before I end this I'd like to point out something that struck me early on in our conversation and it's stayed with me whenever I think back on our interview or whenever I watch the show. All three of these cowboys are Christian men. They give all the glory to God at all times. Each of them time and time again talked about always striving to be the best husband and dad that they can be. They talked about growing in life and helping to educate folks about the ranching/cowboy way of life. They enjoy being on television showing the cowboy way of life and creating a true fellowship along the way. Theirs is a message that needs to be heard in this country now more than ever. Cody said if by being on the show that he helps to lead just one person to Christ through watching he would be a happy man. Talk about incredible insight! I truly appreciate the inspiration these cowboys share and how they each lead by example in creating a life they are proud of. They all know how blessed they are to be following their dreams and they are grateful for those of us who are on the ride with them.
To catch up with the cowboys, go to the INSP website by clicking here. You can also follow them on Instagram on the following links below.:
INSP TV's Instagram
INSP TV's Facebook Fan Page
Booger's Facebook Fan Page
Cody's Facebook Fan Page
Bubba's Facebook Fan Page
Also, be sure to tune in on Sundays...you'll be glad you did!
INSP (Channel 259 on Dish Network) at 5 pm Pst - 6 pm MST - 7 pm CST - 8 pm EST
I thank Booger, Cody, and Bubba for taking time out of their busy days to visit with me. I look forward to our next interview. Stay tuned for that, but until then...let's all live The Cowboy Way!