March was a busy month for Western lifestyle enthusiasts. From rodeos and performance horse contests to awards shows and milestones, we have it all covered below.

Smokehouse Creek Relief

March was a busy month for Western lifestyle enthusiasts, from rodeos and performance horse contests to awards shows and milestones.
A burned and damaged windmill sits in a field on Sunday, Mar 03, 2024, in Roberts County, Texas after the Smokehouse Creek Fire passed through the area. (Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, you know that many families in West Texas and Oklahoma will forever remember March 2024 as the month that the Smokehouse Creek wildfire tore across the plains and demolished more than 1 million acres of livestock and civilian land.

Numerous families lost their homes, local wildlife and livestock succumbed to the flames and the land where so many crops are grown is now nothing but ash.

When a wildfire that large is raging, there is little we can offer beyond condolences. Now that the fire is contained and families are beginning to assess the true damage to their properties and livelihoods, a relief plan is in place.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is working through Extension County Agents, the Disaster Recovery Unit, and Disaster Assessment and Recovery to get supplies and donations to families and businesses in need. Find out how you can help the wildfire victims HERE.

Something for the Kids

March was a busy month for Western lifestyle enthusiasts, from rodeos and performance horse contests to awards shows and milestones.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Devan

Back in January at WESA, I bumped into an old colleague and friend of mine, Kacy Burke. She was sitting at a little booth behind a table covered with beautifully illustrated little cowboys and cowgirls. I was delightfully surprised to learn that the books were written by Kacy herself.

My children love to read. From the day we bring them home, my husband and I make it a point to read to them at least one book per night so long as we aren’t pushing past bedtime. My older loves “Three Cheers for Kid McGear”; my younger loves “Sweet Dreams Pout Pout Fish,” but when we visit my dad, both of my boys request “Cowboy Dan.” “Cowboy Dan” is a little kid’s Western book published in 1950. My dad’s copy is from his own childhood, and the pages are hanging on by a thread. My sons are captivated by the pages with a little cowboy who kind of looks like them and kind of looks like their grandpa. We have to go easy on that old book so it doesn’t come home with us when we leave my dad’s. I have never been able to track down another children’s Western book that I felt engaged them and felt authentic to our life — that is until I bumped into Kacy.

Kacy has written beautiful children’s books all about ranching, rodeo, horses and growing up in the West. I brought home “Buckaroo Beau Goes to the Rodeo,” “Buckaroo Beau Lives on a Ranch” and “Vera Vaquera Gets a New Horse.” My children are always eager to read a new book, but when they saw the little cowpokes in these pages, they grinned from ear to ear. The books are easy to read, the pictures are engaging, and the content is relatable for little kids who grow up on the ranch or the rodeo road.

My older son, Jameson, is particularly fond of “Buckaroo Beau Goes to the Rodeo.” He likes to read the phrases he remembers and tell me how “Buckaroo Beau just can’t sit still because he is SO excited to go to the rodeo, mama!”

If you’re a parent, grandparent, family member or friend of someone with children, I can’t recommend these sweet books more highly. Buy them HERE.

March was a busy month for Western lifestyle enthusiasts, from rodeos and performance horse contests to awards shows and milestones.
Illustration by Ron Bonge, as seen in the March issue of Western Horseman

The Colt Starting Issue

Our March Issue was all about colt starting and education. If you haven’t already picked up your copy, you can subscribe to Western Horseman HERE or pick up a copy of the March issue HERE.

I loved putting this issue together, from the fun story concepts to the beautiful images. A stand-out story from this issue is Kate Bradley Byars’ opening feature, “At First Glance.” This story explores the qualities horse owners look for in a foal that indicates positive attributes. The story is beautifully illustrated by Ron Bonge and starts on page 60 of the issue.

My favorite photographs in the March issue are the Buck Brannaman portraits by Rob Hammer. The story behind these photographs, which starts on page 68, is a testament to who Brannaman is as a person and a horseman. I think the photos tell the story in such a way that you could understand what was happening if there was absolutely no written context. One of these portraits also made its way onto the cover.

March Recap

March was a busy month for the Western world. It’s a unique month where the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, The American Rodeo, and The American Performance Horseman all overlap at one point or another. Not to mention the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes kicks off in Fort Worth, Texas, and thousands travel to Lexington, Kentucky, for Road to the Horse. I am sure that doesn’t even cover all of it, but I can’t think up anything else our industry could possibly fit into the month of March!

Photo courtesy of Amanda Devan

COWGIRL Magazine recognized their new class of 30 Under 30 at Tannehill’s Tavern in Fort Worth, and I was humbled to be asked to briefly speak to this new class alongside my new friend, Sami Jo Smith. It was so fun to be a part of such a well-thought-out event full of inspiring young women who are change-makers in the Western industry.

Finally, on March 19, we celebrated my youngest son’s first birthday. It gave me pause and inspired me to reflect on this past year. I can’t believe how much time has passed since he was born — it feels like last week I was standing up, pacing the Cowboy Publishing Group conference room during a staff meeting, trying to ward off labor for a few more weeks. Boston joined us in the week following that meeting, and it seems totally impossible that 12 months have passed since then. Thank you, as always, for allowing me to play a small role in this iconic magazine. Time flies, and life is short, so make time to ride the horse!

Photo courtesy of Amanda Devan

As we head further into spring, I am eager to bring you more stories from around the industry. I hope wherever you are reading from, the weather is cooperating in your favor, be that sunshine in the snowy states or rain in the Texas Panhandle. If you want to share your own products, feedback or ideas with me, please send me an email at [email protected].

Amanda Devan, Editor


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