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Amber Crawford, Breakaway Roper

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By Dani Blackburn

A 5’1” cowgirl backs her horse into the box and gives the nod for the calf in the chute next to her to be released. Her name is Amber Crawford, the event is the American, and just one year ago, she and her fellow competitors were watching from the sidelines.

The American in Arlington, Texas, is one of numerous rodeos to have added this fast paced, action-packed event to their lineup. Opportunities are on the rise for those in breakaway roping, including the Daddy of ‘Em All in Cheyenne, Wyo., the Pendleton Round-up in Oregon and the Days of 47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not only are the events making room for female competitors, but the payouts also are on the rise.

“It has grown so much. Just five years ago I would flat out say I worked full time hours so I could rope. Now it is crazy because it is becoming where I can almost do the opposite; that is how much it has grown and the opportunities, if we promote them and do right by what people and rodeo committees are offering us, are going to keep growing,” Amber said.

The Springtown, Texas, cowgirl got her start in roping at an early age. Amber was born and raised in Combine, Texas, in Kaufman County, the daughter of Dickie and Fran Singleton. Dickie was a bulldogger and later on competed in team roping, while Fran competed in western pleasure, cutting and barrel racing.

“I have been on a horse all my life. I can remember those home videos of my parents throwing me on a horse with no shoes, no shirt, a diaper on and just taking off across the pasture. We have always been around horses. I
grew up riding barrel horses and going to the Josey Ranch. We lived out there, so any weekend they had a clinic or barrel race, we were there,” Amber recalled. “My sister started roping at a later age when she started competing in high school rodeo, and here I am at five or six wanting to do whatever she does, so I pick up a rope.”

To read more pick up a copy of the February 2020 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.

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Country Lifestyles

On the Road with Dave Alexander

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As 2024 begins to unfold and you find yourself looking for something fun to do, why not turn to one of the finest entertainment venues in Cooke County? That would be Butterfield Stage. That’s right, audiences have been entertained by the Butterfield Stage Players for more than 40 years. This wonderful community theater was formed back in 1979 when a few local residents decided to embark on creating a community theater. I believe the best entertainment is live entertainment. So don’t find yourself shut in with an old Hallmark movie or old reruns this year.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine.

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Country Lifestyles

Lacey’s Pantry: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bake

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By Lacey Vilhauer

Ingredients:
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 ½ tsp dried basil, divided
12 slices Italian, sourdough or rye bread
6 slices mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp butter, softened
½ cup tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ¾ cup 2% milk
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded Italian cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and 1 tsp basil until blended and spread onto 6 bread slices. Top with slices of mozzarella cheese and remaining bread slices. Butter exterior of all 12 bread slices. Arrange sandwiches in a greased 9×13 baking dish with at least 2-inch sides. Set aside.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Country Lifestyles

Agriculture’s Ties to Valentine’s Days

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By Dani Blackburn

February 14 has become known as the day of love, celebrated each year with loved ones exchanging roses, chocolate and gifts over candlelight dinners all in the name of St. Valentine. The true origin of the holiday remains a mystery but stems from both Christian and Roman backgrounds.

Today, the holiday pours millions of dollars into the country’s economy. While some tout it as nothing but a commercialized holiday for big business, the numbers prove it provides an economic boost. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers in the United States spent a whopping $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2023, the highest number reported since 2004.

Consumers were expected to spend an average of $192.80, but they were not only buying for significant others. They also shopped for friends, children’s classmates, teachers, coworkers, and more to make the day special for those they cared about, and none of it would be possible without agriculture.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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