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Family rodeo company continues to thrive

Iron Hide is the resident Longhorn bull at the Lone Star ranch.

Iron Hide is the resident Longhorn bull at the Lone Star ranch. PHOTO BY ZIRCONIA ALLEYNE

By Zirconia Alleyne

Sitting inside the Fowlkes family home, it’s clear that their rodeo roots run deep. Rustic décor, cow hides and mounted bull skulls are a small piece of a bigger picture that includes more than 200 head of cattle grazing on 660 acres of rolling hills. It looks like a scene that could only be captured on a ranch out West, but luckily, it’s right down a gravel road in Crofton.

Preston Fowlkes Jr. and his wife, Karen, have been running Lone Star Rodeo Co. for 39 years. His father, Preston Fowlkes Sr., started the company 65 years ago in Marfa, Texas.

“My dad had 200 head of Brangus cows,” Preston Jr. said. “We grew up in the rodeo business so I’ve always had cows.”

The family moved the business to Tennessee until an interstate was set to be built right through their land. From there, the Fowlkes settled in Crofton, where they’ve been since 2003.

The ranch is home to 43 bulls, 70 Longhorn mama cows, 40 steers, 23 calves and nearly 50 bucking horses.

Preston Jr. takes pride in his livestock, which performs in over 40 shows a year across 10 states.

The Fowlkes family (from left) includes Vanessa Madison, Preston Fowlkes III, Karen Fowlkes, Preston Fowlkes Jr. and Rachel Boyd.

The Fowlkes family (from left) includes Vanessa Madison, Preston Fowlkes III, Karen Fowlkes, Preston Fowlkes Jr. and Rachel Boyd. PHOTO PROVIDED

His son, Preston Fowlkes III, his daughters, Rachel Boyd and Vanessa Madison, son-in-laws, Clint Madison and Bradley Boyd, and grandchildren are all a part of the operation.

Preston III and Clint take care of the day-to-day ranch duties along with hauling the arena and cattle to weekend rodeo shows. Rachel handles the office side of the business while Karen and Vanessa sell rodeo novelties, such as hats and T-shirts, at each show.

“It’s all about keeping Western culture alive,” Preston Jr. said. “The whole family is involved.”

“It’s by choice,” Rachel interjected, laughing. “They wanted us to do something else, but we chose not to.”

The grandchildren participate as well. Twelve-year-old Cutter and 6-year-old Oralee do a trick horse and pony act that will be featured at the Christian County Cattleman’s Association rodeo in August.

The Lone Star cowboys (from left) include Preston III, Preston Jr., Bradley Boyd and Cutter Madison.

The Lone Star cowboys (from left) include Preston III, Preston Jr., Bradley Boyd and Cutter Madison. PHOTO PROVIDED

The show also includes bareback and saddle bronc riding, calf roping, break away roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, and, of course, bull riding. Proceeds will go toward scholarships for local agriculture students.

Rachel said although they do rodeos all year, the local rodeo is special because they have ties to the community.

“Being able to do one that benefits your home is always rewarding,” Rachel said. “It’s not always fun when it’s cold or raining and wet, and they have to be out there feeding, but when you get to a rodeo and you see a crowd, and you can see that they are thoroughly enjoying themselves, and we were able to provide that. That is the reward.”

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