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FEATURES

FLORIDA COUNTRY MAGAZINE / ISSUE VOL. 3 • NO. 4

ON THE COVER: Meet Allie, James Lancaster’s granddaughter Rylee’s dog. Greet Allie on your visit to Lancaster Family Farm, located in Center Hill, Florida. Photo taken by Jenni Harper Photography. Read more on page 22.

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Award-Winning Rancher Kelly Fulford Loves What She Does Rocking K Cattle Company owner/operator ‘wouldn't trade it for anything'

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Meet New FCA President Matt Pearce

6th-Generation Rancher's Vision for His Term Is ‘Share Your Heritage’ 2

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DEPARTMENTS FLORIDA COUNTRY MAGAZINE / ISSUE VOL. 3 • NO. 4

FCM CIRCLE

THE RANCH

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER

GREAT FLORIDA CATTLE DRIVE OF 2021

COUNTRY ARTISTRY

CALLY IN WONDERLAND

page 8

page 42

IT’S NOT BROADWAY— IT’S BRIDGE STREET!

38

page 10

RAISING GIRLS IN TODAY’S WORLD IS NOT AN EASY TASK

page 54

FLORIDA 4-H

BEST BETS FOR BUNNIES

page 12

WILD FLORIDA

FLORIDA’S WHITE-TAILED DEER

HORSIN' AROUND A HEART FOR MUSTANGS

page 16

page 56

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page 58

RIDING AND CAMPING ON ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT LANDS

SWEET AND SILLY MOMENTS

page 19

page 58

FLORIDA HARVEST

FEELIN’ FOXY

page 22

FINDING SPLENDOR IN THE WORLD

page 59

FIELDS OF SUNFLOWERS BRIGHTEN TINY CITY OF CENTER HILL

LOCAL FLAVOR

HOGBODY’S BAR & GRILL IS DOWN-HOME LOCAL FAVORITE

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FLORIDA EXCURSIONS A TASTE OF ST. AUGUSTINE’S HISTORY

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COUNTRY CALIBER ‘WIN-WIN’ AS FCA AND AUDUBON FLORIDA TEAM UP NEW FCA SWEETHEART CASEY WINGATE

TRUCKS & TOYS

‘MY ANGELS ARE FAST’

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page 66

STARS & GUITARS 6TH ANNUAL ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITER FEST

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page 70

RODEO PROFILES

TRACING THE GROWTH OF ‘AMERICA’S MUSIC’

REINING CHAMPIONS COME FROM HIGHLANDS COUNTY

page 72

page 35

THE CULINARY CRACKER

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WHIPPING IT UP IN YOUR KITCHEN

FLORIDIAN IS HOOP DANCE CHAMPION

page 38

page 60 page 60

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COWPOKE’S WATERING HOLE SERVES IT UP RIGHT

page 30

BUSY TRIO GATOR GAZE

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PICTURE PERFECT

SUSPENDED IN TIME

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Owner/Publisher Scarlett Redenius Owner/C.E.O. Brad Redenius President Thomas Fifield Vice President Sheila Fifield Editorial Director Jack Collier Design Director Jessica Fifield Director of Photography Marsay Johnson Proofreader Katherine Waters Sales Associate Lynn Cox Contributing Writers William R. Cox, Christopher Decubellis, Ava Grace, Kathy Ann Gregg, Janice Groves, Dayna Harpster, Kym Rouse Holzwart, Dave Kelly, Katey McClenny, Wendy McMullen, Cally Simpson Featured Photographers Jackie Baker, JoAnna Coddington, William R. Cox, Megan Drumheller, Bridget Emelianchik, Kathy Ann Gregg, Donda Gregorio, Jenni Harper, Kym Rouse Holzwart, Becky Jackman, Dave Kelly, Heidi Mattson, Ron O’Conner, Jess Pagliaro, Sandra Pearce, Kathy Porupski, Joanna Proffitt, Ben Rollins, Nic Stoltzfus, Diane Suchy, Ellie Trammel For more information about advertising with Florida Country Magazine, or joining our regional sales team, please contact:

239-692-2613 sales@floridacountrymagazine.com For other inquiries contact:

Scarlett Redenius, Publisher 239-600-4783 Published by: Florida Country Publications

PO Box 50989 • Fort Myers, FL 33994 LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

facebook.com/floridacountrymagazine F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M Florida Country Magazine is published bi-monthly, copyright 2019, all rights reserved. Reproduction of contents in print or electronic transmission in whole or in part in any language or format must be by expressed written permission of the publisher. All articles, descriptions and suggestions in this magazine are merely expression of opinions from contributors and advertisers and do not constitute the opinion of the publisher, editor or staff of Florida Country Magazine, and under no circumstances constitutes assurances or guarantees concerning the quality of any service or product. Florida Country Magazine specifically disclaims any liability related to these expressions and opinions. Florida Country Magazine is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability.

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FCM CIRCLE

OUNTRY”! What does it mean? What does it stand for? Do you have to talk funny? Drive a big truck? Have a little dip in your lip? The stereotypes attached to being “country” are not very flattering at all. And even if you move to the countryside to get out of a city, where you live doesn’t make you “country”—unless you also truly grasp its way of life and state of mind. Something that will vastly help counter those stereotypes is “Country Music,” a new film by Ken Burns (page 72). His eight-part, 16-hour documentary airs beginning Sept. 15, 2019, on PBS stations everywhere, including Fort Myers-based WGCU. The series proves that “country,” in all aspects, is about heart and soul, real human emotions, hard work, family, and strong women and men. It’s real life—and if you turn on some country music right now, you’ll relate. “Country” is also about having nothing and making something, sticking by family in the good times and bad, helping others when they are down—without hesitation—and about faith. It’s about being the best person you can be, and always striving to be better, no matter what hurdles you face. Real life is what you find when you flip through the pages of Florida Country Magazine. You’ll read about Pearce Cattle Company and the Florida lands that have been in the family since the early 1900s. Family members are preserving the legacy of the hardworking cowboys and cowgirls who came before them (page 50). Learn about the upcoming historic quincentennial Great Florida Cattle Drive of 2021. That’s when 50 cow hunters and 500 to 700 trail riders from around the world will

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drive a thousand head of Cracker cattle through historic central Florida’s cattle country (page 42). When it comes to hard work, Bud Roebuck and his equine athlete, Shooter, are proof that it sure pays off (page 36). They won the 2018 Limited Open World Championship title of the National Reining Horse Association. And they placed in the Top 5 in the Intermediate World Standings and Top 10 in the Open World Standings. It’s all about heart and soul when Cody Boettner’s feet continuously keep time to the drum. A way of life since he was 5 years old, carrying on traditions of his ancestors while he evolved into a champion hoop dancer (page 39). Florida has no shortage of STRONG WOMEN! That’s evident in our story about raising girls (page 54), and when meeting Kelly Fulford (page 46), who’s in a profession “deemed only for men.” She’s been raising cattle for 24 years and received the 2016 “This Farm CARES Award.” As Fulford says, “Being a livestock producer is not easy. It is seven days a week, all hours of the day and night. You never know what the day will bring. It is exhausting—but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Another strong woman tackling a male-dominated industry is Carolyn Williams. She’s proving to her colleagues in the competitive race world that she’s more than just a pretty face. In fact, she’s pretty fierce (page 66). These stories and more line the pages of this issue of Florida Country Magazine. Our goal is to showcase our state like no other publication—with stories that show the true meaning of “COUNTRY”! We all have our own definitions, but one thing is for sure, it’s a way of life and a state of mind! SCARLETT REDENIUS, Publisher

TOP LEFT PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY MUSIC; TOP RIGHT PHOTO BY JESS PAGLIARO OF MUDDY MAMA PHOTOGRAPHY; BOTTOM PHOTO BY NIC STOLTZFUS

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A WAY OF LIFE AND A STATE OF MIND


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COUNTRY ARTISTRY

IT’S NOT BROADWAY— IT’S BRIDGE STREET! FIREHOUSE COMMUNITY THEATRE LIGHTS UP THE HEART OF RURAL SWFL t’s not Broadway—It’s Bridge Street!” The phrase aptly describes the Firehouse Community Theatre located in LaBelle, Florida. A nonprofit organization, it’s dedicated to bringing live theater to the city of LaBelle, and to Hendry County and all of Southwest Florida.

officials agreed that using it as a community theater would provide a place for the “homeless” thespians, as well as an answer to improving the look of the building and subsequently the downtown district. From the start, The Firehouse Players have provided entertainment and educational opportunities—full of energy and excitement—to hundreds of theater supporters. Truly a labor of love for community and the arts, “The Players” are recognized and respected for bringing quality entertainment to the area.

Since 1993, The Firehouse Players have performed in LaBelle’s old fire station. No one would miss the building— with its three bright-red overhead doors and situated beneath the giant oaks in LaBelle’s beautiful downtown historic district. After a new fire station was built in 1982, the old building sat vacant for a while and then an auto repair/used tire business moved in. When that business ceased to operate, the building was once again vacate, becoming distressed and somewhat of an eyesore. What was the city of LaBelle going to do with it? Along came a small group of local thespians looking for a home. The match seemed to be perfect. “Culture” was coming to LaBelle—and what better place than downtown and what better building than the old fire station? City

Firehouse Community Theatre launches each new season with fanfare and excitement that flows through the veins of actors and patrons. Its regular theater season runs from October through April and features six shows. However, that’s not all there is to Firehouse Community Theatre. Early on, children’s theater was introduced. Area youths act, direct, create costumes and sets, and provide the technical portion of their productions. In addition, special shows are provided throughout the year. Southwest Florida residents and visitors shouldn’t be surprised to see variety shows; shows created

At left, Drinking Habits ran during Firehouse Community Theatre's 24th season. At right, its 26th season included Assisted Living.

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF FIREHOUSE COMMUNITY THEATRE

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Written by: Janice Groves


by The Firehouse Players; and short, comedy or radio plays advertised as “weekend wonders.” Patrons will see new faces, along with “old” favorites, appearing on stage or working behind the scenes. Each season is designed to make attendees laugh, cry or tap his or her toes. There’s always something going on at Firehouse Community Theatre! In the very beginning, the little theater struggled to find momentum and often performed to a just a handful of people. By 1997, however, more and more arts lovers had learned about Firehouse Community Theatre and attendance increased. Membership packages were developed because now the limited 88-seat intimate theater regularly experiences sold-out performances. Patrons have learned to make reservations well in advance to get the seats and dates they prefer.

At top, Drinking Habits ran during Firehouse Community Theatre's 24th season. At left and below, area youths are also actively involved in the theater.

To assure a place in the audience, multi-level memberships are offered, including Dalmatian, Firefighter, Corporate Sponsor and Single Play Sponsors. Each level provides special amenities to the members, to make their theater experience enjoyable and entertaining. Memberships have more than doubled since the programs were introduced. Last season, more than 150 patrons took advantage of these special membership opportunities. Firehouse Community Theatre is a well-rounded community entity operated strictly by volunteers. It’s a member of Arts of the Inland, another South Florida institution created to stimulate, develop and enhance arts and culture in the area. And it belongs to the American Association of Community Theaters, which provides leadership and advisory assistance in operating community theaters. Janice Groves was instrumental in the development of Firehouse Community Theatre and served as board president for 11 years. She continues to direct, act and advise on a regular basis. She is retired from the Small Business Development Corp. at FGCU, having worked as a small business development consultant.

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Firehouse Community Theatre 241 N. Bridge St., LaBelle, Florida firehousecommunitytheatre.com

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FLORIDA 4-H

BEST BETS FOR BUNNIES CHILDREN AND ADULTS WILL FIND RAISING RABBITS ENJOYABLE AND RELATIVELY EASY

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Written by: Christopher Decubellis

any country dwellers raise animals. Some people just enjoy caring for them; others raise animals to supplement their income. Rabbits offer folks the opportunity to care for animals that can make great pets and offer practical uses. Lots of young people like to take care of rabbits and the rabbit project is consistently one of the most popular 4-H projects in Florida. People raise rabbits for a variety of reasons: They’re small, relatively clean and quiet, and can be house trained with proper training and “rabbit proofing” one’s home. Rabbits provide excellent meat, fur or hair—making them animals that can be beneficial to raise for production. They can also be raised—by young people and adults—to exhibit in shows throughout the state.

Before falling in love with a bunny at the local feed store and taking it home, it’s a good idea to have comfortable, adequate housing for the animal—offering protection from the elements and predators. The type of rabbit hutch needed depends on several factors, including the number and type(s) of rabbits you’ll own and “goals” for your rabbits. For example, if you know that you’ll have just one pet rabbit and you don’t enjoy building things, it may be best to purchase a prefabricated single-hole rabbit hutch at a local farm supply store. If you plan to breed and raise show rabbits, and you’re handy, it might make sense to build multiple-hole rabbit hutches. UF/IFAS Extension 4-H publication Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits is available for free at the following URL: edis. ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/4H/4H04300.pdf. The publication

THE AMERICAN RABBIT BREEDERS ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZES 50 BREEDS AND MANY HAVE SEVERAL VARIETIES, OR COLORS, TO CHOOSE FROM.

PHOTO COURTESY OF UF/IFAS

Dunnellon, Florida, farmer Beth Seely examines a rabbit with David Zimet, agricultural economist at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Seely raises rabbits for a national supermarket chain.

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IT’S WISE TO BUY HIGH-QUALITY ANIMALS FROM ESTABLISHED BREEDERS.

has plans for a three-hole and four-hole rabbit hutch, suitable for 4-H rabbit projects in Florida.

a restraining box (to keep your rabbit still for tattooing ears for identification) and a show box.

Rabbits also need basic supplies such as feeders, water founts or bottles—and nest boxes, if you plan on raising kits (baby bunnies). Depending on how involved with raising rabbits you decide to go, you might need additional supplies such as brushes,

Once you know your “goals”—including the breed and/or variety— and have proper hutches and equipment, then it’s time to purchase your rabbit(s). It’s wise to buy high-quality animals from established breeders. As with other animal enterprises, the major cost is feed; you can usually feed a low-quality animal for the same amount it costs to feed a high-quality animal. Florida has several breeders of high-quality rabbits, including 4-H families who breed and sell them from time to time. For reputable breeders, check out the American Rabbit Breeders Association at arba.net/ or the Florida Rabbit Breeders Directory at rabbitbreeders. us/florida-rabbit-breeders. Or visit florida4h.org/projects/rabbits/ Files/RabbitBreedersInFlorida.pdf.

BOTTOM PHOTO COURTESY OF UF/IFAS

Caring for rabbits is relatively easy and most feed stores sell premixed rabbit feed. If you use commercially mixed rabbit feed, little or no supplementation is needed. Small rabbits need about 3-4

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FLORIDA 4-H

Above left, Putnam County, Florida, Extension office's 4-H agent, Lynne Middleton, checks out a rabbit. Above right, a 4-H youth holds a bunny.

ounces of feed per day; medium-sized rabbits need about 5-6 ounces daily; large ones need 7-8 ounces daily and giant breeds need 10-12 ounces daily.

animals—will help you get off to a good start. If you have children and they’re interested in rabbits, keep in mind there are many opportunities in the 4-H rabbit project.

However, does with litters are often fed much more— sometimes even free choice if they have a large litter. Treats are okay in moderation but are not required. Treats include alfalfa cubes, carrots, apples, broccoli or cauliflower. You can also provide chew toys for rabbits; some people use pinecones or acorns!

Children as young as age 5 and up to age 18 can exhibit pet rabbits or turn their hobby into a small enterprise. And no matter how involved children become in the rabbit project, the experiences and skills learned will always remain with them.

The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 50 breeds and many have several varieties, or colors, to choose from. With so much diversity of shapes, sizes, varieties and uses, there just might be a rabbit breed out there for you!

Dr. Chris Decubellis is the Associate State Specialized 4-H Agent Dairy and Animal Science with UF/IFAS Extension. A native Floridian and a member of a west Pasco County pioneer family, Chris lives on a small cow-calf operation and family farm in Archer, Florida.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF UF/IFAS

Having the right “goals” and facilities—and high-quality

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A HEART FOR MUSTANGS TEEN TRAINS THESE CLASSIC HORSES OF THE ‘OLD WEST’

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Written by: Ava Grace

pon hearing the word “mustang,” people often think of the “Old West” because there’s simply no other horse that makes a stronger connection. Even today, many mustangs are born in the wild—from lineages that have been wild for generations. There are about 50,000 mustangs roaming freely in the western U.S. Some are rounded up and sold at auction; others are on reservations or at private ranches and stables.

In 2014, VanFleet got her first randomly assigned mustang, named Lynx, by participating in the Youth Extreme Mustang Makeover. It’s a training competition that lasts 90 to 120 days and is offered by the nonprofit Mustang Heritage Foundation, which works directly with the Bureau of Land Management. The foundation’s mission is “to create and promote programs, educate the public, and find homes for excess wild horses and burros.” It also offers the Trainer Incentive Program that is designed to help mustangs Sam get gentled and off to a good start.

A medium-sized horse that stands about 14 to 15 VanFleet says hands, mustangs were brought to the Americas she "works with a by the Spanish in the 16th century. Mustangs are variety of horses and breeds but ever since my sensitive to their environment, curious, protective, first Mustang Makeover, highly intelligent—and once trained, are known to they are my heart's capture the hearts of horse lovers. And 19-year-old main focus." Sam VanFleet, who divides her time between Williston, Florida, in Levy County, and western Massachusetts, is a great example! When she was 13, VanFleet fell in love with horses while volunteering at a draft horse rescue center. She wound up adopting a 7-year-old pregnant mares’ foal/draft cross named Calliope, also known as Mystic Jewel. The horse’s “life purpose” was to produce urine for making the drug Premarin, which is used as a hormone replacement therapy aid.

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“I now work with a variety of horses and breeds but ever since my first Mustang

TOP PHOTO BY DONDA GREGORIO OF GREGORIO PHOTOGRAPHY; BOTTOM PHOTO COURTESY OF SAM VANFLEET

HORSIN' AROUND


BOTTOM PHOTO BY DONDA GREGORIO OF GREGORIO PHOTOGRAPHY; ALL OTHERS COURTESY OF SAM VANFLEET

"I think mustangs are different from most horses because once you have their trust, there's nothing they won't do for you," the young trainer notes.

FFLO LORRIIDDAACCOOUUNTRYM NTRYMAAGGAAZZIINNEE. .CCOOM M

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HORSIN' AROUND

VanFleet also works to promote adoption and trainability of mustangs.

Makeover, they are my heart’s main focus. There’s just something about them that is so raw and ‘mold-able,’ ” explains VanFleet. Lynx, also known as Wild Card, is now 5. He’s part of VanFleet’s personal herd and she calls him her “soul-stang.” She notes: “I do everything with Lynx— from jumpers, dressage, liberty, tricks, demos, performances—you name it. He’s my go-to horse!” VanFleet says Lynx is an amazing ambassador for the American mustang. In August, they’ll be in a demo at Everything Equine Expo in North Carolina. “I think mustangs are different from most horses because once you have their trust, there’s nothing they won’t do for you,” she adds. The teen has one other horse in her forever herd. Calypso is a 5-year-old PMU foal/draft cross that VanFleet rescued when the horse was 3 months old—and was likely headed for either slaughter or the Premarin “pee line.” VanFleet specializes in young horse starting, gentling and training of mustangs and PMU foals. So far, she has worked with 11 mustangs. All were from the Youth Extreme Mustang Makeover competitions.

Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

ROUNDUP VanFleet Mustangs vanfleetmustangs.com

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF SAM VANFLEET

“I try to do as much as I can for mustangs because they’re really important to me. If all horse owners could see how capable, talented and versatile they are, I think there would be a lot more mustang owners out there,” VanFleet says. She also works to promote adoption and trainability of mustangs.


HORSIN' AROUND

RIDING AND CAMPING ON ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT LANDS OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND THROUGH FLORIDA’S DIVERSE HABITATS AND ECOSYTEMS

BOTTOM LEFT PHOTO BY JACKIE BAKER; MAP COURTESY OF ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

Written by: Kym Rouse Holzwart

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t. Johns River Water Management District is located in northeast and east-central Florida from the FloridaGeorgia border to Indian River County. Northflowing St. Johns River is the main water resource running through the 18-county district. The district’s mission is “to protect natural resources and support Florida’s growth by ensuring the sustainable use of Florida’s water for the benefit of the people of the district and the state.” As part of its mission, the district buys land to preserve and protect water resources, protect wildlife and plant habitat, and provide areas for environmental education and public recreation. It owns or manages about 737,500 acres of land within its boundaries, and the majority of these lands are open to the public for activities that are compatible with conservation. Horseback riding is currently available on 34 properties scattered widely throughout the district. Each provides a different riding experience through Florida’s diverse and wonderful habitats and ecosystems. Many of the horse trails are along lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands that are full of wildlife, while others traverse unique

Sunnyhill Restoration Area, bought by the district to restore wetlands functions of thousands of acres of river floodplain, offers riding along Ocklawaha River. Map shows the district's 18 counties. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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HORSIN' AROUND Because one reason the district buys land is to protect water resources, horse trails on many of its lands are along lakes. Riding experiences differ widely on the varied district properties.

upland habitats. District lands upon which horseback riding is permitted include the following: One area in both Duval and Nassau counties, one in Duval County, two in Clay County, two in St. Johns County, one area in both St. Johns and Putnam counties, three in Putnam County, three in Alachua County and one in Flagler County. Also, one area in both Putnam and Volusia counties, one area in both Flagler and Volusia counties, one area in both Alachua and Marion counties, three in Marion County, four areas in Volusia County and two in Lake County. In addition, one area in both Brevard and Volusia counties, one in Seminole County, two in Orange County, one area that spans both Lake and Orange counties, one in Brevard County and one in Indian River County. And one area spans four counties—Volusia, Orange, Seminole and Brevard. It includes 12 miles of the St. Johns River.

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While hard-copy recreation guides are not available, a wealth of info about each property, including excellent maps and trail guides, directions and contact info, is available on the district’s interactive and informative website: sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/. You can camp with your horse on district lands that allow camping and horseback riding; however, be prepared to rough it. There are typically no amenities, and only primitive tent camping in designated locations is allowed— no trailers, campers or recreational vehicles. Many of the campsites are located in remote areas and everything must be packed in and out. Reservations can be made online for the campsites that do take reservations, and first come/first serve campsites are also available. Rules and regulations regarding the general use of district lands, as well as horseback riding and camping, are available on the district website.


Your

horse might Horseback riding and camping are also enjoy the lakes available on seven additional properties that many of the that the district co-manages with other district lands have agencies and local governments. These to offer! properties include Ralph E. Simmons Memorial State Forest in Nassau County, Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Putnam County, Princess Place Preserve in Flagler County and Lake Norris Conservation Area in Lake County.

Also included are Herky Huffman/Bull Creek and Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Areas in Osceola County, and St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park in Brevard and Indian River counties. Camping reservations for these properties must be made through the managing agency. Check the district website or make a phone call before you haul your horse to any of these properties—as access could be limited or they may be closed because of hunting seasons; prescribed burning; construction, restoration or land management activities; or weather conditions. Horseback riding and camping during the warm summer months, rainy season or times of high water is not recommended. Please minimize the impacts of your horse on the environment, practice good trail etiquette and follow the rules. You represent all equestrians who have been given the privilege to ride and camp on district lands. Kym Rouse Holzwart is a multi-generational native Floridian, an ecologist, co-proprietor of Spotted Dance Ranch, and has been a freelance and technical writer for more than 30 years.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSIT EPAGE BY KYM ROUSE HOLZWART

ROUNDUP St. Johns River Water Management District 386-329-4500, sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/ Ralph E. Simmons Memorial State Forest, 904-845-4933 Caravelle Ranch, Herky Huffman/Bull Creek, and Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Areas, 352-732-1225 Princess Place Preserve, 386-313-4020 Lake Norris Conservation Area, 352-343-3777 St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, 321-953-5005

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FIELDS OF SUNFLOWERS BRIGHTEN TINY CITY OF CENTER HILL 4 LOVELY ACRES MAKE FOR A GORGEOUS BACKDROP, STROLL OR BOUQUET Written by: Ava Grace

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unflowers have large daisy-like faces, surrounded by bright yellow petals. They love the sun and are heliotropic—meaning the flowers turn to follow the sun’s movement across the sky. Sunflowers attract birds and bees, are generally hearty and easy to grow, and some types get as tall as 16 feet.

Prettyin-pink Rylee Oliver, granddaughter of Lancaster Family Farm owner James Lancaster, plays among the sunflowers with her best friend, Jaden Ball.

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With all this in their favor, it’s no wonder that visitors from near and far are drawn to see, pick and take photographs of the lovely sunflowers in full bloom at Lancaster Family Farm. It’s located in the small Sumter County city of Center Hill, Florida. And professional photographers can also book sessions at the farm.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY JENNI HARPER OF JENNI HARPER PHOTOGRAPHY

FLORIDA HARVEST


Rylee's dog, Allie, enjoys sunflowers as much as anyone!

THE VARIETY OF SUNFLOWERS GROWN ON THE FARM BLOOM TWICE A YEAR, DURING SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, AND DURING APRIL AND MAY.

At Lancaster Family Farm, guests enjoy self-guided walking tours down a pathway in which 4 acres of the welcoming flowers are guaranteed to add joy and brighten photos. On their stroll, visitors will find some antique props along the way, such as an old rusty truck. Afterward, they can buy sunflowers, giant zinnias and other blooming flowers, along with a variety of delicious garden vegetables that are grown on the farm. And owner James Lancaster grows a few other things, too: “I’ve got a small crop of wheat, a pumpkin patch for photoshoots and a little patch of gourds for fall decorations,” he explains. His grandparents, Ed and Geneva Lancaster, purchased the farm in the 1950s. It eventually passed down to James—now the oldest living grandson and whose family also works at the farm. The variety of sunflowers grown on the farm bloom twice a year, during September and October, and during April and May. Currently, the black oil sunflower, the autumn beauty and the dwarf teddy bear are blooming. The 10-foot black oil sunflower, with 5-inch blooms, is grown for sunflower oil, birdseed and sunflower snacks. Autumn beauty is a 7-foot sunflower that offers 6-inch flowers in red, gold, yellow, rust and burgundy. The teddy bear sunflower grows to about 3 feet and has soft, fluffy yellow flowers that are about 6 inches in diameter. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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Lancaster family members also make bouquets, and are suppliers for wedding and special occasion venues. They are also considering using the farm as a wedding and special event venue, and are developing an online store. Additional attractions include a fall corn maze, a haunted maze and other activities offered during the two growing seasons. “Visiting the farm is a fun family activity for you and your loved ones,” James Lancaster notes. No doubt—a visit to Lancaster Family Farm will be a bright memory for all! Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

ROUNDUP Lancaster Family Farm 6447 SE 100 Ave., Center Hill, Florida 33514 352-457-5229; facebook.com/lancasterfamilyfarm Admission: $3 per person; free for age 2 and under. Hours: End of September through October, 9 a.m. until dark on weekends; 3 p.m. until dark on weekdays. (Check Facebook page for spring schedule.)

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TOP PHOTO BY JENNI HARPER OF JENNI HARPER PHOTOGRAPHY; BOTTOM PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY OLIVER

FLORIDA HARVEST


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LOCAL FLAVOR

Hogbody's Bar & Grill has some of the best "falloff-the-bone" baby back ribs that you can find anywhere.

HOGBODY’S BAR & GRILL IS DOWN-HOME LOCAL FAVORITE SERVING UP AWESOME FOOD AND DRINKS IN A COMFY SETTING n Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers, Florida, tucked into a little white strip of shops, lies a place with some of the best “fall-off-the-bone” baby back ribs that you can find anywhere. The restaurant is Hogbody’s Bar & Grill, and its “Baby Back Pork Ribs” are covered in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce that makes coming back for more almost guaranteed. Although Hogbody’s is famous for its ribs, you’ll go crazy for its wings, too. Any flavor you can think of—it has them. You can pick from 54 wing flavors, such as Jamaican Jerk, Parmesan Garlic, Thai Peanut, Mediterranean or the owner’s favorite Key West and Raspberry. Don’t worry if you, your family and friends can’t decide on a wing flavor. Hogbody’s has it covered with “Fabulous 5 (FAB 5) 50 wings 5 flavors”! But it’s not just about ribs and wings. Patrons seeking Southern favorites will never leave disappointed—thanks to gator bites, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, and yummy sweet corn fritters. There’s also plenty of traditional fare, such as mouth-watering burgers, salads and sandwiches,

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including favorites like chicken ranch melt, grilled cheese, or fried bologna. For something a bit lighter, try a delicious bleu cheese wedge salad with tasty homemade dressing. Hogbody’s talented chef will also get your taste buds fired up with his flavorful seafood gumbo—comprised of spicy sausage, chicken, fish, shrimp, rice, okra and tomatoes in a tomato base. “It will knock your socks off,” says Hogbody’s owner Theresa Raker. It’s quite spicy because of a secret ingredient that is added to the sauce. Ask for a sample if you are too scared to order it. Hogbody’s is a family restaurant, so of course there’s a children’s menu with choices that little ones always love, such as “Mac and Cheese” or “Chicken Nuggets.” Then, no matter what your age, if you’ve got room for dessert, try such sweet treats as homemade “Key Lime Pie,” “Peanut Butter Pie” or “Fruit Cobbler.” Hogbody’s Bar & Grill is well-known by locals: “Some come by car, some by golf cart and some by horse!” Raker relates. Other folks come from as far as Naples or Port Charlotte. They all come for the taste of home cooking, to eat in a comfy

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF HOGBODY'S BAR & GRILL

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Written by: Ava Grace


From left are delicious items from Hogbody's menu, including "Chicken Ranch Melt with Fried Okra and Coleslaw," "Florida Orange-flavored Wings" and its seafood gumbo, which is "quite spicy because of a secret ingredient that is added to the sauce."

ALTHOUGH HOGBODY’S IS FAMOUS FOR ITS RIBS, YOU’LL GO CRAZY FOR ITS WINGS, TOO. ANY FLAVOR YOU CAN THINK OF—IT HAS THEM. PICK FROM 54 CHOICES. spot at the bar, tables or booths. To top it off, the prices are reasonable, with many dishes ranging from $5 to $12. The restaurant started in 1993 in Fort Myers, moving to North Fort Myers in 2003. It was so popular that they expanded the restaurant by 1,000 square feet a year later. In 2005, a full-service liquor bar was added. Hogbody’s is open every day for lunch and dinner, featuring daily specials, happy hour specials and catering. New menu items include “Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich” and “Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla.”

For those who are curious about the name “Hogbody’s,” Raker will only smile. She then says, “It’s a long story, but named after a dear friend.” And a word to the wise: Now is a great time to head over to Hogbody’s Bar & Grill for lunch or dinner—before season starts up and before this popular spot gets a whole lot more popular. As Raker notes, “We look forward to seeing and visiting with our local customers during the off-season.” Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

ROUNDUP From left are Hogbody's employees Jacob, Jenna, Denise and Miranda, with owner Theresa Raker.

Hogbody’s Bar & Grill 10440 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers, Florida 239-543-8800, hogbodys.net F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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LOCAL FLAVOR

COWPOKE’S WATERING HOLE SERVES IT UP RIGHT HISTORY ON THE MENU, TOO, AT THIS DELICIOUS RESTAURANT Written by: Ava Grace

Cowpoke's Watering Hole offers a ton of fun throughout the week, for all ages. At right, guests can enjoy live music in its spacious Tiki.

The restaurant is a large, family-friendly place with a reputation as also a great spot to host reunions, wedding parties and birthday parties. (Be sure to check out its website, cowpokeswh.com, for birthday deals.) Additionally, the establishment can handle private dining for parties of up to 50 people. There’s also a lengthy menu with something for everyone. “Our menu includes bottomless salads, great steaks and fresh seafood, fun appetizers—and the smell of fresh garlic bread will meet you at the door,” explains Christy Crews. Try starters such as “Bully Bites,” which is fried gator tail, or “Ahi Tuna” or “Cracker Caprese.” Main courses include a variety of steaks in all different sizes, up to a 34-ounce “Tomahawk Ribeye.” Also featured are burgers, seafood, pastas, soups and entrée salads—that can have a topping of salmon, chicken, shrimp or sirloin. Wine and beer are on the menu, along with a full bar.

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“Then for dessert, you definitely want to try our Florida orange cake—made with 100% Florida orange juice!” Crews says. Of course, it’s hard to go wrong when also ordering the Key lime pie, the chocolate lava cake or Philadelphia cheesecake! In addition to the delicious food, and lots of it, guests will enjoy the restaurant’s inviting setting, with an outdoor tiki with live music on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Or patrons can sit indoors, with wooden tables, booths and a stage upon which live music is performed on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. “We also have a large dance floor with fun lighting—great when there’s live music—or you can join in the fun out in the Tiki with a live DJ,” notes Crews. And the good times do not stop at that because there are free line dancing lessons on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and trivia on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. “We always love to see new faces,” she adds. With its tasty food in just the right setting, and a ton of fun offered throughout the week for all ages, it’s no wonder that Culture Trip named Cowpoke’s Watering Hole one of “The 10 Best Restaurants in Florida’s Small Towns.” Culture Trip also named the establishment in its list of “The 10 Best Restaurants in Sebring, Florida.” And TripAdvisor awarded Cowpoke’s Watering Hole restaurant its “Certificate of Excellence” in 2019. Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF CREWS COMPANIES

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he colorful history of Cowpoke’s Watering Hole restaurant, located in Sebring, Florida, dates to around 1930—when it originally opened as a fruit stand. And back then, it was better known for “Bully,” a 14-foot alligator that used to live there. Today, the restaurant is still locally owned and operated by Christy and Cruiser Crews, both lifelong residents of Highlands County and multi-generation Floridians.


Clockwise from top left, menu offerings include "Cracker Caprese," Chairman's Reserve Certified Premium Beef, customized salads, and Southern favorites such as fried frog legs.

PHOTO CREDIT INFO

ROUNDUP Cowpoke’s Watering Hole 6813 U.S. Route 27 South, Sebring, Florida 863-314-9459; cowpokeswh.com (Hours are Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.) F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M 29


COUNTRY CALIBER

‘WIN-WIN’ AS FCA AND AUDUBON FLORIDA TEAM UP WORKING TOGETHER ON SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE SUNSHINE STATE

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Written by: Wendy McMullen

joint effort between Florida Cattlemen’s Association and Audubon Florida to conserve Florida’s heartland and benefit coastal communities can be a win-win situation for everyone, according to Dr. Paul Gray. He is Audubon’s Okeechobee Science Coordinator and in June was named FCA’s “2019 Conservation Friend.” The Missouri native earned his doctorate at the University of Florida, researching ranches and dairy farms in Okeechobee. “It’s been really rewarding to work with these guys,” Gray says of FCA. “Working with landowners on these projects has actually sustained land ownership and it’s just good for everybody for different reasons. [They’ve] been getting a lot of blame for the drainage problems and it hurts their feelings because they love the land as well. So they like being involved in projects that put them in a good light and keeps Florida wonderful.” The programs involve ways that conservation groups such as Audubon can work with ranchers and farmers to sustain farmland and avoid having to release

water from Lake Okeechobee. Gray notes, “We’ve had algae blooms lately that were a big concern and large dumps of water out of a lake to the estuaries and we lost a lot of plant communities. “We’ve overstrained the watershed and we’ve polluted it so all that goes into Lake Okeechobee and starts that cascade. In order to fix that we have to store more water north of the lake and we have to clean the water up before it gets to the lake.” About half the land surrounding Lake O is owned by ranchers and farmers. Audubon and other environmental organizations are exploring ways to work with the owners to store water on that land to prevent it going into the lake. A major part of the problem is phosphorous fertilizers used in the past. That was stopped some 20 years ago after UF research showed it didn’t increase grass growth. But decades of phosphorous fertilizer remain in the soil and it’s still running off into the lake. One solution is to pay ranchers to plug drainage ditches and let the water percolate into the soil to keep the water from flooding so rapidly into Lake O, creating a semi-wetland area

Paul Gray, Ph.D., is Audubon Florida's Okeechobee Science Coordinator. He earned his doctorate at UF, researching ranches and dairy farms in Okeechobee.

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[THEY’VE] BEEN GETTING A LOT OF BLAME FOR THE DRAINAGE PROBLEMS AND IT HURTS THEIR FEELINGS BECAUSE THEY LOVE THE LAND AS WELL. SO THEY LIKE BEING INVOLVED IN PROJECTS THAT PUT THEM IN A GOOD LIGHT AND KEEPS FLORIDA WONDERFUL.” attractive to birds, reptiles and other animals. Another solution is to pay ranchers and citrus growers who already have reservoirs to agree to operate according to water management needs. Gray says there are several projects—some permanent and some short-term—and urges people with ideas how to store water to contact fl.audubon.org. If the organization likes an idea and thinks it’s workable, they can find ways to pay the landowners to do it.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF PAUL GRAY, PH.D.

“I work for a conservation group and we especially focus on birds. For us, if we get help for Okeechobee, we get help for the birds. The benefit for the ranchers is they get one more stream of income and one more service they can provide to society and get paid for it.” The FCA/Audubon collaboration also increases possibilities of getting funding. “If you’re a legislator and you get an environmentalist and an agriculturalist and they come into your office and say, ‘We both want the same thing; will you please help us?’—that’s really powerful in getting projects funded. … It’s that synergy that got us where we are,” Gray concludes. Audubon Florida is a “nonprofit environmental organization focusing on birds and wildlife, and their habitats. It uses science, education and grassroots advocacy to advance its conservation mission.” FCA, founded in 1934, is “devoted to promoting and protecting the ability of cattlemen members to produce and market their products.” Wendy McMullen, originally from England, has lived in Southwest Florida for 35 years and has been an editor and reporter for various publications in the area. She has also taught at FGCU and reports occasionally for WGCU, the local public radio affiliate.

At top, Gray holds a wooden bird. When it comes to real birds, the scientist says, "For us, if we get help for Okeechobee, we get help for the birds." Above, Gray holds his FCA award, also shown at right.

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COUNTRY CALIBER

NEW FCA SWEETHEART CASEY WINGATE SPEAKING ABOUT BEEF INDUSTRY, PROMOTING HERITAGE OF COWBOYS AND COWGIRLS very year in the middle of June, cattle ranchers from across the state travel to meet up for the annual Florida Cattlemen’s Association Convention and Allied Trade Show. Hundreds of producers and their families show up for a week full of classes, learning, banquets, guest speakers, fellowship and even a belly-flop competition. One of the highlights of the convention is the crowning of the new FCA Sweetheart at the awards banquet. The Sweetheart program has been around for more than 50 years and is a competition to represent the state of Florida’s beef industry for an entire year. This year’s winner is Casey Wingate of Manatee County. The competition is anything but a beauty contest. Contestants must win at their local level to represent their county as County Sweetheart. Then those winners travel to the annual convention to compete for the state title. “My favorite part of the Sweetheart program is having the opportunity to work with the youth that are our future leaders of Florida’s cattle industry,” says Sweetheart committee chair Kim Strickland. It’s a long week full of various activities. First, contestants must take a written exam on their knowledge of the beef industry. Questions can range anywhere from beef byproducts to breed knowledge to animal welfare practices.

Contestants have two interviews with the judges, in which they are asked a variety of questions, including ones that consumers may have in real-life instances. The young ladies must also answer a random on-stage question in front of hundreds of convention attendees, and prepare a PowerPoint presentation to show to judges, friends and family. The contestants are judged based on their knowledge of the industry, ability to communicate their knowledge, confidence, speaking skills, test score and presentation. As this year’s new Sweetheart, Casey Wingate will travel the state speaking to consumers about the beef industry and promoting the heritage of Florida cowboys and cowgirls. Her schedule will include everything from cooking demos, speaking to elementary school classes, the Florida State Fair, and Ranch Rodeo Finals in September in Kissimmee. Wingate is a sixth-generation rancher who has been involved in 4-H since age 6. With her strong leadership skills, it’s no wonder she was chosen. She’s served as president and secretary for the Junior FCA, as well as leading the Manatee County Cattlemen’s 4-H Club. “With so much negative and wrong information in the media, I want to share my story and scientific facts to help people understand what we do as cattlemen,” Wingate explains. “I also want to share about the nutrition that beef provides our bodies.”

At left, Casey Wingate wears her crown and sash; at right, she shows her senior year steer, Rascal, at the 2017 Manatee County Fair. Opposite page, Wingate rides Poco in the 11th annual Manatee County Cattlemen's Ranch Rodeo.

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LEFT PHOTO BY RON O’CONNER; RIGHT PHOTO AND OPPOSITE PAGE PHOTO BY ELLIE TRAMMELL

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Written by: Katey McClenny


PHOTO CREDIT INFO

HER SCHEDULE WILL INCLUDE EVERYTHING FROM COOKING DEMOS, SPEAKING TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSES, THE FLORIDA STATE FAIR, AND RANCH RODEO FINALS IN SEPTEMBER IN KISSIMMEE. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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COUNTRY CALIBER She’s involved in several aspects of her family’s ranch and cattle, including helping ensure cows are in proper health and choosing who to artificially inseminate the cows to. Wingate plans to use social media as a main strategy for connecting with consumers this year, as well as her various speaking engagements. “I am so excited to promote the state, association and industry I love most,” she says. As for anyone considering running for Sweetheart, Wingate has two words: “Do it!” She continues, “It is one of the most life-changing and rewarding experiences you will ever do. Always be confident in yourself; you know more than you think.” Katey McClenny, a Florida native, is an advocate for agriculture with a strong passion for the cattle industry. In addition to writing and photography, she loves being outdoors and spending time with her dogs and horses.

Above, Wingate and her brother, Clay, show Frannie and Fergie, prize-winning Simmental cattle from the family ranch. Also pictured is Cheyenne George. From left to right below are FCA contestants Hannah Cline, Shannon McAmis, Anna Conrad, Wingate, Nathalie Yoder and Brianna Waters.

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TOP PHOTO COURTESY OF BERRY SWEET MEMORIES; BOTTOM PHOTO BY RON O'CONNOR

Good luck this year, Casey Wingate!


RODEO PROFILE

REINING CHAMPIONS COME FROM HIGHLANDS COUNTY BUD ROEBUCK AND STALLION, SHOOTER, TAKE TOP HONORS AT NRHA Written by: Kathy Ann Gregg

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he 2018 Limited Open World Championship title of the National Reining Horse Association, or NRHA, belongs to two residents of Lake Placid, Florida, in Highlands County. The duo consists of Bud Roebuck riding Gunners Lil Shooter.

While Roebuck rode Shooter to the final title, he is owned by Bert, Kim and Glen Crawford and is stabled at their barn in Lake Placid. Roebuck assisted the Crawfords in the purchase of this equine athlete in the fall of 2017, with the original intention being for Glen Crawford to show him in the Green Reiner Classes.

This amazing 13-year-old stallion was a crowd favorite wherever they competed, which included shows in Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and several in their home state. An American Paint Horse Association registered stallion, his barn name is “Shooter” and he’s a beautiful chestnut and white overo paint horse.

But after the first few shows of 2018, they decided to change their focus and Roebuck took the reins (no pun intended!). They aimed for winning a Limited Open World Championship. Not only did this pair accomplish that goal, but they also placed in the Top 5 in the Intermediate World Standings, AND the Top 10 in the Open World Standings!

PHOTO COURTESY OF BUD ROEBUCK

Reining champions Bud Roebuck and Shooter make a sliding stop.

SUMMING UP THE PRIOR YEAR COMPETING WITH SHOOTER, ROEBUCK SAYS: “IT WAS LIKE RIDING A CORVETTE ALL YEAR LONG!”

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RODEO PROFILE “Shooter is an amazing equine athlete. At 13 years of age—to accomplish what he did—is outstanding!” states Roebuck. “Shooter and I were a team from day one. He is a little red rocket. The proof is in the pudding, as we doubled his lifetime earnings in seven short months." Roebuck comes from a family of horse people. He grew up rodeoing in South Dakota, having competed in all three roughstock events—bull riding, and bareback and saddle bronc riding. After the oftentimes bumps and bruises of bull riding, he switched to mainly riding saddle broncs. However, a ride on a particularly rank horse dislocated his right hip during the ride. Then he landed on that leg in the

BUD ROEBUCK’S REINING RÉSUMÉ: • South Dakota Quarter Horse Association Senior and Junior Reining multiple championships • American Quarter Horse Association World Show Reining Qualifier • Multiple NRHA Top 10 World titles and year-end finishes, including 2013 Limited Open • Reserve World Champion, 2013 Rookie Pro World Champion, 2018 Limited Open • World Champion, 2018 Intermediate Top 5 in the World, 2018 Open Top 10 in the World "Shooter is an amazing equine athlete," Roebuck notes. "At 13 years of age—to accomplish what he did—is outstanding!"

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dismount, putting the hip back in its socket but breaking his femur. At the ripe age of 33, he retired from rodeo. Roebuck’s father, the late Bud Roebuck Sr., was a horse trainer and breeder. Roebuck’s older brothers are also in the horse business: Clay has been a farrier for more than 40 years. Claude, who remained in South Dakota, is a horse trainer and winner of numerous colt starting competitions throughout the U.S. While having already dabbled in the world of reining, Roebuck then became active in the sport. Reining is a western riding competition in which the rider guides the horse through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops. All work is done at

• Southeast Reining Horse Association Open, Intermediate and Limited Year-End Champion • Florida Reining Horse Association Open, Intermediate and Limited Year-End Champion • South Florida Reining Horse Association Open and Limited Year-End Champion • Dixie Reining Horse Association Top 5 Open, and Intermediate and Limited Champion • For the year 2018, won four saddles, 11 championship trophy buckles, multiple bronze and pewter NRHA Championship trophies; earnings in excess of $10,000


At top, Roebuck and Shooter in the winner's circle at a Southeast Reining Horse Association event in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bottom, their trophy saddle represents their 2018 Limited Open World Championship.

the lope, also called the canter, or at the gallop, which is the fastest of the horse gaits.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF BUD ROEBUCK

Scoring at these competitions is based on a system established by the NRHA. Every horse and rider pair starts with a score of 70, and they receive positive or negative points for each maneuver they complete. And there is also the possibility of incurring penalty points. In February of this year, Roebuck and his family traveled to Oklahoma City for the NRHA Convention and awards banquet. His wife, Bobbi Jo, trains horses with Bud. Their daughter, McLayne, is a Florida barrel racer; their son, Little Bud, prefers riding in the pastures and woods of their Highlands County ranch. Being a stallion, Shooter often calls to the female horses while on the road. Roebuck laughs as he describes this behavior: “Instead of the usual-sounding whinny, he will nicker under his breath, drawing it out and sounding just like a machine gun!” Summing up the prior year competing with Shooter, Roebuck says: “It was like riding a Corvette all year long!” Kathy Ann Gregg is a Florida photographer and writer, specializing in all things rodeo and equine, and is the owner of a paint horse mare who has not won any championships except for being “yard art.” F F LO LO R R II D DA AC CO OU U NTRYM NTRYM A AG GA AZ Z II N NE E .. C CO OM M

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RODEO PROFILE

FLORIDIAN IS HOOP DANCE CHAMPION CODY BOETTNER NABS 2019 TITLE

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Written by: Kathy Ann Gregg

he beauty and mystique of the hoop dance, which originated in the southwestern U.S., drew in 27-year-old Cody Boettner as a small child. The South Daytona, Florida, resident is the son of Jim Sawgrass, who’s wellknown for his living history performances at festivals and schools throughout the nation, including the Alafia River Rendezvous held each January in south Polk County. Their lineage includes the Mvskoke Creek tribe—the English spelling is Muscogee. This is a very large tribe that

Cody Boettner holds the globe above his head at the close of a performance.

originated from the mound builders living along the rivers of Georgia and Alabama. Boettner explains, “Attending powwows and dancing has always been a part of my life. The teachings and traditions are instilled to the kids at a very young age and many of them are drawn back to that dance circle as they grow up. In the same way, my parents also brought me into the dance circle when I was young, and not long after, I started dancing at powwows and festivals, and singing with drum groups.” The hoop dance was originally done for prayer and healing purposes and is now performed by many tribes worldwide. It enthralled Boettner as a child; there was just something about it that fascinated him. At powwows, he’d rush back to the arena whenever they’d call the hoop dancers out to exhibition. His parents made him a set of hoops when he was 5 years old—and a champion was made! The Heard Museum in Phoenix has sponsored hoop dance championships for the past 28 years at its facility. Boettner’s first entry was in 2016; that year as well as the next two years, his scores weren’t high enough to place him in the top six—the group the champion is chosen from.

Finalists begin with a “clean score card”—points are not carried over from round to round. Bells, tinklers or deer hooves are required; they assist judges in assessing each dancer’s rhythm. Difficulty of the designs presented is included in the showmanship category. Points accumulate with more designs presented, and with designs originated by individual dancers that haven’t been previously presented. Participants’ feet must continuously keep time to the drum, with the speed category going directly to rapid drum and dance coordination. Boettner was up against 21 of the best hoop dancers in the Adult Division—both men and women. Each dance has a different routine and uses a different number of hoops. Boettner used from 30 to 50 designs in the championships, garnering him 234 out of a possible 250 points.

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PHOTO BY KATHY ANN GREGG

But not so this past February! The competition process consists of three rounds, with judges scoring individual contestants on precision, timing and rhythm, showmanship, creativeness/originality, and speed. In the Adult Division, the top 10 contestants move on after Round I. Then that’s pared down to the top six performers who vie for the title, with all rounds lasting for seven minutes.


BOTTOM LEFT AND TOP LEFT PHOTOS BY JOANNA PROFFITT; OTHER PHOTOS BY KATHY ANN GREGG

Clockwise from top left, Boettner jumping through hoops, which is a requirement of the hoop dance; performing one of his many designs; doing a hatchet dance in 2006 at the Alafia River Rendezvous, and closing his championship routine.

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RODEO PROFILE Boettner was 7 years old in these photos from the Alafia River Rendezvous in 1999, where he got help with his outfit from his well-known dad, Jim Sawgrass.

Many of his designs are gathered from nature, such as the eagle, the lizard (or as we here in Florida would call it, the alligator!), a butterfly and flowers. The globe or world is something Boettner always uses at the close of each performance, since it signifies to him the tying together of all designs of nature on Mother Earth.

A Florida State grad with a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies, he’s now a fulltime performer and hoop dancer. It’s been a way of life since childhood and paid his way through FSU. He performed at a birthday party in Italy in spring 2018, and was invited back that summer. His third trip to Italy was this past January, for the opening of the “Indian Village It” Museum. In describing this lifelong journey, Boettner says, “I’ve met some pretty amazing people, and for that I am grateful. Just like in hoop dancing, we have different hoops, or experiences, that shape our life, and these things make up the world we live in.” Kathy Ann Gregg is a writer who’s always loved native dancing. She first saw Cody Boettner hoop dance as a 7-year-old at the Alafia River Rendezvous. Not having attended the Phoenix championships, she wishes to thank photographer Joanna Proffitt for the use of her photos in this story.

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PHOTOS BY KATHY ANN GREGG

He reacted to his win by stating, “It’s a surreal feeling to have your name put in history with so many other great hoop dancers, many of whom you have looked up to through the years. While winning is great and noteworthy, the contest itself is a great way for hoop dancers to meet one another and share experiences and moves with each other. It’s a community of people who all love the same thing, and are willing to help and support each other as we journey on this path of dancing.”


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THE RANCH

GREAT FLORIDA CATTLE DRIVE OF 2021 CELEBRATING 500 YEARS OF CATTLE AND HORSES IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

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Written by: Ava Grace

lans are well underway for the Great Florida Cattle Drive of 2021, in honor of having cattle in Florida for 500 years. The historic quincentennial celebration takes place Dec. 5-11, 2021, and is organized by the Florida Cow

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Culture Preservation Committee. FCCPC is based in Seminole County, in the community of Geneva. A total of 50 cow hunters and 500 to 700 trail riders from around the world will drive a thousand head of Cracker cattle through historic central Florida’s cattle country—

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY NIC STOLTZFUS

During the historic quincentennial celebration, 50 cow hunters and 500 to 700 trail riders from around the world will replicate how early ranchers would drive cattle to ports.


An award-winning documentary, informative book, and soundtrack CD tell the story of the Great Florida Cattle Drive of 2016.

replicating how early ranchers would drive cattle to ports. The drive concludes with a big public event known as the “Trail’s End Celebration.” According to FCCPC chairman Doyle Conner Jr., the organization’s “first cattle drive took place in 1995, as we celebrated Florida’s 150th birthday.” Conner worked with various county cattlemen’s associations to garner the cattle. The drive was recognized as the largest sesquicentennial event in Florida, and made worldwide news. FCCPC’s cattle drive in 2016 also made worldwide frontpage news—from Tokyo to Australia to Toronto—and was

documented by Emmy Award-winning Elam Stoltzfus with Live Oak Production Group. The group won numerous awards for the documentary, which was subsequently aired on PBS stations across the nation. An informative book about the event, The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles, was written by Nic Stoltzfus. The documentary DVD, the book, and a soundtrack CD can be ordered from greatfloridacattledrive.org/shop-2/. The 2021 event starts at Deseret Ranch in St. Cloud—a ranch that covers about 300,000 acres in Brevard, Orange and Osceola counties. It is the largest ranch east of the Mississippi,

CATTLEMEN COME IN FROM ALL OVER THE U.S. AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CATTLE DRIVE.” —FCCPC chairman Doyle Conner Jr. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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THE RANCH and is home to the largest commercial cowherd in the United States.

ROUNDUP Great Florida Cattle Drive of 2021 Florida Cow Culture Preservation Committee P.O. Box 65, Geneva, Florida 32732 greatfloridacattledrive.org

The “Trail’s End Celebration” will take place on Dec. 11, at Silver Spurs

ARTISTS DECORATE LIFE-SIZED FIBERGLASS CRACKER BULLS As part of the 500-year celebration, FCCPC invited seven artists to decorate fiberglass Cracker bulls, which stand 5 feet high and weigh 150 pounds. The selection jury was headed by The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, Florida. The seven cattle designs represent the “Ponce de León 1521 Herd of 7.” Once completed, the bulls will be exhibited at numerous public events throughout the state. They will then be auctioned, with proceeds going to FCCPC. Sponsorship information is available by contacting Linda Todd at vftodd18690@gmail.com.

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“The 2021 cattle drive, celebration and events are the biggest ones yet—and are the experience of a lifetime,” Conner adds. Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

FUN FACTS FROM FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM: As of 2007, Florida had 3.2 million acres of pastureland

and 1.3 million acres of grazed woodland. The largest single brood cow herd in the nation is in Florida. As of 2009, the state was

Cattle and horses were first introduced to the North American mainland in Florida

in 1521 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.

home to five of the top 10 largest cow/calf operations in the U.S.

Wildlife and native plants thrive on Florida’s ranchlands, and healthy “green spaces” filter and recharge underground water supplies.

As of 2011, Florida was ranked 10th in the nation in number of beef cows and nearly half of the state’s agricultural land is involved in cattle production.

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY NIC STOLTZFUS

“Cattlemen come in from all over the U.S. and many other countries to participate in the cattle drive,” explains Conner. The countries he mentions include England, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, France, Poland and Canada, as well as, countries within South and Central America. In addition to the drive, “Reunion Rides” are also held annually.

Arena in Kenansville, when the cattle enter the arena. The festive celebration, which features singers, craftspeople and artists, is expected to draw more than a thousand cattle lovers and their families. More celebrations will be held throughout the state in 2021—leading up to and during the Great Florida Cattle Drive.


Florida Cow Culture Preservation Committee chairman Doyle Conner Jr. says the events "are the experience of a lifetime."

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AWARD-WINNING RANCHER KELLY FULFORD Rocking K Cattle Company LOVES WHAT owner/operator ‘wouldn't trade it for anything' SHE DOES Originally from Tarpon Springs, Fulford’s been raising cattle in Florida for 24 years, alongside her husband, Matt. It was Matt who first introduced her to the cattle industry—and from there her life’s passion began. She maintains two leases from Hillsborough County; one is in Odessa and the other is in Plant City. They are 16-year leases through the Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program. In addition to running cattle, Fulford is responsible for maintaining these lands and all of the maintenance that goes along with it. Responsibilities include fixing fences and implementing Best Management Practices, known as BMPs. While these lands are open to the public to come and visit the “wild side” of Florida, Fulford must also make sure there are no trespassers. “It’s very important to me to preserve our environment and take care of our water quality,” she says. Water quality and rotational grazing are two major BMPs that Fulford focuses on. The 600 head of Brangus cattle raised at Rocking K are

Rancher Kelly Fulford stands among, from left, ranch hands Casey Larkins, Cody Carter, Lint Jerrels, Josh Frazier and Eugene Carter.

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY KATHY PORUPSKI

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elly Fulford didn’t grow up in the cattle industry; however, today she’s a leading woman in ranching. A past recipient of the Florida Farm Bureau’s “This Farm CARES Award,” Fulford is the owner/operator of Rocking K Cattle Company in Hillsborough County. “To me, environmental stewardship and being a rancher is not a job if you go to work and you love what you do,” she says proudly.


PHOTO CREDIT INFO

Eugene Carter and Fulford getting a moment's break from the never-ending work of being a livestock producer.

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FULFORD’S BEEN RAISING CATTLE IN FLORIDA FOR 24 YEARS, ALONGSIDE HER HUSBAND, MATT. IT WAS MATT WHO FIRST INTRODUCED HER TO THE CATTLE INDUSTRY AND FROM THERE HER LIFE’S PASSION BEGAN. At left, Fulford gets supplies ready to pull blood for a cow's pregnancy check. Right, she holds up the cow's tail so Jerrels can pull blood.

Fulford also uses a Global Positioning System when using weed killers and fertilizers to ensure proper usage, location and amount. These chemicals are strictly monitored to make sure they do not contaminate any water sources, thus protecting water quality. Like many ranches in Florida, the land she raises cattle on provides a home for countless wildlife in addition to the cows. Whitetail deer and Osceola turkeys are just a few of the animals that also call Rocking K Cattle Company home. Without these grazing lands, this diverse natural Florida habitat would be lost to development and industry. It is no surprise that Fulford was a recipient of the 2016 “This Farm CARES Award” from the Florida Farm Bureau. “CARES” stands for County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship. The award recognizes farmers and ranchers who have implemented BMPs and exemplify a strong commitment to protecting Florida’s natural resources.

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The farm or ranch enrolls in Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ BMP program to implement practices that help them reduce water and nutrient use as well as improve water quality. Department staff work with producers to ensure their BMP program is working well and accomplishing their goals for natural resource protection. More than 800 farmers and ranchers have been recognized for their efforts to be good environmental stewards. Fulford plans to continue providing the best-quality cattle possible while caring for Florida’s natural resources. With the constant threat of development in the Sunshine State, she believes firmly that Florida lands must be protected for future generations. “Being a livestock producer is not easy,” she says. “It is seven days a week, all hours of the day and night. You never know what the day will bring. It is exhausting—but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Katey McClenny, a Florida native, is an advocate for agriculture with a strong passion for the cattle industry. In addition to writing and photography, she loves being outdoors and spending time with her dogs and horses. 

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY KATHY PORUPSKI

rotated frequently around pastures so there is no overgrazing. “There’s always good fresh grass coming up, which is good for the land and it’s good for my cattle,” she states.


Clockwise from top are calves and a mama cow, Cody Carter worming, and Eugene Carter giving vaccinations.

WATER QUALITY AND ROTATIONAL GRAZING ARE TWO MAJOR BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES THAT FULFORD FOCUSES ON. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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MATT PEARCE 6th-Generation Rancher's Vision for His Term Is ‘SHARE YOUR HERITAGE’

Written by: KATEY MCCLENNY

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY BY SANDRA PEARCE

MEET NEW FCA PRESIDENT


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cross the U.S., approximately 97% of cattle ranches today are still family owned and operated. Most of these farms and ranches have been passed down over the generations, creating a legacy of hard work, family values and high-quality American beef. Florida has played a large role in that history since the early 1500s. The state’s ranching families help

feed the world a healthy, delicious protein while preserving the legacy of the hardworking cowboys and cowgirls who came before them. Down in Okeechobee lives one of Florida’s ranching families that has the seventh generation involved working on the ranch. The land has been in the family since the early 1900s, when cattle grazed along the western shore of the Kissimmee River from the shores of Lake O up to the Bassinger and Lorida areas.

FLORIDA’S RANCHING FAMILIES HELP FEED THE WORLD A HEALTHY, DELICIOUS PROTEIN WHILE PRESERVING THE LEGACY OF THE HARDWORKING COWBOYS AND COWGIRLS WHO CAME BEFORE THEM.

Matt Pearce, shown riding on opposite page, explains, "I guess there's not a typical day in Pearce Cattle Company." At top, working cows on the ranch, which has been in the family since the early 1900s. Below, Pearce stands between his son, Chandler, his wife, Alisha, and daughters Aubrey and Taylor. LOR RIID DAACCO OU UNTRYM NTRYMAAG GAAZZIIN NEE..CCO OM M FFLO

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“I enjoy seeing the vast wildlife that inhabits the ranchlands we get to protect on a daily basis,” Pearce says. “My family loves the land and cattle as well. It is very satisfying and rewarding to enjoy ranching with them by my side. “They, too, have grown up on the back of a horse and the seat of a tractor working on the ranch,” he notes. In addition to the Okeechobee ranch that Pearce grew up on, the family also raises cattle in the Florida cities of Clewiston and Fort Pierce, and in Georgia. Pearce Cattle Company is not a typical cow/ calf operation. It is involved in several stages

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Above from left are the seventhgeneration Pearce children, Chandler, Aubrey and Taylor, and their dad.

of the beef life cycle—cow/calf, stocking and pre-conditioning are the main foci. “I guess there’s not a typical day in Pearce Cattle Company,” Pearce explains. “I could be in meetings in Gainesville, meeting with Purina customers in South Florida, loading cattle that have been sold to a new buyer or sitting in an office working on proposals.” Pearce has been able to acquire more lands for the family business in addition to leasing 6,000 acres. He uses the Okeechobee land for preconditioning and developing heifers, which are then sent to Alabama as replacement heifers. The Clewiston land is used as a typical cow/calf operation. The family also sells bred cows, cow/calf pairs and replacement heifers. “Our plans for the future include expansion of our cow/calf herd as well as more stocker cattle in Georgia. We are always looking to expand our footprint in the cattle business

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY BY SANDRA PEARCE

Pearce Cattle Company is now run by Matt Pearce, a sixth-generation Florida rancher and sales specialist for Purina Animal Nutrition. He also became president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, or FCA, at its annual convention in June.


Clockwise from top, Pearce riding with a calf; working cattle, and with some Florida Brahmans.

and protect the green space for the next generation,” Pearce states. His plans as FCA president include sharing the Florida ranching heritage through the use of social media. Pearce explains, “My vision this year as president of FCA is ‘Share Your Heritage.’ We need to share on social media what we do as ranchers every day to provide green space, filter water, host wildlife and conserve Florida grasslands.” Katey McClenny, a Florida native, is an advocate for agriculture with a strong passion for the cattle industry. In addition to writing and photography, she loves being outdoors and spending time with her dogs and horses.

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Hey, y’all! I’m Cally Simpson, the author of Cally in Wonderland. With words and photographs, I will be presenting my Florida, giving you a glimpse of the wild and wonderful place where I and so many of you were raised. Join me on a journey of discovery into past and modern Florida.

RAISING GIRLS IN TODAY’S WORLD IS NOT AN EASY TASK REBEL ATTITUDE WILL HELP THEM RISE TO THE OCCASION AND CONQUER OBSTACLES

he first words I said when I held my baby niece, Jacey, for the first time were: “This is how I was meant to have a girl.” I was not the easiest child to raise—and I always knew if I were ever blessed with a baby girl, the good Lord would be smiling, knowing she was “payback” for all the trouble I caused! Luckily for me, I got a boy. A red-headed boy with the attitude to match, but a boy nonetheless! He’s the light of my life, but when I look into Jacey’s sea of blue eyes, I see a little bit of myself, and I can’t help but want to protect and cultivate that.

Raising a girl in today’s world is not an easy task and my sister-in-law and brother have their work cut out for them. I’m fortunate that I get to be part of Jacey’s life and watch her unfold into what I’m sure is going to be an amazing little lady. And just like with the boys, there are obvious things I want for her. I want her to be kind, generous and polite, to work hard and be successful. I know she’ll have a zest for life and learning. She’s already an inquisitive little girl who is not afraid of new things. But I want more for her. I want her to be a rebel. Yes, you heard me right. This is something I’m wishing upon my favorite niece and my sister-in-law. In the short run, it might be problematic. She’ll push boundaries before she’s ready and

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probably get into lots of trouble. In the long run, though, a rebel attitude will help her from letting “life run her over.” She’ll always rise to the occasion and conquer obstacles. “The Daughters” is a new song by country music group Little Big Town. The first time I heard it, I knew exactly what they were singing about. And I’m pretty sure my mom thought I was a little off when I sent it to her to listen to. At first, it might come across that the way little girls are being raised is what drags them down, and that’s a direct reflection on their mothers. However, I got the complete opposite from the song. It’s not about what our moms have taught us. They’re daughters, too, remember; so the song is about them, as well. To me, it’s about what society expects from us. The world wants us to be both things in all situations. (We may have brought some of that on ourselves, but that’s an article for another time.) The second verse is: “Girl, don’t be weak but don’t be strong/ Say what you want, just as long/As you nod your head with your lipstick on.” Those lines speak the most to me. Yes, no one wants us to be weak—but it’s not “right” for us to be strong, either. We have to walk a fine line of independence and dependence. I don’t want Jacey to have to worry about this. If she wants to ask for help, do it—but know deep down that if she needs

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF CALLY SIMPSON

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Written by: Cally Simpson


to get it done on her own, she can. If she gets a certain amount of self-respect for doing something on her own, no matter how tough, then she should do it. Be damned what anyone else thinks. And if she wants to do it with a glittery crown and skirt on, then even better. I know what’s in store for her future and she’ll be one to watch. I’m not sure what she’ll use her powers for but it’ll be worthwhile. I just hope that no matter what, she’ll persist. The song’s chorus says, “Dream for everyone, but not yourself.” And it’s true. Girls get credited all the time for helping others achieve goals and ambitions—so I’m not saying we go unnoticed. But there’s a difference between being known for helping someone else achieve something and achieving your dream. There’s a certain amount of gratification found in being the reason someone’s achieved something—but there’s nothing like seeing your dream unfold. I’m in the middle of watching my dreams come true. They’ve changed over the years and they’ll continue to change and evolve as I do, but every day I get up and get closer to my life’s ambition—whatever that may be at that time. As I live out my dreams, I’ll still be the voice in my little niece’s head, telling her to take that risk. And it will be OK,

because even if she falls, she’s got a ton of hands waiting to catch her, straighten out her crown and stand her back up. Cally Simpson is a mother of a beautiful boy and loves to travel around the state commemorating our history and heritage. Check her blog, callyinwonderland.com.

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WILD FLORIDA

FLORIDA’S WHITE-TAILED DEER MOST POPULAR GAME SPECIES IN THE STATE he white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is found throughout Florida and is important to the state’s ecology and economy. More than 100,000 hunters pursue this hoofed mammal annually. Many people visit areas to view and photograph white-tailed deer. And many outdoorsmen, including myself, spend a lot of time and money pursuing them. When observing and photographing white-tailed deer, it’s evident they are amazing animals. They also provide food for

Above and at right are white-tailed does. They average 95 pounds and measure 32 inches in height at the shoulder.

humans and are important prey to predators such as the endangered Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi). There are four subspecies of deer in the Sunshine State: the Florida white-tailed deer in peninsular Florida, Virginia whitetailed deer in extreme northeast Florida, Florida coastal whitetailed deer in the Panhandle, and the endangered Florida Key deer found in the Florida Keys. Florida deer are generally smaller than those in other states. Does average 95 pounds and measure 32 inches in height at the shoulder. Males average 125 pounds and measure 36 inches at the shoulder. This smaller size enhances survival in the warm climate and low soil fertility. Adult pelage is grayish-brown on the sides and back in winter, and reddish-brown in summer. White is on the belly, throat, under the tail, areas inside the ears and around the muzzle and eyes. Home range for deer includes adequate cover, habitat for breeding and fawning, food and water. Doe home ranges average 500 to 600 acres. Males cover more area during the breeding season (deer rut) in search of females; their home range varies from 750 to 1,600 acres. A buck will mark its territory by rubbing trees with its antlers. It will also leave ground scrapes where both males and females urinate on their back legs’ tarsal glands while rubbing them together. This behavior is called rub-urination

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY WILLIAM R. COX

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Written by: William R. Cox


DEER MOSTLY EAT VEGETATION BUT HAVE BEEN OBSERVED FEEDING ON NESTLING BIRDS AND FISH WASHED UP ON SHORE.

Above, a buck chases a doe during the rut. Breeding season in Florida can vary as much as six months from one region to the next. Below is a fawn in South Florida.

and it conveys dominance and reproductive condition. Deer have many other glands that they use for communication. The breeding season in Florida can vary as much as six months from one region to the next because of mild winters and long growing seasons. For example, in South Florida, a region of high rainfall, the deer rut starts in summer so that birth happens in February or March, the driest time of the year. A doe’s gestation period is approximately 200 days. Males and females reach sexual maturity in 18 months and 6 months, respectively. Females conceive usually in their second year. They are polygamous breeders—males will breed with several females in a breeding season. Deer productivity in Florida is low, averaging 1.0 fawn/pregnant doe to 1.7 fawns/pregnant doe. This low production rate is mostly because of low soil fertility. Deer have excellent hearing, acute sense of smell and a wide field of vision. Despite these survival senses, deer suffer from many types of mortality. Adult mortality is primarily from hunting. Mortality is also caused from poaching, predation, parasites, disease, vehicle collisions, adverse weather (flooding) and malnutrition. Fawns have a higher mortality rate than adults. Mortality from illegal hunting and unretrieved harvest can be considerable.

In Florida, deer feed on almost 200 species of vegetation. More than 40 species on this list are heavily utilized. Saw palmetto berries and acorns are the most important deer foods in the state, but these are available only in autumn. Deer mostly eat vegetation but have been observed feeding on nestling birds and fish washed up on shore. There are many suitable methods for managing habitat for deer. Management is site-specific, but prescribed burning is the best method. Growing season fires during spring and summer mimic natural lightning fires. Spring burns improve forage quality for does and fawns in summer during a time of peak energy requirements during lactation. However, a combination of dormant and growing season prescribed fires provide necessary nutrition for all age classes of males and females. William R. Cox has been working professionally as a wildlife biologist, educator and nature photographer for more than 40 years. His passion is to entertain, inspire and educate others in the beauty of nature and the art of photography. See more of his work on Facebook and on his website, williamrcoxphotography.com. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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PICTURE PERFECT

SUSPENDED IN TIME

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BFF—TODDLER AND HER DOELING

his photo captured a moment with our spunky fifth-born child, Lacy Bay, at age 2, and her favorite alpine dairy goat doeling, Crazy. It was taken with a Canon 500D, by the barn on our small ranch in St. Cloud, Florida. Photography is so important because it captures the people, the animals and the light for a brief moment—which will soon be years past but is suspended in time to enjoy for generations.

SWEET AND SILLY MOMENTS

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SOMETHING OLD, NEW, BORROWED AND BLUE!

’ve always loved photography, but I decided to learn and grow as much as possible after our son was born. This year, I started a photography business called Silly Moose Photography—to help families capture all the sweet and silly moments we all want to hold onto forever. I took this shot with a Nikon D7200 as my “Silly Moose,” my son and business’ namesake, jumped on the back of our Port St. Lucie, Florida, neighbor’s truck for a test shot before their photo session. My website is sillymoosephotography@gmail.com.

Photo by: Bridget Emelianchik

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Photo by: Heidi Mattson


Photo by: JoAnna Coddington

FEELIN’ FOXY LITTLE ONE NAPS AT HOMOSASSA WILDLIFE PARK

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hotography is my passion and career. I live in Homosassa, Florida, and typically photograph people—and love capturing raw emotion and personality. I photograph nature and animals as a hobby. This picture came about while trying out a new 70-200mm lens on my Nikon D5000, during a “mommy and son day” at Homosassa Wildlife Park. I love how it feels so peaceful and serene while this little one naps. Follow me at facebook.com/JoAnnaCoddingtonPhotography/.

FINDING SPLENDOR IN THE WORLD

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GOD’S CREATIONS SURROUND US

am blessed to see the majestic world created by the greatest artist, God. He paints, and I capture and share images of the breathtaking beauty of earth,” explains Diane Suchy of Sparr, Florida, in Marion County. “Photography has taught me to find the splendor in the world around me—and to see the big picture while noticing its small details, angles and light. From east to west, north to south, from sunrise to sunset, God’s creations surround us. This is a photo of sunrise on St. Augustine Beach [Florida],” taken with a Canon EOS 80D.

Photo by: Diane Suchy F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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PICTURE PERFECT

BUSY TRIO

Photo by: Becky Jackman

CAPTURING A MOMENT FOR A LIFETIME

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ngela Kuckes, of McAlpin, Florida, in Suwannee County, entered this photo of her husband, Matt Kuckes—noting it is “capturing a moment for a lifetime.” It was taken on a summer’s day by Becky Jackman, with a Canon EOS 80D, at Jackman Cane & Cattle Company in Clewiston. Matt is on his AQHA mare, Peppys LiL Pepper, and running alongside is his old black mouth cur, Squeak. They’re gathering calves to take to the pens for shipping. Matt had sent the other dogs (not pictured) to bring a calf back that had busted out of the herd.

GATOR GAZE

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LOOKING AT THEIR WORLD FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE

live in Winter Haven, Florida, and I love looking for the beauty in the world and finding wildlife wherever I go. Photography has allowed me to share the treasures our world has to offer with others and to hopefully inspire them to look at their world from a new perspective. This photo was taken in Lakeland with an Olympus E-PL1.

Photo by: Megan Drumheller

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FLORIDA CHARM

A TASTE OF ST. AUGUSTINE’S HISTORY CULINARY ADVENTURE FINDS PERFECT BLEND OF INNOVATION AND INSPIRATION

s Florida history goes, there’s no place that has more of it than St. Augustine. Tucked up in the northeast corner of the state, the city was founded in 1565 by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés—about 50 years after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first charted “La Florida”—“the flowering land.”

of old. Bayfront Marin House traces its history to 1788, when Francisco Marin acquired the house and lot on the west bank of the Matanzas River. In the late 19th century, additional buildings were purchased by Capt. Harry Belknap and moved to the property, combining to make Bayfront Marin House Bed and Breakfast Inn a longstanding landmark.

St. Augustine is North America’s oldest continuously occupied European settlement. For our planned culinary adventure in the city, we figured that the history of the land, combined with

The main house opened for business in 2003. Beachcomber Cottages—four additional beach cottages located on a quiet street in nearby Vilano Beach—were added in the ensuing

a climate producing a fresh bounty of local goods, sets the stage for a perfect blend of innovation and inspiration.

years to complement the impressive group of rooms available.

Research shows that, sure enough, the city’s culinary landscape is rife with restaurants, cafés and bistros offering fare that’s rich, varied and steeped in Florida tradition. We looked forward to a week of discovery—and maybe a little bit of education, too.

Owners Mike and Sandy Wieber ensured that we lacked for nothing on our weeklong stay. Upon arriving and unwinding, we explored our surroundings, breathing in the history of the property and enjoying the cool green grounds of the main house that overlooks the scenic Matanzas River, the Bridge of Lions and beautiful Anastasia Island.

As home base, we chose an award-winning bed and breakfast inn that harkens back to St. Augustine days

Bayfront Marin House is a traditional bed and breakfast inn, offering delicious food options all morning. Guests may

Above from left are Café Alcazar, some of the breakfast options at Bayfront Marin House and delicious choices from Whetstone Chocolates. Below is a magnificent sunset over the Matanzas River.

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TOP PHOTOS FROM LEFT: BY DAVE KELLY; COURTESY OF JUMPING ROCKS PHOTOS; COURTESY OF FLORIDA'S HISTORIC COAST

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Written by: Dave Kelly


choose to dine in the sunny quaint dining room or the lush outside garden area. Either way, attentive staff provide all you need to start your day off right. We opted to stay in the Beachcomber Cottages on Vilano—beachside rooms that are just a quick trip from historic downtown St. Augustine. We chose The Dunes and it provided us with two comfy sleeping areas, a huge tub and shower, kitchenette, shaded outside patio and a breathtaking view of the ocean at our feet.

TOP LEFT PHOTO COURTESY OF JUMPING ROCKS PHOTOS; OTHER TOP PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FLORIDIAN RESTAURANT

Breakfast at the cottages includes the option of a continental breakfast of muffins, juice and croissants delivered to your room or the opportunity to enjoy a hot breakfast at the historic main inn. Throw in a happy hour that includes beer and wine, and a guaranteed parking space for our historic city escapades, and we knew we had chosen well. The St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau suggested some restaurants laced with Florida history, so off we went to explore. First was Aunt Kate’s on Vilano Beach. With a history of more than 100 years of serving up the finest in local seafood, Aunt Kate’s is the epitome of Florida culinary tradition.

In 1900, Standard Oil and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler met Frank and Catherine “Kate” Usina and asked them if they could prepare a meal of roasted local oysters for Flagler and his friends. The Usinas agreed, a hat was passed to pay for the meal—and a new restaurant was born. Usina’s Pavilion specialized in steamed oysters, clam chowder, shrimp, pilau and fried fish for winter guests who came in boats from the mainland. Although the restaurant burned down in 2001, the Usina family rebuilt it, dedicating it to “Aunt Kate” and lining the walls with pictures and artifacts from the past century. Its menu features locally sourced dishes, with a nod toward traditional Florida fare. The blackened fish tacos were a dream. The Low Country Boil—shrimp, clams, mussels, crawfish, crab legs, corn, potatoes, sausage and onion— showcased the best of what the area offers. Next stop on our gastro-tour was The Floridian. Located in the heart of Old Town, The Floridian moved to its new location a year ago in order to provide more room for its growing number of foodie fans. Its goal is deceptively simple—to provide “Innovative Southern Fare for Omnivores, Herbivores and Locavores.”

THE CITY’S CULINARY LANDSCAPE IS RIFE WITH RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS AND BISTROS OFFERING FARE THAT’S RICH, VARIED AND STEEPED IN FLORIDA TRADITION.

Clockwise from above are in-room breakfast pastries at Bayfront Marin House, and the Burrito Fresco and Caesar salad with shrimp at The Floridian, both items featuring local growers' ingredients.

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FLORIDA CHARM

Regionally inspired and fresh from the source, its cuisine is a synthesis of down-home Southern comfort food, and lighter, healthier, vibrant dishes—including many vegetarian options. To that end, the menu changes continuously, focusing on seasonal dishes that feature products from local producers and partners. We had the Burrito Fresco, which is fresh mahi on a whole wheat tortilla with greens and salsa. Blackened shrimp-ngrits was a favorite as well—served over pan-seared polenta cakes topped with salsa and goat’s cheese. The menu lists more than a dozen local farm, fish and artisan partners and encourages eating and thinking locally. The restaurant owners’ commitments inspired chef Emeril Lagasse to feature The Floridian on his “Farm to Table” cooking show. It certainly inspires us as well! In exploring our options to learn more about the food and history of St. Augustine, we came upon a tour company with an awesome concept: Tour St. Augustine has a “Savory Faire Food Tour”—a three-hour experience that allows clients to eat, drink and taste their way through St. Augustine’s history. The tour operator chooses up to six unique culinary venues for the trip, which showcases the delicious foods and fresh flavors of local restaurants, gourmet shops and “off the beaten path” foodie hot spots. We met our fellow tour mates and guide at the main office, mimosas were consumed and then off we went! Each establishment featured custom menus and tastings, all paired with a glass of premium wine or craft beer. At each site, our knowledgeable guide, Pete, explained how culinary heritage from around the world influenced St. Augustine’s history and helped these unique restaurants come into being. We visited a Greek restaurant, Polish deli, boutique bodega replete with specialty olive oils, a unique local wine and craft shop, and Spanish-styled Old City House, with global cuisine and the best empanadas we’ve ever had. We had escargot in Café Alcazar, built in the now-closed coquina shell pool at luxurious Hotel Alcazar, where wealthy tourists vacationed during the Gilded Age. Happily, we’d listened to Pete’s advice

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to “Come hungry, because this tour replaces a meal!” What foodie vacation would be complete without dessert? Whetstone Chocolates was founded by Henry and Esther Whetstone when they opened a small ice cream parlor on St. George Street in Old Town. They added fudge to the repertoire and in 1967 founded Whetstone Chocolate Factory. The couple educated themselves in all things chocolate— Esther creating and testing different chocolate recipes while Henry carved molds for chocolate gators and dolphins. Their reputation grew rapidly and the Whetstones began making specialty chocolate for Hershey, Nestlé’s and Disney. They moved the factory to the outskirts of town and opened daily tours. The fascinating experience features local history, an education in chocolate and some excellent chocolate samples. The historic city of St. Augustine has always been full of historic charm and appeal. We’re glad to report that, in addition, it’s full of historic quaint and locally sourced eateries, too. Dave Kelly is a 45-year resident of Southwest Florida. His travel writing has taken him all over the world, but he always finds his way back to the Florida home that he loves.

ROUNDUP Bayfront Marin House, 142 Avenida Menendez 904-824-4301, BayfrontMarinHouse.com Aunt Kate’s, 612 Euclid Ave. 904-829-1105, Aunt-Kates.com The Floridian, 2 Spanish St. 904-829-0655, TheFloridianStAug.com Tour St. Augustine, 4 Granada St. 904-825-0087, TourStAug.com Whetstone Chocolates, 139 King St. 904-217-0275, WhetstoneChocolates.com

TOP RIGHT AND BOTTOM MIDDLE PHOTOS COURTESY OF JUMPING ROCKS PHOTOS; TOP MIDDLE PHOTO BY DAVE KELLY; BOTTOM RIGHT PHOTO COURTESY OF FLORIDA'S HISTORIC COAST

Clockwise from right are the front porch at Bayfront Marin House, The Dunes at Beachcomber Cottages, St. Augustine's historic Bridge of Lions, view of the Matanzas River from Bayfront Marin House, and St. Augustine Beach.


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TRUCKS & TOYS

‘MY ANGELS ARE FAST’ UP-AND-COMING RACER CAROLYN WILLIAMS IS THE ONE TO WATCH iming. In life it helps, but in racing, it’s everything.

Stepping to the line in your machine—land, sea or air—and it’s that DNA flicker of red-hot molecules that routes from your brain, along the spine, through your fire-retardant suit and to your foot, coordinating with your eyes and that special juice only your heart possesses. You hum in sync with an oxygen-inhaling motor crouched like a jungle animal. Then the green light and like that you’re off, in the extreme covering the length of a football field in about 1 second. Pinned by the natural forces of gravity, you only grip, steer and enjoy the surge. With the G-forces, you couldn’t reach a photo of your mom taped to the dash if her secret recipe was at stake, you go that fast. Dirt from your boggers lifts skyward and the sound is of a pitched mechanical scream. That rush compels people to spend wild money to have it. Racing is the extra part some get at the God factory. Or at least the competing thing. There is no possible feeling like

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it, and the driver’s goal is to whip back and do it over. In Carolyn Williams’ case, to stomp the gas in her mud/dirt/sand racer named On Tilt and whisk along in a power-glide, big-block Ford for 200 feet in under 3 seconds. “Results,” the great Top Fuel racer Shirley Muldowney has said, “are what matter.” And in less than a year of racing, Carolyn Williams, along with her husband, Mike, is getting results, beating others in their truck, On Tilt, as dirt venues such as Florida Tracks and Trails in Punta Gorda, Florida. The team’s goal is to expand On Tilt’s footprint to other Florida sand/mud/dirt tracks such as The Farm, which is also in Punta Gorda and owned by the family of NASCAR driver Chad Chastain. Then the team hopes to push into the southeastern race circuit in West Palm Beach, Florida, and then other hotspots in Georgia, for instance, to discover if they’re a fluke—the edge being the Williamses—Mike’s mind, Carolyn not much over 100 pounds and super competitive in an exceptional vehicle, she says. They’ll learn as they get around more in late summer.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY JESS PAGLIARO OF MUDDY MAMA PHOTOGRAPHY

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Written by: Jack Collier


In less than a year of racing their truck, On Tilt, Carolyn Williams, along with her husband, Mike, is getting results.

“I think we’re just getting started,” says Mike Williams, a self-made construction company owner and lifelong motorhead in North Fort Myers, Florida. He glances at his wife, sleek as a California seal with a dancer’s lean physique this morning in black race pants, a black muscle tee and patting the top of On Tilt as if it is a family dog. Her white race helmet rests inches away. “My baby,” she says of the modified 545-cubic-inch Ford motor that with nitrous can generate about 700 horses. Mike Williams’ racing passion dates back for most of his 38 years. His friends do it, most everyone inside his circle. So, you drag the wife along. But Carolyn Williams wasn’t about spectating—she wanted in the driver’s seat. It’s in her nature, she says, a competitive dancer/ former studio owner with a history in motorsports

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TRUCKS & TOYS Of motorsport racing, Carolyn Williams says, "I've always had the bug."

in rural Pine Island, Florida, an idyllic village still fished commercially, its people with their water and four-wheeler toys. In heartland Florida, these folks are crackers, along isolated coastal communities they’re rednecks, Carolyn says, her smile quick. “I've always had the bug," she says of motorsport racing.

And On Tilt comes alive, its motor with a loping cam that when goosed reorders your blood cell sequencing and wakes the devil in hell. There’s something about a powerful motor, an awe for the cowgirl/cowboy driver on its back. It never gets old. But while motorsport is exciting and not all that athletic, there are consequences for screwing it up. So, Carolyn Williams on race days packs a pocket rosary, feels the beads in that lightning flash of beautiful timing when the transmission engages, she stomps on the gas and On Tilt rockets down the sand track. “It keeps me straight,” she says of the rosary, “and it works. My angels are fast.” Jack Collier is editorial director of Florida Country Magazine.

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PHOTO BY JESS PAGLIARO OF MUDDY MAMA PHOTOGRAPHY

Because she’s between seasons, Carolyn Williams, who is 33, can show off only in the yard of the couple’s home in North Fort Myers. The morning is just hours old, the day’s thermometer set for about 95. It’ll get toasty. But urged and without thoughts of anything but “her baby,” she slithers through the driver’s window, toggles things and hits the ignition.


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STARS & GUITARS presented by

6TH ANNUAL ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITER FEST

An award-winning festival, it features more than 70 songwriters during the 10 days of live music. New in 2019 is an event showcasing a country music star and Gulf Coast Symphony: Kristian Bush, half of the multi-platinum-selling country duo Sugarland, performs Sept. 22 with the symphony at Florida Repertory Theatre in downtown Fort Myers. The collaboration between Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Bush, and the symphony— celebrating its 25th anniversary—is a “must see” experience. “We’re excited to showcase our community’s outstanding Gulf Coast Symphony with the star power and talent of Kristian Bush,” says Tamara Pigott, executive director of Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “This addition to this year’s Island Hopper lineup is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime performance’—not to be missed,” she adds. Other artists include Clint Daniels, who co-wrote the hit song “Some of It” (sung by Eric Church). Daniels will perform on Captiva. Also, this year brings unique songwriter experiences—such as house parties, pool parties, a dinner and wine pairing, and a songwriting workshop.

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS “Each year, we pack more fun into the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest experience,” Pigott explains. “This festival gives the audience a unique opportunity to hear the stories behind the songs—in small, intimate venues. It gives the songwriters a platform to meet other artists and enjoy getting to know their fans.”

Kristian Bush

Notable new acts also include Sam Williams, 21-year-old grandson of the legendary Hank Williams, and Sawyer Fredericks, the Season 8 winner of NBC’s “The Voice.” They will both perform on Captiva. Festival alums Aaron Barker and Even Stevens will return this year. Barker has written the most No. 1 songs for George Strait, including “Love Without End, Amen.” Stevens’ songwriting career includes the chart-topper “I Love a Rainy Night,” made famous by the late Eddie Rabbitt. Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is produced by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, iHeartMedia, Cat Country 107.1 and BMI, the largest music rights organization in the U.S. For more information, visit island-hopper. fortmyers-sanibel.com. Festival details and ticket prices are also available on the Island Hopper mobile app. Follow the festival hashtag #islandhopperfest as well as the event’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds.

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Stay tuned for upcoming announcements on performers and check out the app for updates. Or download the official Island Hopper Fest Radio channel from iHeartMedia by going to island-hopper.fortmyers-sanibel.com.

BOTTOM PHOTO COURTESY OF CLINT DANIELS; TOP PHOTO BY BEN ROLLINS

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he 6th annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest returns to Southwest Florida in September with show-stopping performances in tropical beach settings, offering more than 100—mostly free—acts. The festival kicks off on Captiva from Sept. 20 through Sept. 22. It moves to historic downtown Fort Myers from Sept. 23 through Sept. 26, and ends at Fort Myers Beach from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29. There will be a limited number of ticketed events for special performances.


PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY GEARING

Ashley Gearing

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STARS & GUITARS

TRACING THE GROWTH OF ‘AMERICA’S MUSIC’ COUNTRY MUSIC WILL GAIN EVEN MORE FANS AFTER BURNS’ FILM PREMIERES

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nce there were encyclopedias. Now there’s Ken Burns. The reigning monarch of the documentary—responsible for the definitive modern entries on the Civil War, baseball, jazz, the Roosevelts, and the Vietnam War—has most recently turned his attention to country music. His eight-part, 16-hour documentary, “Country Music,” airs beginning Sept. 15, 2019, on PBS stations everywhere, including WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida. It explores crucial questions: “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from?”

The answers are both biographical and historical. And the gang’s all here—from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills—to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many, many more. “Country Music” is a journey through the early days, from southern Appalachia’s songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith to the western swing of Texas, and to California’s honkytonks and Nashville, Tennessee’s Grand Ole Opry. The film follows the evolution of country music during the course of

A scene from the documentary shows Johnny Cash at his home in California in 1960.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY MUSIC

Written by: Dayna Harpster


TOP PHOTOS COURTESY OF JARED AMES; BOTTOM LEFT COURTESY OF ED CLARK COLLECTION; BOTTOM RIGHT COURTESY OF LES LEVERETT COLLECTION

Above, Dwight Yoakam and Loretta Lynn are among the 76 of the 101 country music artists interviewed for the series who signed two Martin D-28 guitars. Below are photos of Minnie Pearl performing in 1945, and Hank Williams in 1948.

THE EIGHT-PART, 16-HOUR DOCUMENTARY, “COUNTRY MUSIC,” AIRS BEGINNING SEPT. 15, 2019, ON PBS STATIONS EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING WGCU.

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STARS & GUITARS

Patsy Cline performs in 1961, wearing a hand-embroidered cowgirl dress that was made by her mother.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF LES LEVERETT

IT EXPLORES CRUCIAL QUESTIONS: “WHAT IS COUNTRY MUSIC?” AND “WHERE DID IT COME FROM?” THE ANSWERS ARE BOTH BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL.


Above is a circa-1960 image of the Grand Ole Opry at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. At right, Charley Pride signs one of the two Martin D-28 guitars.

LEFT PHOTO COURTESY OF LES LEVERETT; RIGHT PHOTO COURTESY OF CRAIG MELLISH

the 20th century as it eventually emerges to become what many consider to be “America’s music.”

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More information is available at wgcu.org. Be sure to tune in to the station at 8 p.m. on Sept. 15, 16, 17, 18 and on Sept. 22, 23, 24 and 25, for the following eight episodes:

Country music reflects a changing America, with Loretta Lynn speaking to women everywhere, Merle Haggard becoming “The Poet of the Common Man” and audiences looking beyond race to embrace Charley Pride.

What was first called “hillbilly music” reaches new audiences through phonographs and radio, and launches the careers of country music’s first big stars—the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.

Country music responds to a nation divided by Vietnam, as Army captain/songwriter Kris Kristofferson sets a new lyrical standard. And artists like Bob Dylan and the Byrds find a recording home in Nashville.

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a vibrant era in country music, with Dolly 2 Nashville becomes the heart of the country music industry. 7PartonWitness finding mainstream success; Hank Williams Jr.

The genre grows in popularity during the Great Depression and World War II, as America falls in love with singing cowboys, Texas Swing and the Grand Ole Opry’s Roy Acuff.

3 The bluegrass sound spreads in post-war America. And meet

honky-tonk star Hank Williams, whose songs of surprising emotional depth are derived from his troubled and tragically short life.

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In Memphis, Tennessee, Sun Studios artists Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley usher in the era of rockabilly. Ray Charles crosses America’s racial divide by recording a country album. Patsy Cline shows off Music City’s smooth new “Nashville Sound.”

and Rosanne Cash emerging from their famous fathers’ shadows; and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings launching the “Outlaw” movement.

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“New Traditionalists” such as George Strait, Randy Travis and the Judds help country music stay true to its roots. Witness the rise of superstar Garth Brooks and the return of an aging Johnny Cash to the industry he helped create. Dayna Harpster is a writer living in Southwest Florida. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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THE CULINARY CRACKER

WHIPPING IT UP IN YOUR KITCHEN INGREDIENTS 1-pound loaf frozen bread dough 2 tablespoons butter, melted ⅔ cup brown sugar ½ cup chopped walnuts 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream ⅔ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon milk Dash vanilla extract PREPARATION Lightly grease 2 round cake pans with butter. Roll out bread dough to 18x6-inch rectangle and brush with melted butter. Mix brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over dough. Roll dough into a log. To seal edge of log, moisten with water. Cut log into 20 slices. Arrange rolls in cake pans with cut sides down. Cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1½ hours or until volume has doubled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour heavy cream over dough in cake pans. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Stir confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls.

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Every issue of Florida Country Magazine is filled with easy, delicious and seasonal recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

CINNAMON ROLLS Serves 20


INGREDIENTS 2 cups fresh blackberries 1 cup plain yogurt 1 cup apple juice ¼ cup honey 1 large banana PREPARATION in a Combine all ingredients ve. Ser th. oo sm til blender un

BLACKBERRY SMOOTHIE Serves 3

HAM & CHEESE EGG MUFFINS Yields 6

INGREDIENTS 6 eggs and ½ cup chopped red peppers green onions ¼ cup milk r 4 ounces shredded chedda cheese Salt and pepper to taste PREPARATION es. Preheat oven to 350 degre king Spray muffin tin with coo and s egg spray. Whisk together nces ou 2 milk until fluffy. Stir in t sal s, cheese, peppers, onion xture and pepper. Divide egg mi s. tin evenly between 6 muffin er ov e ees Sprinkle remaining ch s egg til each filled cup. Bake un . tes nu are set, about 25-30 mi Cool slightly and serve.

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THE CULINARY CRACKER

BANANAS FOSTER FRENCH TOAST Serves 8

INGREDIENTS 8 thick white-bread slices 4 eggs h Vanilla ⅔ cup Coffee-mate Frenc creamer mon ½ teaspoon ground cinna eg ½ teaspoon ground nutm d ide 4 tablespoons butter, div 2½ cups real maple syrup 1 teaspoon rum extract sswise and 6 ripe bananas, halved cro lengthwise 1 cup chopped pecans

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PREPARATION mon er eggs, Coffee-mate, cinna In small bowl, whisk togeth over r tte bu s t, melt 2 tablespoon and nutmeg. In large skille re, xtu mi slices of bread in egg medium-high heat. Dip 4 Cook bread slices in hot skillet. coating both sides. Place at with pe Re . til lightly browned 2-3 minutes per side or un p warm. kee d ad slices. Set aside an remaining butter and bre ing to Br s. can maple syrup and pe In large skillet, combine r for me sim d heat. Reduce heat an a boil over medium-high th wi at Co t. lves and rum extrac 2 minutes. Add banana ha up syr na na ba 1 minute. Spoon syrup mixture. Simmer for Serve immediately. mixture over French toast.


INGREDIENTS 2 eggs 4 slices thick bacon 2 sausage patties 2 slices cheddar chee se PREPARATION Cook bacon. Remov e bacon from pan and cook sausage in same pan with ba con grease. Remove saus age. Cook eggs the way you like them. Toast bagels. Build each bagel sandwich with 1 slice cheese, sausag e, 2 slices bacon and egg. Enjo y!

ULTIMATE BAGEL SANDWICH Serves 2

INGREDIENTS 2 eggs 2 slices whole-grain bread 1 large avocado ⅛ teaspoon sea salt pepper ⅛ teaspoon ground black

AVOCADO TOAST WITH SOFTBOILED EGG Serves 2

PREPARATION water to boil over For soft-boiled eggs, bring hen water rapidly high heat in saucepan. W m-high. Put eggs diu simmers, lower it to me on, 1 at a time. Cook in water with slotted spo place into ice bath 6½ minutes. Remove eggs, ast bread slices for 2 minutes. Peel eggs. To , mash avocado wl and set aside. In small bo Sprinkle st. toa and spread evenly over pepper. Place 1 d an t avocado spread with sal st and gently slice egg over each piece of toa open, covering toast. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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Profile for Florida Country Magazine

Florida Country Magazine - August / September 2019  

Florida, a state that is known for its sunshine and beaches, when there is so much more to this magnificent land. Florida Country Magazine...

Florida Country Magazine - August / September 2019  

Florida, a state that is known for its sunshine and beaches, when there is so much more to this magnificent land. Florida Country Magazine...