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FEATURES

ON THE COVER: Gravedigger's Sapphire is an incredible Speed Racking foal sired by The Gravedigger. Photo taken by Lisa McCoy. Learn more about the breed on page 18.

FLORIDA COUNTRY MAGAZINE / ISSUE VOL. 3 • NO. 5

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The Versatile Johnson Family of Fort Pierce & Okeechobee Multiple Generations of Citrus Growers, Cattle Ranchers

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A Portrait of ‘Mr. Mike’ Rastelli

From Military Maps to Rodeos ... What a Journey! 2

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DEPARTMENTS FLORIDA COUNTRY MAGAZINE / ISSUE VOL. 3 • NO. 5

FCM CIRCLE

PICTURE PERFECT

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page 53

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER

AT FAWN’S EARLY LIGHT

COUNTRY ARTISTRY

COUNTRY PLEASURES

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FLORIDA’S VERY OWN WESTERN ARTIST

page 53

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TOUGH BUT SOFT

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FLORIDA 4-H DELIGHTFUL DAIRY GOATS

BEST FRIENDS

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HORSIN' AROUND

SPEED RACKING HORSES NOT YOUR AVERAGE GAITED HORSE

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FLORIDA MEMORIES SENATE BILL 34 CHANGED FLORIDA’S LANDSCAPE FOREVER

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JOIN THE ‘3 UP 1 DOWN’ NATION!

TURPENTINE NOW A DISTANT FLORIDA MEMORY

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FLORIDA HARVEST

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SWALLOW-TAILED KITE OF FLORIDA

HARVESTING SATSUMAS AT FLORIDA GEORGIA CITRUS

COUNTRY CALIBER GOD, GATORS AND GLORY

WILD FLORIDA

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READER APPRECIATION #FLORIDACOUNTRY

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page 64

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FROM BIBLE BELT TO CORN BELT

FLORIDA CHARM

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LABELLE DOWNTOWN CELEBRATES 5 YEARS

ON TOP OF IT ALL

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FLORIDA EXCURSIONS

LOVIN’ MY RIDE

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MY RIDE

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NORTH FLORIDA’S HARD LABOR CREEK

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TANK AMERICA

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THE CULINARY CRACKER

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WHIPPING IT UP IN YOUR KITCHEN

PICTURE PERFECT

A STEP BACK IN TIME

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TELLING TALES

PUSHING SUNRISE

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CROSSWORD

PLENTY TO SEE AND DO AT MIAMI’S MONKEY JUNGLE

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STARS & GUITARS

MEET JUSTIN MOORE

CHAMPAGNE COWS

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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 Brian Stromlund Director of Photography Marsay Johnson Proofreader Katherine Waters Sales Associate Angie Harrell Contributing Writers Forrest Boone, Kelly Boone, Jack Collier, Jon Clendenin II, William R. Cox, Christopher Decubellis, Ava Grace, Kathy Ann Gregg, Rouse Holzwart, Katey McClenny, Wendy McMullen Featured Photographers Adam Bass, Jon Clendenin II, William R. Cox, Sara Craft, Michele Felumlee, Bonnie Gearhart, Amber Godwin, Kathy Ann Gregg, Alice Mary Herden, Sherry Hilton, Dave Kelly, Lisa McCoy, Kathy Porupski, Stacy Prato, Mike Rastelli, Beverly Thomas, Cody Villalobos 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

A GREAT COLLABORATION

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ne thing I’ve always been impressed with is the loyalty of Florida Country Magazine’s readers. Whether purchasing from our advertisers, sharing posts, entering contests, writing letters, contributing to articles, leaving comments—you’re the best.

of a little girl with her “best friend,” Miss Cluckerson, who is a chicken; a shot of a “tough girl,” but the lens sees a softer side; and a true Florida girl eating some Florida watermelon. See the winning photos in our Picture Perfect department (page 52).

We run a lot of contests, but one that has taken on a life of its own is Florida Country’s photography contest. We run it every other month on Facebook, and boy, is it a hit! If you’re not familiar with the contest, you’ve been “living under a rock” and really missing out on some great Florida moments and great “country kids”!

Florida Country reader Ramden Shell, from Indian Harbour, sent in a random photo (Ramden, random— say that 10 times!) of him reading the magazine while on his break. Not only did the photo touch my heart, he inspired our new Reader Appreciation department. I’m talking Florida cowboys, big trucks, relaxing at home, kids, alligators and deer, oh my!

There are so many talented people out there, from beginners to professionals. Our contest began about three years ago with just a couple of entries and today it’s in the hundreds. I used to pick only one photo. Now that the contest has grown so much, I try to pick at least six—from the best Florida photos to the best “country kid” photos.

I can’t wait to see more Reader Appreciation photos and then share them with you in our next issue. It’s easy: Just take a photo that has a copy of Florida Country Magazine located in the image, and send it in. Follow the instructions and see the terrific photos that I’m talking about (page 64).

It’s a tough job, but I love photography and being able to include the images among our pages. Many of the photos are perfect examples of “being in the right place at the right time.” Others conjure up memories that readers treasure for a lifetime.

I’d also like to welcome Jon Clendenin II, a reader who is now one of our photographers and writers. That’s another great thing about our photo contest—making relationships through images. You never know who is behind the camera; Jon is a wild character and will bring even more to our pages! Take a look at his first Florida Country Magazine article—about a gator hunt for veterans (page 26).

Adam Bass’s photo shows Matt Pearce, new president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, out in his environment pushing a herd to the cow pens (page 52). And speaking about being in the right place, check out Kathy Porupski’s photo, “At Fawn’s Early Light.” It’s a result of her camping trip at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota (page 53). This issue also features a photo of a beloved coonhound at a historical cabin in Baker’s County; a priceless image

Another reader-inspired change is our website: floridacountrymagazine.com. Now you can visit it and get everything in one place. Read the magazine, get a subscription, watch live webcams from around our state and other states, print grocery lists from your favorite recipe or check out our new “Rising Stars of Country Music”—which helps some fantastic musicians get more recognition. In my eyes, there’s no better roundtable than having readers give input and interact with our magazine. I worked at other publications before going out on my own—and I’ve never seen such a collaboration between the two. Florida Country and I want to say, “Thank you!” And “reader appreciation” goes way further than two pages in a magazine. Without your picking up hard copies at our distribution points, subscribing or reading our digital magazine, we wouldn’t be “120,000 strong and growing” loyal readers. Thank you again for being a part of our journey and keep it coming—I love it! SCARLETT REDENIUS, Publisher

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COUNTRY ARTISTRY

FLORIDA’S VERY OWN WESTERN ARTIST TARA RADOSEVICH RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION Written by: Kathy Ann Gregg

She would also tell people that when she was grown, she wanted to be an artist AND a cowgirl! The acclaimed western artwork of this 2013 graduate of the University of South Florida, where Radosevich earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, is fueled by her love of animals and the American West. Radosevich’s main art mediums of choice are acrylic paint and graphite pencil. She explains that she thinks acrylics offer more versatility, as well as being fast-drying. And Radosevich loves using graphite pencils for the rich deep values that can be achieved with them. This talented young lady believes that her artistic process is what has made her successful: She works in layers, starting with light to dark values, then mid-tones, and lastly adds the brightest highlights. Especially when dealing with the anatomy of an animal, the process that Radosevich goes through is one of additions and subtractions—until reaching the realism she seeks. “I like

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to paint an animal from the bare bones, to the muscle, to the skin and fur that you see on the outside, so that the viewer gets that sense of realism and illusion of depth,” she notes. Travels and experiences in New Mexico and Arizona, and in Texas and Montana, have been the basis of Radosevich’s inspirations, along with attending rodeos in her home state of Florida. She particularly enjoys going to the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo, and has painted the pick-up men. To enhance her creative process, Radosevich brings nature into her studio. Items such as skulls, fur, teeth and antlers are used in her studies of animal anatomy. Recently, Radosevich has received attention nationwide. In September of 2018, she was featured in Southwest Art magazine, in its article titled “21 Under 31: Young Artists to Watch in 2018.” That was followed by the May/June 2019 issue of Cowboys & Indians magazine, as a “Fascinating Figure” in its “Best of The West” feature article. But Florida proudly gets to claim this gifted artist: Radosevich resides in St. Petersburg and maintains her art studio in Pinellas Park. She accepts commissions for portraits of horses and pets—and rodeo portraits, too—as long as there’s a horse or a bull in it! Radosevich states, “Through this striving for technical realism, the intent of my work runs much deeper—to

PHOTOS AND ARTWORK ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF TARA RADOSEVICH

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ven as a little girl, drawing animals and creating pictures from her imagination was as normal as breathing for Tara Radosevich. She fondly remembers a drawing she made, with markers and colored pencils, of a big red barn surrounded by farm animals. Radosevich gave it to her father, and then asked him to buy her a farm when she grew up.


Travels and experiences in New Mexico and Arizona, and in Texas and Montana, have been the basis of Radosevich’s inspirations, along with attending rodeos in her home state of Florida.

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COUNTRY ARTISTRY THE ACCLAIMED WESTERN ARTWORK of this 2013 graduate of the University of South Florida, where Radosevich earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, is fueled by her love of animals and the American West.

express the living essence and powerful magnetism of my subjects. I seek the sublime.� It sure looks like she has reached that goal!

ROUNDUP tararadosevich.com/home Facebook: facebook.com/ tararadosevichwildlifeartist Instagram: @tararadosevich

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PHOTO AND ARTWORK COURTESY OF TARA RADOSEVICH

Kathy Ann Gregg is a Florida writer and photographer, specializing in all things rodeo and equine. She is proud to have introduced her friend Tara Radosevich to Florida working cowboys and their ranch rodeo competitions.


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FLORIDA 4-H

DELIGHTFUL DAIRY GOATS AMAZING ANIMALS PROVIDE DELICIOUS MILK, OTHER QUALITY PRODUCTS

any rural Floridians are like me and enjoy the sense of accomplishment and freedom of growing one’s food and keeping livestock. Research suggests that gardening and caring for livestock is good exercise; it’s good for my mental health, too. Although it’s a lot of work, it can also be quite fun! Floridians can grow a garden or a few fruit trees in small yards. But people interested in keeping animals typically need at least a few acres. For those without much land, keeping goats is an option. They’re excellent animals for youth to help care for—children as young as age 8 can raise and exhibit dairy and meat goats as 4-H projects. This article focuses on dairy goats; in the next issue of Florida Country Magazine, I’ll discuss meat goats.

Dairy goats include breeds that have been selected over the years to produce a larger amount of milk, such as Nubian, La Mancha, Alpine, Toggenburg, Saanen, Sable and Oberhasli. Some people also milk the smaller Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy breeds. The does of these breeds will typically give birth to one to three (sometimes four) kids per year, and will then produce milk. Many people enjoy goat milk; it makes excellent cheese and even products such as soap. Before buying a goat, people need to think about their goals and what facilities and care are required. If the goal is a pet goat, breed or production history might not be important. To be competitive in the show ring, purchase a registered animal whose pedigree includes production records. Youth and adults can show goats in fairs and shows throughout Florida. Many shows are sponsored by local fairs, regional fairs and the Florida State Fair, and also through the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) and the Florida Dairy Goat Association (FDGA). The size of land a goat requires depends on several factors, including how much of its diet is from pasture. Goats are browsers and will eat grass, leaves and even tree bark if they don’t have access to other feed.

At left, this 4-H member is proud of the accomplishments of her Oberhasli doe in the show ring. Above are two La Mancha kids.

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF UF/IFAS AND COURTNEY QUIRIE

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Written by: Christopher Decubellis


KEEPING GOATS FOR MILK IS A BIG COMMITMENT— MOST ARE MILKED TWICE DAILY. La Mancha does, like the one at left, are often fan favorites, particularly because of their small ears.

Goats can be kept on a lush pasture, which would provide a large portion of necessary nutrients. They can be kept in a paddock or barn if sufficient feed and highquality forages are provided to meet daily nutritional needs. Goats require a dog/coyote-proof woven-wire fence and a well-ventilated shelter, and constant access to fresh, clean water. People interested in milking a goat may want to purchase an animal (from a reputable breeder) that has already had at least one lactation, or is entering her first lactation. Keeping goats for milk is a big commitment—most are milked twice daily.

Milk and goats need to be handled in a way to ensure healthy animals and a safe food product. This involves sanitation before, during and after milking; pasteurizing is highly recommended. Sanitizing equipment is of utmost importance. Best practices include pre-dipping with commercial iodine or chlorine solution before milking; washing and drying the udder and teats before milking; stripping the teats and inspecting for potential problems. Post-milk dipping of the teats in a teat dip solution helps prevent mastitis.

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FLORIDA 4-H

Does require regular deworming and other preventative measures. They can be milked by hand or machine—the machines also need care and cleaning. It’s easiest to milk a docile doe that is contently chewing on her feed. If going away, owners need to find temporary help.

level youth and open shows allow young people to show their animals in multiple shows. There’s a dairy goat judging contest at the Florida State Fair, and 4-H members can compete in speech/demonstration/illustrated talk contests related to their dairy goat project.

Owners also have to care for the doe’s kids, which need milk until they are weaned. Kids require dehorning/ disbudding, ID tattooing, vaccinating and deworming; most owners castrate young bucks. All goats require regular hoof trimming—a chore that becomes easier with practice. Developing relationships with a large-animal vet, a friend who’s experienced in caring for goats, or an FDGA/ADGA mentor, helps goat owners navigate situations as they arise.

Goats are amazing animals that can provide delicious milk and other high-quality products for owners willing to adequately care for them. And some goats can be quite endearing—much to the delight of their caretakers, who enjoy their company and utility.

There are many opportunities for young people in 4-H who are interested in caring for and showing goats. Many state-

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.

ROUNDUP For more info, UF/IFAS Extension Offices offer these publications: florida4h.org/programs/Goat.pdf milkproduction.com/Global/PDFs/ Bestmanagementpractices fordairygoatfarmers.pdf extension.psu.edu/dairy-goat-production cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/ em4894/em4894.pdf

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF UF/IFAS AND COURTNEY QUIRIE

At left, a young lady learns to milk a goat. Many adults are happy to share their expertise with 4-H youth. Above and at right, adults also often enjoy exhibiting dairy goats in open shows.


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HORSIN' AROUND

SPEED RACKING HORSES NOT YOUR AVERAGE GAITED HORSE FEW IN FLORIDA—BUT THAT WILL CHANGE ONCE THE SECRET GETS OUT! Written by: Kym Rouse Holzwart

From left are Cupid's Smokin' Scarlett, exhibited by the gifted Alyssa Kennedy; a Speed Racking Horse showing its natural ability to single-foot smoothly and consistently; a race held just for the breed; and Jigalo's Zigzag, one of Hudson, Florida-based Spotted Haven Farm's stallions trained and shown by Johnny McKeehan.

The ancestors of the Racking Horse were first bred on Southern plantations before the Civil War, according to Storey’s Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America, by Judith Dutson. They were popular because they were calm, friendly, intelligent and could be ridden comfortably for hours because of their smooth, natural gait. Their development was often linked to Tennessee Walking Horses. The rack/single-foot is similar to the Tennessee Walking Horse’s running walk, but with more collection and no head nod. In 1971, Racking Horses were recognized as a separate breed from Tennessee Walking Horses. The Racking Horse Breeders Association of America, or RHBAA, was started in Decatur, Alabama, to establish a registry and to preserve the breed in a natural state with no artificial gait-enhancing devices. Many notable Racking Horses are also registered Tennessee Walking Horses or are crosses between the two breeds. In Colonial America, Speed Racking Horses were developed at the same time as other gaited breeds as a result of

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careful, selective breeding that involved crosses from different gaited breeds that had the racking/single-foot gait. The breeding stock included Standardbreds, American Saddlebreds and other gaited breeds, with some influence from Spanish bloodlines. In the South, these exceptional gaited horses have been treasured since Colonial times, and several distinct lines of Speed Racking Horses have been produced. Within the RHBAA, the Speed Racking Association promotes the breed and provides performance guidelines and education. In the show ring, these horses must perform the three gaits of a Racking Horse and, at no time, lose form while performing the speed rack. Since Standardbreds are bred for speed, Speed Racking Horses typically have Standardbred blood in their pedigrees. The best Speed Racking Horses are often crosses of Standardbreds and gaited horse breeds, typically Tennessee Walking Horses or American Saddlebreds, but sometimes other gaited breeds. For example, one of the foundation Speed Racking Horse stallions, EZD’s Falcon Rowdy, was a cross between a Standardbred trotter and a “Mountain Pony” mare. This legendary dappled-buckskin champion produced hundreds of incredible foals; many of his sons and grandsons are outstanding Speed Racking Horse breeding stallions today. While racing Standardbreds are bred to trot or pace, most are also gaited and can develop into outstanding Speed Racking Horses. The Virginia Undertaker, a Standardbred, is a champion Speed Racking Horse that has sired many

LEFT AND RIGHT PHOTOS BY LISA MCCOY; OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALYSSA KENNEDY

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hether you call them Speed Racking Horses or Single-Footing Horses, these special horses are not your average gaited horse. Single-Footing, an oldtime word for Racking, refers to only one foot striking the ground at a time. What makes Speed Racking Horses so unique is their broad speed range and natural ability to rack smoothly and consistently from a slow gait up to their racing gait, which can range from 20 to 30 miles per hour.


BOTTOM PHOTO BY ALICE MARY HERDEN; OTHER PHOTOS BY LISA MCCOY

Below are John and Kym Rouse Holzwart, owners of Spotted Dance Ranch in Brooksville, Florida, with Pusher's Hoodoo and her foal, Spirit of Gravedigger. Clockwise from above left are The Gravedigger, a champion stallion; a young Speed Racking Horse; and another photo of The Gravedigger.

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HORSIN' AROUND outstanding Speed Rackers. (The Gravedigger, out of a Tennessee Walking Horse mare, is probably his most famous son.) This amazing stallion stands at Spotted Haven Walking Horse Farm in Hudson, Florida, and has sired almost 200 foals. Watching this champion stallion in a Florida show ring is a jaw-dropping experience. Speed Racking Horses descend from horses bred to work, trail ride and drive. They are also shown in Racking and Speed Racking classes offered in many gaited horse shows. The two largest shows for Racking Horses, the Spring Celebration in April and the World Celebration in September, are held every year in Priceville, Alabama. Both include classes for Speed Racking Horses. There are also annual Speed Racking Horse events held in the South, such as in Tennessee, that include trail rides and races. Registries for Speed Racking Horses, including the RHBAA and the Single-Footing Horse Owners’ & Breeders’ Association, are open. Therefore, they come in all colors, shapes, sizes and bloodlines. The most important factor for registration is the even, four-beat gait, which must be performed naturally without aids at a wide range of speed. Temperament and confirmation are also important considerations in Speed Racking Horse registries.

is sure to change. Spotted Dance Ranch in Brooksville has been breeding its high-quality Spotted Saddle Horse/ Tennessee Walking Horse mares to The Gravedigger for the past few years—with incredible results. Its breeding program is producing gorgeous spotted horses that can rack at a range of speeds; are calm, intelligent, friendly and versatile; and will excel in the show ring or on the trail. Kym Rouse Holzwart is a multi-generational native Floridian, an ecologist, co-proprietor of Spotted Dance Ranch, and has been a free-lance and technical writer for more than 30 years.

PHOTO BY ALICE MARY HERDEN

There are not many Speed Racking Horses in Florida, but once the secret gets out about these special horses, that

Gravedigger's Sapphire frolics near her mother, Allen's Cash Reward, at Spotted Dance Ranch.

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HORSIN' AROUND

JOIN THE ‘3 UP 1 DOWN’ NATION! SINGING THE PRAISES OF SPEED RACKING HORSES

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Written by: Kym Rouse Holzwart

hanks to Greg Roberts—also known as Nitty Gritty GR—Speed Racking Horses have an official theme song or anthem! The song is called “3 Up 1 Down,” a perfect title, referring to the racking gait in which only one foot strikes the ground at a time. The song, as well as the later-released video, has been embraced by the horse community, has gone viral and has grabbed the attention of many major recording artists. Recently, the song won an award for Indie Music Video of the Year in Nashville and is played on independent radio stations. Roberts was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and currently resides in Somerville, Tennessee. He’s been performing hip hop music since an early age. When Roberts was introduced to Speed Racking Horses, he knew he needed to learn more about them! He now owns and trains Speed Racking Horses and is very involved in that community. “3 Up 1 Down” was developed in collaboration with Anthony “Dulaa” Holmes. Roberts wanted to put his passion for Speed Racking Horses into every word of the song; his goal was to educate people about the horses and to make riding them “cool.” The song has inspired a lot of people and has changed Roberts’ life. For the past couple years, he’s performed at many Speed Racking Horse and gaited horse shows and events, as well as in other venues—throughout the country—and he’s in high demand.

PHOTO BY SHERRY HILTON

Roberts recently released a second song and video, titled “Break Out the Big Guns,” again in collaboration with Dulaa. The new song furthers his goal of introducing Speed Racking Horses and gaited horses to the world—and bringing people together. In addition, Roberts “wants to give horse people some music to listen to.” “Break Out the Big Guns” was nominated for Josie Music Awards in the following categories for 2019: Artist of the Year for Hip Hop/Rap, Artist of the Year for Outlaw Country, Song of the Year for Outlaw Country, and Fan’s Choice. The awards are for independent recording artists, with the 5th annual awards celebration slated for September at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Hip hop artist Greg Roberts owns and trains Speed Racking Horses, and his songs educate people about the breed.

ROUNDUP Greg Roberts/ Nitty Gritty GR Music 901-412-1597, gregrobertsng.com Truegaitstables@gmail.com All of Roberts’ music is about horses, and he has a song about trail riding coming out soon. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube; buy his music and join the “3 Up 1 Down” Nation! Kym Rouse Holzwart is a multi-generational native Floridian, an ecologist, co-proprietor of Spotted Dance Ranch, and has been a free-lance and technical writer for more than 30 years. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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FLORIDA HARVEST

HARVESTING SATSUMAS AT FLORIDA GEORGIA CITRUS DELICIOUS FRUIT ENJOYED IN MANY WAYS—EVEN ADDED TO BEER!

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Written by: Ava Grace

right in color, seedless, easy-to-peel, juicy and sweet, it’s no wonder so many people look forward to eating satsumas. This favorite citrus fruit is ready to be harvested in November and December. Satsumas are also made into jam, jelly, syrup and soap products. And the pulp can be used in the making of certain beers, adding a crisp taste to the brew. “We sell to a variety of Florida and south Georgia manufacturers who use the fruit for numerous reasons.

Microbreweries are also using the fruit to add citrus flavor in beer,” explains Kim Jones, owner of Florida Georgia Citrus & Bethel Oaks Farm. It is a family-owned orchard and processing plant in Monticello, Florida, about 2 miles south of the Florida-Georgia line. The location is perfect for growing satsumas! Satsumas are a type of mandarin orange and they are related to tangerines, clementines and other citrus fruits. They originated in China and were brought to the United States

Satsumas are easy-to-peel, juicy and sweet. The 15,000-square-foot Monticello, Florida-based Florida Georgia Citrus plant opened in 2016.

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Satsumas, a type of mandarin orange, are related to tangerines, clementines and other citrus fruits. They originated in China and were brought to the U.S. in the late 1800s.

ALL PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF STACY PRATO REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIRTUAL TOURS

in the late 1800s. Satsumas are easy to grow; they actually grow best in slightly cooler climates that maximize their flavor. The 15,000-square-foot Florida Georgia Citrus plant opened in 2016. It also processes local fruit grown by small producers in northern Florida, southern Georgia and southern Alabama. And Florida Georgia Citrus works with a grower group that comprises more than 300 acres. The citrus that is grown on the Florida Georgia Citrus orchard—and citrus that is brought in from other producers—is juiced on site in the Florida Georgia Citrus processing plant. The juice is high-pressure processed and then frozen. It is sold to a variety of merchants throughout Florida and Georgia. Monticello-based Bethel Oaks Farm started in 2014 and now has about 3,000 satsuma trees. In addition to satsumas, dekopon or shiranuhi citrus, Hamlin oranges, navel oranges and lemons are also grown on its 30-acre orchard. “The grove needs to be 4 to 5 years before we harvest the first fruit for best quality,” Jones says. Bethel Oaks Farm’s satsumas are sold as fruit and juice, and they are also used to make the company’s own body products—all sold at farm markets in northern Florida and southern Georgia. The fruit is also part of Florida’s and F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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Georgia’s public school lunch programs. Plus, Bethel Oaks Farm partners with a variety of manufacturers to make everything from bath products to beer to syrup and jelly out of it satsumas. Thanks to the sweet flavor and abundant juice of satsumas, they are scrumptious atop a salad, used in a cocktail, made into an orange cake or turned into a delicious glaze. And it seems to be a good year for satsumas because the crops in the orchards look good and tasty. For satsuma lovers, that’s delicious news. Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

ROUNDUP Florida Georgia Citrus 5314 Boston Highway Monticello, Florida 229-224-7698, floridageorgiacitrus.com

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Harvest season is in November and December, and much of the fruit is sold as fresh fruit, while the rest is juiced. Bethel Oaks Farm's 30 acres also has Hamlin oranges, navel oranges and lemons.

ALL PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF STACY PRATO REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIRTUAL TOURS

FLORIDA HARVEST


Nestled in the heart of South Georgia pines and massive oak trees, Live Oak Plantation has become a haven for outdoor enthusiasts around the world.

Live Oak Plantation is recognized for its southern charm and beauty and was established in 1980 consisting of 4000 acres located in Adel, Georgia also known for many years as a premier quail hunting destination. We offer quail, deer and turkey hunting packages along with world class guided bass fishing with 10 professionally managed lakes available. Our main lodge is 10,000 square feet and features a total of 6 spacious suites, in addition we have a 4500 square foot private cabin with 4 suites adjacent to one of our many lakes. To round out your entertainment value, we have a challenging 3-hole executive golf course along with an accompanying driving range and putting practice green. The beautiful lodging and conference center speak for themselves, however our southern cuisine will be the best you have ever put in your mouth.

Located in Adel, Georgia minutes from I-75 | 675 Plantation Road | Adel, Georgia 31620

huntliveoak.com | 800-682-HUNT (4868) | Find Us On Facebook

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COUNTRY CALIBER

GOD, GATORS AND GLORY

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Written by: Jon Clendenin II

ome people play the Florida Lottery every day, and some of us true Floridians play a lottery that comes out once a year and is a big part of a lifestyle that is disappearing daily. Here’s a peek at the world of hunting alligators—with the special people of the Brevard County Airboat Association of Melbourne, which teams up annually with veterans groups such as Wounded Warriors in Action and Operation Outdoor Freedom. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “The Statewide Alligator Harvest Program is a limit-

Air Force veteran Jason Ellis caught this monster 10-foot and 7-inch gator, which was the biggest of the four that the guys caught on the weekend hunt.

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ed-entry hunt. Each permit includes two tags, authorizing the holder to harvest two alligators. The hunt runs from each Aug. 15 to Nov. 1, and legal hunting hours are 5 p.m. to 10 a.m.” Brevard County Airboat Association has been running its program for veterans for nine years. The organization starts every alligator hunt with a flag ceremony by the local Boy Scout troop, along with the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer. In 2019, we had the pleasure of having the following four veterans hunt with us on a recent weekend:

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY JON CLENDENIN II

VETERANS TAKE PART IN ANNUAL HUNT WITH BREVARD COUNTY AIRBOAT ASSOCIATION


Above, Pam and Jon Redencic prepare dinner for the veterans, which includes cooking gator meat. Below, Ellis holds his souvenir shirt. The four happy hunters are, from left, Jon-Charles Moore, Robby Rodgers, Fisher and Ellis.

WHEN ASKING THEM IF THE HUNT HAD BEEN ON THEIR “BUCKET LISTS,” THE RESPONSE ACROSS THE BOARD WAS, “YES!” Jon-Charles Moore served 19 years in the Army and Air Force before being medically discharged. He’s originally from Michigan—so I asked him if he’d had any experience around alligators and he said he had harvested eggs. The gator that Moore managed to get this year was a whopping 9 feet and 8 inches long, which was the second-biggest of the four gators caught during our hunt.

Robby Rodgers served eight years in the Army, and grew up hunting deer in Missouri. I took the time to ask all four of the guys how they felt about their first airboat ride—and Rodgers responded that he “loved sliding sideways and getting to see a few deer and parts of Florida not everyone gets to experience.” The gator he harvested was 8 feet and 6 inches long. Rodgers told me, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—worth every moment.”

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Clockwise from top left, Moore takes his first airboat ride with driver Dave; the guys and their gators; Darby and Jason Bell drive Rodgers and Fisher on an airboat; and local Boy Scouts perform the flag ceremony.

Jason Ellis and I “hit it off” from the very moment we met. He spent four years in the Air Force around the same time I worked at Patrick AFB here in Brevard County. Ellis caught a monster 10-foot and 7-inch gator—the biggest of the four of the weekend. When I first asked him what he expected from the weekend, he said he “wanted the experience and some ‘chicken of the swamp.’ ” Ellis later said he had “an amazing time and doesn’t think there’ll be anything to top this trip.” In conclusion, these guys, like several others before them, have fought to keep our freedom to fly the flag of 13 stripes and 50 stars. When asking them if the hunt had been on their “bucket lists,” the response across the board was, “Yes!” And I’m thankful to be part of the Brevard County Airboat Association, part of its veterans’ event, part of making these troops’ lives feel complete—and for “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Jon Clendenin II “didn’t choose the swamp life—it chose me.” He’s been “swamp bound” since day one, when his mother went into labor in 1982 while gator hunting in the mouth of Lake Okeechobee in the outskirts of Martin County. Clendenin adds, “The backwaters flow through my veins much like the blood that lets me live a life unlike so many others.”

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PHOTOS BY JON CLENDENIN II

For 30-year Coast Guard veteran Kurt Fisher, the second time was the charm. He’d hunted gators in the past with family but had not succeeded—until he hunted with our guides in the swamp that some of us call “our second home.” He managed to pull a very respectful 9-foot gator. When we talked, I asked him if he’d done any events with Wounded Warriors in previous years. Fisher said this was his first time and that he’d found out about the program from a co-worker.


COUNTRY CALIBER

FROM BIBLE BELT TO CORN BELT FLORIDIANS RUSH TO MIDWEST FLOOD DISASTERS—‘WHAT ELSE COULD WE DO?’

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Written by: Jack Collier

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS EGOLF

t was almost biblical when things got brutal this past February and March in America’s Corn Belt. Millions of acres of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest hit by historic rain and snowmelt got washed out, rivers choking on eroded soil, and farm equipment, barns, homes and animals gone. Entire counties of spring crops were lost and the flooding prohibited summer planting. Mother Nature’s gut punch was felt 1,500 miles to the Deep South. Chris Egolf and his companions in Sarasota, Florida, understood—having watched or lived through hurricanes such as Michael, Charley and Andrew. And the flooding was affecting the world’s food supply. Thus the Florida country boys, their families, business associates and friends got busy in April, using social media and their farming resources to find cash and donations. The volunteers trucked all that stuff to Nebraska, where not much was spared by the flooding.

The Florida country boys in April used social media and their business resources to help Nebraska farmers and ranchers. Entire northern counties were affected by floods.

HATS OFF TO THESE GENEROUS DONORS Glenn Peachy, 55 round bales SMR Farms, semi-truck round bales to Iowa Hi Hat Ranch, 12 round bales to Nebraska Chuck Johnston 2-J Farms, trailer round bales Kraayenbrink family, pallet feed Andrew Michael Pepper, pallet cubes and feed Detwiler’s Farm Market, hauling; donating BBQ meat and food Fruitville Feed & Supply, two pallets cubes and feed, covering costs on others’ travel and feed Stockyard-Feed & Western Wear of Sarasota, feed, cattle cubes and fencing Walpole Feed & Supply of Okeechobee, cattle cube pallets

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COUNTRY CALIBER The Sarasota crew returned to the Midwest in August, transporting tons of feed, hay bales, barbed wire and fence posts to Iowa.

The relief and gratefulness from Midwest livestock ranchers and farmers was so overwhelming, Egolf says, that the Florida crew returned in August. This last trip to Iowa transported tons of feed, hay bales, barbed wire and fence posts.

Gift ideas that will please! Visit and see our lush gardens and bamboo

Cash and goods from Detwiler’s Farm Market, SMR Farms, Fruitville Feed & Supply and Sarasota County’s good folks were among those giving and working for both Midwest runs, he says. “We’re all close to our agricultural community,” Egolf adds, “and we heard about the vortex, started seeing the pictures and the devastation. It was all gone. And we are blessed enough to have the ability to do it. What else could we do?” The Sarasota crew chose northern farms of under 10,000 acres, the larger places likely getting federal help. During this last run, the convoy was given an Iowa county sheriff’s escort. “Everyone was extremely thankful, couldn’t stop saying thank you,” Egolf says. He explains that he witnessed railcars with water stains mid-car and washed-out homes on hills, which “kind of put things in perspective.” Sarasota County and its SART, or Sarasota Agricultural Response Team, and the volunteer crew are considering another run north, should the horizon not brighten as Midwest winter approaches. As a funny side note, Egolf mentions he met a woman not understanding the scope and depth of loss in the Corn Belt. “She was baffled,” he says. “Said she bought her food at the store. She didn’t see what everyone else sees.”

Jack Collier is Editorial Director of Florida Country Magazine.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS EGOLF

One-of-a-kind Holiday Decorations!

It was all donated or paid from barbecues or carwashes, explains Egolf, a businessman and vice president of Sarasota County’s state cattlemen’s association. The relief crews steamed through on a Friday, dropped the supplies and visited, hightailed back for a Monday workday. Atlanta traffic and two blown tires harshed an otherwise uneventful 60-some-hour round trip, drivers taking turns, Egolf says.


COUNTRY CALIBER

ON TOP OF IT ALL MOUNTED POLICE ADD SAFETY, SECURITY AND ARE PUBLIC RELATIONS AMBASSADORS

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Written by: Ava Grace

PHOTO COURTESY OF POLK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

he first recorded mounted police force was in London in 1758—the London Bow Street Horse Patrol, according to The Christian Science Monitor. The newspaper notes that from 1800 to 1850, similar units were founded in Dublin, Ireland, and Calcutta, India. In 1870, the Boston Police Department hired a mounted officer and added 27 mounted officers a year later.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s other two horses make up its Mounted Guard Unit, a ceremonial unit under the Honor Guard Unit, supervised by Cpl. Aaron Eubanks. The Mounted Guard Unit’s riders are certified deputies who are assigned to the Honor Guard Unit. Currently, there is one more horse being trained that will soon be part of the Honor Guard Unit.

“That same year, 1871, New York City Police Department created its mounted police unit. And in 1873, North West Mounted Rifles were founded in Canada—which went on to become the renowned Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” The Monitor reports.

The Mounted Posse Unit, which began in the late 1800s, provides security and presence for details such as shopping malls and outdoor events, and sporting events—all while taking a community-oriented policing approach to dealing with the public. “They are also called upon for search-andrescue and crowd-control incidents where a horse can be more efficient than an officer on foot,” Eubanks explains.

Florida has mounted police forces in Lee County, Key West, Miami, Marion County, Orlando and Polk County, to name just some. Lee County Sheriff’s Office has eight horses; six are assigned to its Mounted Posse. That’s the civilian mounted unit assigned to the Agricultural Unit and supervised by Sgt. Randy Hodges. Its riders are volunteers who offer their time to train and handle various details.

The Mounted Guard Unit began in 2015 and handles ceremonial details such as parades, funerals (local and out of county) and memorials. “It can perform duties such as Riderless Horse, Mounted Color Guard, commanding the Honor Guard’s Color Guard from horseback, or providing mounted presence for details such as funerals and memorials,” adds Eubanks.

Above are four members of the Polk County Sheriff's Mounted Search and Recovery Team. Polk County Sheriff's Office also has a Mounted Enforcement Unit.

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COUNTRY CALIBER The Key West Police Department’s Mounted Unit has been in place for more than 20 years. The unit also works with crowd control during events. The police officers own the horses, while volunteers feed and care for the horses, thanks in part to private donations.

Created in the 1960s, Marion County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit is now comprised of more than 30 volunteer members who use their own horses, trailers and equipment. The unit is active in the community and can often be seen at major events and gatherings. “The Orlando Police Mounted Unit was created in 1982 when the city of Orlando was looking for a way to bridge a gap between the community and law enforcement,” explains Sgt. Jose Pagan, unit supervisor. “The Orlando Police Department

Top right, Polk County Sheriff's Office Deputy Maria Catello stands with her horse. Middle and bottom right are members of the Orlando Police Mounted Unit. Photos above show Marion County Sheriff's Mounted Unit, comprised of volunteers who use their own horses, trailers and equipment.

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TOP RIGHT PHOTO COURTESY OF POLK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE; OTHER RIGHT PHOTOS COURTESY OF ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT; LEFT PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARION COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Miami’s Mounted Police Unit dates to 1937 and was designed to help patrol certain parts of the city. Mounted police can patrol more slowly, watch more carefully and connect more directly to the community. Plus, the officers have a better view of the neighborhoods they are patrolling. The horses are donated to the unit; the stables can be toured by the public.


Above, Lee County Sheriff's Office Mounted Guard members Cpl. Aaron Eubanks, Deputy First Class David Henson and Deputy First Class Theodore Schafer won several medals at recent First Responder Games in Tampa. Photos at right show the Lee County Sheriff's Office Mounted Posse.

recognized that a horse would break the ice for positive interaction between law enforcement and the general public.” The Orlando Police Mounted Unit is currently at capacity with eight horses. Unit officers are put through a fast-paced course of 120 hours in the saddle, to ensure they can carry out all law enforcement duties while riding. The unit is versatile and can accommodate the community in a variety of ways. “We mainly use our horses for crowd control. The unit works our downtown corridor every weekend to clear the streets once the bars close. Our responsibility is to ensure all pedestrians are out of the roadway when traffic resumes,” Pagan adds.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF LEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Enforcement Unit has been in existence for more than 20 years. The two-officer team works missing-person searches, sporting events, special events and demos. Master Deputy Jay Scarborough is in charge of the unit and Deputy Maria Catello works with him. The unit is sometimes assisted by the Sheriff’s Mounted Search and Recovery Team, made up of 12 civilian volunteers. They are actually fulltime law enforcement deputies who volunteer to belong to the specialty team and are “called out” to special events or details. “Members supply their own horses and tack to the unit. Members are responsible for the care and feeding of their horse, as well,” explains Carrie Horstman, public information officer at Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Mounted police units have long been a part of American history. They work to keep gatherings and events safe, allow for a noticeable presence of the police force and help bond community members with the force. Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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Above, some of Robbie Johnson's cattle cool off in a pond at the ranch. Photo at top right is of his father, Sherwood "Buddy" Johnson, checking fruit on their acreage of citrus trees. Below, soon-to-be son-in-law Bobby Lott herds cows in the round pen.

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Written by: KATHY ANN GREGG

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obbie Johnson, of Fort Pierce in Florida’s St. Lucie County, has a family history to be proud of—and in dual industries, too: He’s a fifth-generation citrus grower and second-generation cattle rancher, with his middle daughter, Morgan, joining the ranks as a thirdgeneration cattlewoman. Robbie’s great-great-grandfather, James Markus Johnson, grew cotton and seed tobacco in Florida in the 1920s, before starting in the citrus industry in the 1930s. His son, Floyd Johnson, who is Robbie’s greatgrandfather, was born in Alabama in 1892 and moved to St. Lucie County at age 14.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF J-5 RANCH

Next in the lineage are Floyd’s son, Sherwood L. Johnson, and Floyd’s grandson, Sherwood “Buddy” Johnson, who are Robbie’s grandfather and father, respectively. In 1952, Sherwood formed Sherwood Johnson & Son Grove Service. It operated until Buddy graduated from college and turned the company into Sherwood Johnson & Son Grove Management, Inc. The year 1970 was a big one for the citrus company, which purchased Hilliard Groves, Inc. At the time, Hilliard Groves was strictly a gift fruit company. Sherwood and Buddy changed it into a commercial packinghouse with domestic and foreign customers, while retaining the gift fruit division. Additionally, they owned and ran a fruit stand specializing in all types of citrus. Current family patriarch Robbie graduated from college in 1986, and immediately began to make his mark. The following year, he started Johnson & Johnson Citrus, Inc., a citrus picking and hauling company, which was added to the Hilliard Groves brand.

The scenic setting, above, features the J-5 Ranch Wedding Barn. Photo below is from the late 1980s and shows Robbie, who had graduated from UF in 1986, in his new company truck.

Father and son Buddy and Robbie took Hilliard Groves international in the early 1990s, throughout Europe and Japan. The duo owned and managed more than 5,000 acres of citrus groves. Eventually, Hilliard Groves evolved into selling primarily grapefruit, as the Indian River district grew into “the grapefruit capital” of America. And as the culmination of a career in the citrus industry, Buddy was a 2015 Citrus Hall of Fame inductee.

Punta Rassa, where the bovines were loaded onto barges for the trip to Cuba. Floyd’s grandson, Buddy, would regale the family with tales that Floyd was paid by Cuban boat captains in gold coins, which he’d hide in a sack under the seat of his old truck! The cattle industry skipped a couple generations in the Johnson family. It was reignited by Robbie, who, along with joining the family citrus business, started his own cow-calf operation in 1987. He has cattle in St. Luc-

While all of this was transpiring in Robbie’s life, he managed to fall in love with and marry Kathy Matula of Fort Pierce in February of 1990. They have three daughters—Jayne Johnson Platts, and Morgan and Emma Johnson. Jayne’s husband, Brenden Platts, also comes from a multi-generational citrus family. Keeping it in the agricultural industry, he’s a sales representative for the Italian-owned company Isagro USA. The company develops and distributes more efficient crop-protection products for better plant health. Floyd Johnson, Robbie’s greatgrandfather, had ventured into the cattle business. He bought “wild cows” in the early 1940s. Cattle at that time in Florida were free-range, with no fences. He hired cowboys to drive the cattle from all over the state to F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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Above, Robbie welcomes visitors to the J-5. In middle, daughter Morgan works cattle. Right photo, from daughter Jayne's wedding, shows Robbie, daughter Emma, Jayne, new son-in-law Brenden Platts, Morgan and Kathy Matula Johnson. Below, little "Buddy" stands with his mother, Margaret, and sister, Shirley.

As mentioned, the third generation in the cattle business belongs to Morgan, who purchased her first cows when she was a mere fifth-grader! She showed cattle in Florida and Georgia. Hers is a commercial Brangus-cross cow-calf operation. Morgan works at Rabon’s Country Feed in Okeechobee, where she is a Purina nutrition consultant and sales rep. Morgan recently became engaged to Bobby Lott of Bronson, Florida. He’s

NOT ONLY ARE JOHNSON FAMILY MEMBERS PIONEERS IN THE CITRUS AND CATTLE INDUSTRIES, THEY’RE STAUNCH GATOR FANS! the lead cowboy of the North Division of Lykes Brothers Ranch, and owns and operates his own commercial Beefmaster cow-calf operation. He and Morgan compete together in ranch rodeos on the Rabon’s Country Feed team, having just completed the Florida Cattlemen’s Association Ranch Rodeo Finals representing the Pete Clemons Memorial Ranch Rodeo of Okeechobee. Not only are Johnson family members pioneers in the citrus and cattle industries, they’re staunch Gator fans! Buddy graduated from the University of Florida in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in fruit crops, and added a master’s in fruit crops two years later. Robbie earned a bachelor’s in food resource economics in 1986. Jayne and Morgan are third-generation UF grads: Jayne graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s in public relations and outside concentration in agricultural communications; Morgan earned a bachelor’s in animal science in 2015.

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And being “surrounded by all these women,” Robbie just knew that at some point his ranch would also be used for non-traditional purposes! And so it is—as Kathy and Jayne run the J-5 Ranch Wedding and Event Venue on the family’s Okeechobee land. Jayne and Brenden married in the barn in 2017; Morgan and Bobby will marry there in February. Kathy and Jayne also operate the biannual J-5 Ranch Barn Sale, a vintage-style market held in the barn during April and October. It brings vendors from all over the Southeast to sell vintage, handmade, refurbished, antique, shabby, primitive-style and/or farmhousestyle items and furniture. For sure, what really shows how superb this multi-generational family is, is that every ranch decision is made as a family! Kathy Ann Gregg is a Florida writer and photographer, and counts the Johnson family as part of her rodeo family. She’s really looking forward to the next J-5 Ranch Barn Sale, which is set for Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

J-5 Ranch Wedding and Event Venue and J-5 Ranch Barn Sale 10406 Bluefield Road, Okeechobee, Florida 772-201-6582, j5ranch.wordpress.com j5ranchevents@aol.com Facebook: facebook.com/ j5ranchevents/ Instagram: @j5ranchbarn

TOP RIGHT PHOTO BY SARA CRAFT; OTHER PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF J-5 RANCH

ie, Okeechobee and Martin counties. His commercial cow-calf operation is primarily Brangus-cross cattle bred to both Charolais and Brangus bulls.


KATHY AND JAYNE RUN THE J-5 RANCH WEDDING AND EVENT VENUE ON THE FAMILY’S OKEECHOBEE LAND, AND ALSO OPERATE THE BIANNUAL J-5 RANCH BARN SALE.

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A PORTRAIT OF ‘MR. MIKE’ RASTELLI FROM MILITARY MAPS TO RODEOS ... WHAT A JOURNEY!

WRITTEN BY: KATHY ANN GREGG

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ention the words “rodeo photographer” anywhere in the state of Florida, and the name that instantly comes to mind is Mike Rastelli! But how “Mr. Mike”—as he is fondly called by all the youth competitors, even when they grow up—got into the field of photography is a story not well known by his rodeo friends and family.

After receiving his basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, he was shipped to Fort Belvoir in Virginia, for further training in his field. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 had just begun, with President John F. Kennedy having called for a blockade on Cuba. Rastelli was greeted to a locked-down base, and armed guards demanding to see his identification! The next three years of Rastelli’s life were spent in the field in Libya and Ethiopia, as a member of the 64th Engineering Battalion—Army Map Service. The majority

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PHOTO BY KATHY ANN GREGG

After drifting around in various jobs for about a year after high school graduation, Rastelli walked into the local Army recruiter’s office and signed up. He received some of the highest marks on the aptitude tests, and was given a wide choice of what he wanted to do while in the service of his country. Rastelli chose topographic surveying.


Like so many professional photographers, Rastelli hung onto his film camera well after digital photography hit the scene—until the quality was “up to snuff.”

PHOTOS BY MIKE RASTELLI

“I was at the Williston PRCA rodeo in January of 2013. It was a night rodeo and it was drizzling. I had to use on-camera flash, which can create its own problems. The rider was Jake Dubose and I didn’t see his boot way up in the air until well after the photo was taken. This is one of those photographer’s gifts—you can’t stage a picture like that!”

“This was that awesome ride of Spencer Wright, one of the saddle-bronc riders from the Utah Wright family, on Frontier Rodeo’s horse Medicine Woman. It was taken at the March 2015 Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo. The score was 92, a record score for Wright and the record for the PRCA that year—which held almost the entire season. I hadn’t had a cover shot on Pro Sports News, the official PRCA publication, for several years, but this one got me a cover!”

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of the work was running level lines and flying photographic strips. Each member was supplied with a camera that was used to photograph all geologic formations, landmarks, monuments and the like, so they could be properly placed on the topographic maps that were being produced. Rastelli laughs as he recalls one incident: The camp dog, whose name was Futz, had died, and they buried it. Such monuments were deemed “landmarks.” So he photographed it and placed the proper pin on the map, with the label “CD Futz.” It was their private joke that it was the burial monument for a dog! Just prior to leaving the military, Rastelli and a friend got together and ordered goodquality cameras—and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. He returned stateside and joined up with some old friends who had been rodeoing while he was overseas. He tried his hand at bulldoggin’ and did some roping in a practice pen, but soon realized it was not for him. Rastelli and his wife, Sandy, moved to Florida in 1969 and he began doing photography as

“It was 1964 and I was on a three-week leave, headed back to Libya, when I had the opportunity to stop in Rome. This shot was taken through one of the openings of the Coliseum. As I snapped it, the two men happened to step into the opening. I believe they were novices in the priesthood. It’s one of my favorite shots and I have a poster-size of it on my wall! Through all the muted colors, note the one bright red spot on someone’s clothing—to the lower right of center.”

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TOP PHOTO BY KATHY ANN GREGG; BOTTOM PHOTO BY MIKE RASTELLI

How “Mr. Mike” got into the field of photography is a story not well known by his rodeo friends and family.


PHOTOS BY MIKE RASTELLI

“This was just a fun compilation I did at the Arcadia Rodeo Fall 2015, at the old arena. I’d taken various angles of the arena to get the panoramic effect, then added the three of us: That’s Jerry Upshaw at left and Todd Baker at right, members of the ‘Shoot-Out Gang.’ ”

“At the Kenansville arena, they used to feed the bulls in the corner by the gate where you come in. I was heading to a Junior Rodeo there and as I drove by that corner, this bull—I think his number was K-42—lifted his head from rutting around in the grass. What a shot!”

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“I just loved this photograph—the look on Rainey Booska’s face, and that of her horse. It was such a spontaneous reaction to her goat-tying run, and one of those instances when, as a photographer, you’re in the right place at the right time!”

a way to earn a living. He started with the Florida High School Rodeo Association in the late 1970s, then added the All Florida Junior Rodeo Association when it was formed in 1983. In 2005, the Cinch Junior High Rodeo Association came into being, and was added to his roster of customers. He got his PRCA card in 1986, qualifying him to photograph Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos. That was also the year he switched from black-andwhite to color images. Nowadays, his photo galleries can be viewed on his website at mikerastelliphotos.com. And like so many professional photographers, Rastelli hung onto his film camera well after digital photography hit the scene—until the quality was “up to snuff.” Of course, to this day, “Mr. Mike” thanks the youngsters of the Florida High School Rodeo Association and the All Florida Junior Rodeo Association for giving him his first Canon digital camera in the mid-2000s.

“This is a picture of me holding a young baboon that had been orphaned. It was taken in late 1964 at Portuguese Falls in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. I remember how the stream there became a raging river during the rainy season.”

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY MIKE RASTELLI

Kathy Ann Gregg is also a rodeo photographer, and has the privilege of counting Mike Rastelli as her colleague and friend for the past 10 years.


“In Ethiopia, the mapping team would be flown in and out by Hueys. When we’d wait for our ride out, the local people would gather around us. One man hadn’t seen his brother for 15 to 20 years—even though he lived on the other side of the ravine. He wanted to know if we could call his brother! The red-and-white cone is what we used to measure angles. That’s me lying down in the middle of this group of very curious locals.”

“This was taken in 1963 at Wheelus AB, about 200 to 300 miles out in the desert near Tripoli, Libya. It’s where my unit, the 64th Engineering Battalion—Army Map Service, was based.”

“Abdullah, the man in the middle, was the camp helper at Al Watya. He was a paratrooper in the French Foreign Legion—known as ‘Blue Men of the Desert.’ That’s me at right; the tribesman at left is a local chieftain. We needed water but men weren’t supposed to get water—that was a woman’s job. So the chieftain let us ‘borrow’ his several wives. We had to be careful not to look at the women. I remember this very clearly, since it was November 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.”

Just prior to leaving the military, Rastelli and a friend got together and ordered goodquality cameras—and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

“The bull, and rider Tevin Cameron, were at the Bunnell High School Rodeo event. But I had photographed these storm clouds in Kenansville just as a scenic shot. I combined the two for this dramatic effect—the bull shot was not changed at all, just the background.”

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FLORIDA EXCURSIONS

NORTH FLORIDA’S HARD LABOR CREEK GOOD DOGS, GOOD BIRDS AND GOOD TIMES hile we may not feel as if we have all four seasons in the Sunshine State, there is one we can all celebrate—hunting season. The air may not be as cool as in other states, but there’s an autumnal crispness and excitement nonetheless. And it always happens so suddenly: One moment you’re sweltering in the August sun, then one morning you wake up and fall is here. Many Floridians take to the fields, rivers and ponds, gun in tow, faithful companions by their side. It is a great tradition that has been celebrated for decades, a love affair of exquisite dog work and skilled, quick shooting. Quail hunting has long been revered as the epitome of wing shooting and bird dogs. Hard Labor Creek Plantation, which opened in 1994 in the tall pines of Chipley, in north Florida’s Washington County, continues to strive to preserve this hunting tradition.

On any given fall weekend, bright orange-clad hunters in brush pants can be spotted traipsing through the perfectly maintained woods, which are groomed for quail habitat. Up ahead, pointers of various colors dart back and forth through the brush, noses glued to the ground. Occasional whirls of black and white and red fur reveal their location. Suddenly, the scene freezes and the dogs stand stock still around the same area. Noses align in identical direction. Tails shoot straight up, poised perfectly, living up to their names. The covey has been found. The Labrador that has been walking dutifully at heel the whole time is finally given the release to go forward. In a sudden burst of frenzy that quail hunters live for, the sound of wings fills the air as the covey rises in all directions. You must be a quick shot to be successful at this game. There are only split-second windows between pines to pull the trigger. And the hunters must always be mindful of their Gary Clark watches as his son, James, makes a successful shot. Faithful hunting companion "Max" then leaps for the falling bird.

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF HARD LABOR CREEK PLANTATION

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Written by: Katey McClenny


Above from left, guide Jerry Strickland talks with Dez Young, owner and producer of the bird hunting show Hunting With Hank. Seated at right are Gary Clark, Wade Vittitow and Hayden Olds.

fellow shooters and, of course, the canines in front of them. There’s a famous saying among quail guides everywhere: “There is one $50 dog and one $500 dog out there. If you shoot one of my dogs, I will let you know which one it is.”

“I have learned more about dogs, people, quail and guiding than I thought I ever would,” Everett explains. “The best part for me as a landowner and operator is meeting the people that hunt with us and continue to hunt with us on a regular basis.”

Luckily, there has been nothing but successful, fun hunts at Hard Labor Creek Plantation. Owner Ted Everett learned about operating and managing the land from one of the original guides and his mentor, Bill Baxley.

Everett has built a successful business of regulars who come every year to hunt in the fall and winter months. Some of them even come back in the spring to fish the 85-acre spring-fed pond and stay at the lodge.

Middle photos capture, left and right, dogs on point. In the center, Gary Clark looks on as Andy Fleener helps his daughter, Elizabeth. At right are three hunters looking for the birds.

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From left, Gary Clark and Hard Labor Creek Plantation owner Ted Everett pose with a group of hunters after a successful day.

Guides Gerry Strickland, Aaron Kincaid and Chris Kolhsant all work at the plantation, training and working their own gun dogs and bringing their own personality to each hunt. “I have also really enjoyed watching my close friends raise their kids shooting at Hard Labor Creek Plantation,” Everett continues. “I still have photos of these dads standing behind their kids, holding a single-shot .410, teaching them gun safety and how to follow through while swinging through the shot. Hard Labor Creek Plantation is and always will be a family-oriented place.” Together with one of Everett’s close friends, Gary Clark, the two built a regulation skeet and trap range in 2005 on the plantation. Clark went on to start a 4-H shooting team that became very successful under his leadership, winning several tournaments and state championships. By choice, Everett does not pick up his shotgun very much anymore. “My passion is to work the land,” he says. “Someone has to do the hard labor!”

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.

ROUNDUP Hard Labor Creek Plantation Chipley, Florida 850-527-6063; floridaquail.com

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PHOTO COURTESY OF HARD LABOR CREEK PLANTATION

He enjoys keeping the firebreaks clean, controlled burning, mowing, planting the food plots and making sure the land is ready for hunters to come enjoy. Everett adds, “I have witnessed many fathers make memories with their children that will be with both of them throughout their lives. How can it not be any better than this!”


FLORIDA EXCURSIONS

TANK AMERICA SOMETHING FOR A MILITARY LOVER’S ‘BUCKET LIST’

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Written by: Ava Grace

PHOTO COURTESY OF TANK AMERICA

he sheer size of military tanks is impressive: They’re metal beasts of more than 17 tons, which can climb, barrel through, roll over and navigate hairpin turns, all while making interesting sounds while doing so. Think loud crunching, forceful shattering and powerful splashing. Tanks were first employed in World War I as all-terrain vehicles that were strong in size and striking in appearance. The very first tanks rolled out onto the battlefield—British ones that were designed to break into German lines. Although they didn’t perform quite as well as expected against the artillery and mortar shells, they did set the standard for a new kind of modern warfare.

Of course only some military troops actually get inside tanks, because tanks are just part of the entire “military fighting machine.” However, people who experience the driver’s compartment of a tank say they “don’t easily forget having that much power at their fingertips.” Tank America, an attraction in Melbourne, Florida, offers a chance for visitors to get inside a 17-ton FV433 Abbot from the British army. Visitors can then take it for a spin through a three-quarter-mile tank course—complete with hairpin turns, a 15-foot hill and a 40-foot-long and 3-foot-deep mud hole. While military personnel and veterans are certainly drawn to Tank America, a wide variety of people actually come out

There isn't much that a tank can't conquer, as clients learn as they run through the course.

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FLORIDA EXCURSIONS

Men and women come out to enjoy the thrill of driving a tank through a variety of environmental challenges. The 17-ton tanks make for an exciting time, as a 40-foot, 3-foot-deep mud hole is conquerable with a tank!

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to give it a try. “Thirty percent of our clients are female—some are as young as 16 years old,” says John Kinney, one of the attraction’s owners. He explains that it’s not only the experience of driving a tank draws people in, but also that the “educational experience” is of interest to so many. Visitors learn about safety and operations from trained instructors. A “Tank Experience” takes about three hours, and Tank America also hosts parties, private groups and events.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF TANK AMERICA

“From crossing off a ‘bucket list’ item, to getting a ‘Tank Experience’ as a gift, to being a military enthusiast—we get all kinds who want to drive a tank,” notes Troy Lotane, another one of the attraction’s owners. “When you come, be sure to wear closed-toed shoes and something you don't mind getting a little dirty in,” explains Kevin McSparron, tank manager. “If it’s rainy season, you might also bring a change of clothes—because the tanks operate rain or shine.” In addition, there’s also a 7,000-square-foot ‘Laser Combat’ (tag) arena. The attraction’s laser tag is so realistic that police and SWAT teams have used it to train. Veterans admit it’s about "as real as it gets." The laser rifles work and function like real AR-15s. “It’s like playing a video game—but here, you are the controller,” says Kinney. And no matter who Tank America’s visitors are—whether male or female, young or old, with a military background or not, they will be sure to “enjoy an incredibly unique military experience.” Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

ROUNDUP Tank America 9150 Ellis Road, Melbourne, Florida 321-241-1122, tankamerica.com info@tankamerica.com

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FLORIDA EXCURSIONS

PLENTY TO SEE AND DO AT MIAMI’S MONKEY JUNGLE WILDLIFE PARK AND DISCOVERY CENTER IS HOME TO MORE THAN 300 PRIMATES

n 30 acres in Miami, there’s a jungle park like no other—with more than 300 primates living in a protected habitat at a place called “Monkey Jungle.” According to monkeyjungle.com, the wildlife park and discovery center’s website, it all started in 1933. That’s when Joseph DuMond, “an inquisitive animal behaviorist,” and his wife, Grace, “released six Java monkeys into the wilds of a dense subtropical forest.”

troops throughout the park. The monkeys also have a social structure based on a dominance hierarchy; thus there are an alpha, a No. 2, a No. 3 and so on.

Monkey Jungle is one of the oldest attractions in South Florida and it’s still family-owned and operated. Visitors delight in watching the monkeys swing and dangle from branches, laugh and chatter with each other, wash and groom themselves—and exhibit other actions that are remarkably similar to human behavior.

There is plenty for visitors to do at Monkey Jungle: They can feed monkeys by hand in a 4-acre habitat and watch them swim in their “Wild Monkey Swimming Pool.” Visitors can meet the “King of the Jungle”—the gorilla—as he interacts with his keepers. And they can check out the “Amazonian Rainforest,” where about 125 squirrel monkeys, and also black-capped capuchins and howler monkeys, roam as they please.

“We have over 100 hundred Java macaques roaming the area,” says Eddie Perez, the wildlife park’s communications manager. He further explains that the Java macaques live in

“The ranking is based on two factors,” Perez says. “The first factor is their maternal association. The second is who they associate themselves with [who their friends are].” Monkey Jungle also has squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys and spider monkeys, to name a few.

The “Amazonian Rainforest,” the website notes, “is the only semi-natural tropical rainforest in the United States.” It’s

Clockwise from left are just a few of the fascinating primates at Monkey Jungle, including a black-capped capuchin, a Java macaque, a mandrill monkey and a crab-eating macaque.

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF MONKEY JUNGLE

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Written by: Ava Grace


Visitors can tour the "Amazonian Rainforest," which serves as a breeding sanctuary for a variety of primates.

filled with plants, palms and other trees that another member of the family, Frank DuMond, brought back from South America. The “Amazonian Rainforest” serves as a breeding sanctuary for a variety of primates. Monkey Jungle participates in an international collaborative breeding program to help introduce captive-born animals into protected areas in the wild, because many are becoming increasingly scarce. Monkey Jungle is also home to the DuMond Conservancy for Primates & Tropical Forests. It’s the organization’s non-profit science, conservation and education affiliate. The conservancy is home to the largest collection of owl monkeys outside of laboratory settings. “None of our animals are used for medical research,” Perez adds. “Most of the adult owl monkeys were once used for medical research. Now they are retired, live in a secluded naturally forested area, and lead enriched social lives.” Recently, Monkey Jungle expanded its conservation mission to include parrots that are displaced or can no longer be cared for by their owners. The birds live in free-flight aviaries with suitable companions, all in a natural setting. Ava Grace is a Florida resident who loves the country.

ROUNDUP Monkey Jungle 14805 SW 216th St., Miami 305-235-1611, monkeyjungle.com

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PICTURE PERFECT

A STEP BACK IN TIME

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ypsy,” a Black and Tan Coonhound, was photographed by Baker County, Florida, resident Amber Godwin, using a Nikon D5600 with 35mm lens. Godwin was at Heritage Park Village in the Baker County city of Macclenny. She notes, “I felt I captured the ‘historic vibe’—with the cabin and the hound on the front porch! I love capturing photos that make you really look and feel the mood of them. It makes you take a step back in time!" More of Godwin’s images are at facebook.com/ambergodwinphotography.

PUSHING SUNRISE

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Sony A7rii camera with a Sony 24-105 F4 lens was used by Adam Bass of Lake Wales, Florida, to capture Matt Pearce at his Rock Hill Ranch in Glades County, Florida. Pearce was pushing a herd to the cow pens to ship calves. Bass says, “Photography to me is art. I try to show the ‘real Florida’ through my photography. I believe that photography tells a story and can show the beauty of ‘wild Florida’ to folks who otherwise wouldn’t be aware of it.” See his photos at facebook.com/afloridawildman/.

Photo by: Adam Bass

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Photo by Amber Godwin


Photo by: Kathy Porupski

AT FAWN’S EARLY LIGHT

Photo by: Bonnie Gearhart

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athy Porupski of Odessa, Florida, photographed this fawn at dawn’s early light while camping at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota and Manatee counties. She used a Fuki XT-2. “I was enjoying the tranquility of Mother Nature—with a camera in my hands,” Porupski explains. “I noticed a doe and fawn in the morning light forging for breakfast. I stood frozen behind a tree and quietly snapped photos until they noticed me and turned off into the dense woods. The fawn paused and glanced over at me before scampering off to catch up to its mother.” Her website is kathypix.com. 

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COUNTRY PLEASURES

rofessional photographer Bonnie Gearhart was at home at Gearhart Ranch in Groveland, Florida, and caught this image of Orlando resident Trinity Cummings with a Nikon D7100. Gearhart, who received her first camera at 15 and “was addicted at that moment,” states, “Trinity is a little country girl, for sure. It’s about capturing those moments in time that you can cherish forever. I will photograph anything standing still or moving—it’s my passion.” View her work at bonniegearhart.pixieset.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

Photo by: Beverly Thomas

TOUGH BUT SOFT

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roveland, Florida, resident Beverly Thomas was about half an hour from home, in Ridge Manor, when she shot this image with a Nikon D750. Thomas explains, “Photography is my heart; I love capturing little moments that tell stories. This country girl is my niece, Megan. She’s tough—but I caught her soft side. She’s all about the outdoors and more than willing to be my model!” Check out Thomas’ work at facebook.com/magnolia lights.

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Photo by: Michele Felumlee

BEST FRIENDS

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ichele Felumlee, of Lakeland, Florida, used a Canon 5D to take this photo. It’s of her youngest granddaughter, Sunny Lee, and Sunny Lee’s best friend, “Miss Cluckerson.” Felumlee, known as “Mimi” to her grandchildren, says, “They’ve been inseparable from the day they met. I love capturing memories with clients and—most of all—family. I work a full-time job but behind the camera, that’s my ‘Happy Place.’ ” Visit facebook.com/ michelefelumleephotography/.

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FLORIDA MEMORIES

SENATE BILL 34 CHANGED FLORIDA’S LANDSCAPE FOREVER ‘FENCE LAW’ ENABLED GENETIC IMPROVEMENT, DISEASE MANAGEMENT OF CATTLE Written by: Katey McClenny

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With best management practices such as the rotational grazing used today, it is hard for us to imagine raising cattle with no fences. But it wasn’t until Florida Senate Bill 34 was passed in 1949 that ranchers began building fences to avoid the new penalties for roaming livestock. The new bill, commonly called the “Fence Law,” changed the landscape of Florida forever. Much of the allure of the Wild West has always been the openrange practice. But what remains unique to Florida is the continuation of open-range ranching far into the 20th century. Many factors contributed to this. For one, Florida’s peninsular shape ensured there was no competition from other states. Surrounded by water on three sides, roaming cattle had nowhere else to go—except, well, Florida. At top are cattle on their way from Kissimmee to market in Tampa in 1904. Above, J.H. Campbell drives cattle through the abandoned Gadsden County town of Hardaway in 1939.

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Another factor is that there was no competition for land use. Farming had not yet evolved to the degree it is now, and Walt Disney World Resort was not yet built. Development companies were not vying for rights, so there was no pressure to use grazing lands for anything else besides grazing.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF FLORIDA MEMORY LIBRARY

ot so long ago, there was a time when cows roamed freely through the scrubs and swamps of Florida. Cattle grazed on natural forages, and cowboys aptly named “cow hunters” would ride across the peninsula, rounding up the cows when it was time to sell. From the time cattle first arrived in Florida, this practice continued until after World War II.


In addition, the main market for Florida cattle at the time was Cuba. Cow hunters would ride south to deliver their loads, and were virtually cut off from the rest of the United States. It wasn’t until the Cuban market started to decline that the Florida cattle industry started to change. The new law, passed by Gov. Fuller Warren, required Tick livestock owners to prevent their animals from fever was a severe roaming. If damages occurred from roaming liveproblem in Florida in stock, the owners were now held responsible. In the early 20th century and addition, any loose animals could be sold at livethe disease could wipe out entire stock auctions without the consent of the owner. herds. Photo is of a tick inspection These penalties led to livestock owners building fences to keep their cattle contained. And that one change remarkably altered the future of the Florida cattle industry forever.

station at the Baker County line, probably from the early 1900s.

“The law was inevitable, as changing agricultural practices and the automobile were completely changing Florida. It’s arguable that it is directly responsible for improving the overall herd and making it what is today, as it enabled captive breeding and much-improved grazing,” explains Sam Ard, director of governmental affairs for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. Ranchers could now focus on cattle genetics since they could control their breeding stock. Because the Cuban buying market had declined, Florida cattlemen were being forced to sell in the domestic United States. This required the ranchers to improve the genetics and produce a higher-quality product. Fencing practices also led to the eradication of tick fever, a severe problem in Florida in the early 20th century. Tick fever could wipe out entire herds—and now all cattle were ensured treatment for the disease. Other sicknesses and vaccinations could be closely monitored as well. Forages were improved as ranchers now knew where their herds were grazing. Research evolved as to what grasses were

IT WASN’T UNTIL FLORIDA SENATE BILL 34 WAS PASSED IN 1949 THAT RANCHERS BEGAN BUILDING FENCES TO AVOID THE NEW PENALTIES FOR ROAMING LIVESTOCK.

best for cattle to digest, what minerals they needed, how to control invasive species and how to properly maintain grazing lands for maximum potential of land and cattle. Last—and likely the most notable—was the introduction of breeds. Purebred cattle evolved, and new cross breeds were created. “The ‘Fence Law’ was a critical turning point in the advancement of the Florida livestock industry,” notes Ashley Hughes, executive vice president of the American Brahman Breeders Association. “From enabling genetic improvement to disease management, this law reinforced Florida cattlemen as being pioneers, championing to produce a greater cattle herd in the southernmost state,” Hughes adds. With the passing of the “Fence Law” in Florida, so ended openrange ranching in the Untied States. But the stories and legacy of Florida cow hunters remain—as an integral part of the rich history of the Sunshine State’s ranching saga, and as a marker of the continued improvements in its cattle industry. 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.

Circa1890s photo shows, from left, cowboy Crayton Parker on an unnamed horse, cowboy Tom Smith riding "Boomerang," and a woman known as Aunt Jeanie feeding hay to a cow.

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FLORIDA MEMORIES

TURPENTINE NOW A DISTANT FLORIDA MEMORY WAS ONCE THE SUNSHINE STATE’S 2ND-LARGEST INDUSTRY, AFTER CITRUS

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Written by: Wendy McMullen

urps, once a household word in America, is now largely a thing of the past. Go into a hardware store and ask for turps and you’ll likely get a blank stare. Yet turps—short for turpentine—was once Florida’s second-largest industry, after citrus.

Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin from live trees, mainly longleaf or Ponderosa pines. There are many different forms, including volatile oil, oil of turpentine, essential oils, spirit of turpentine, gum turpentine and rosin. In its pure form, turpentine was mainly used as a solvent for cleaning paintbrushes and thinning oil-based paints. In the 19th century, it was used as a cheap alternative to whale oil to light lamps, and its pitch was used to patch holes in wooden ships. Mixed with beeswax, it polished fine furniture. Turpentine was used as a treatment for lice, as a chest rub (the oil is an inactive ingredient in Vicks VapoRub), as a deconges-

tant, antiseptic, inhaler, and ointment for wounds. Dangerously, it was drunk as a laxative and to get rid of intestinal parasites. In 18th-century England, turpentine was added to gin; it took an act of Parliament to get the practice banned. Florida’s turpentine industry began in Virginia, but methods used to bleed the pines for resin destroyed the trees. That necessitated a move to the Carolinas (earning North Carolina its “Tar Heel” nickname) and, in the late 1800s, to Florida’s pine forests. To tap into the sap-producing layers of the Florida pines, workers stripped the bark and then hacked into the trees with deep V-shaped cuts to release the gum or resin—called the “Cat Face” method. A metal sleeve and pot was attached to catch the oleoresin, the technical name for turpentine resin. The Herty system involved chipping a deep ridge into the tree base and catching the resin in an oblong bucket. Oleoresin was also extracted from the shredded slash, stumps and roots once the tree was destroyed. Collected resin was poured into copper stills to become spirit of turpentine The hard, sticky amber rosin, which is the solid form of resin,

Circa-1905 photo shows a turpentine distillery and rosin yard in the Washington County city of Chipley.

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Turpentine industry workers in the 1930s using the Herty system to tap into the pines' sap-producing layers.

TURPENTINE IS A FLUID OBTAINED by the distillation of resin from live trees, mainly longleaf or Ponderosa pines. There are many different forms, including volatile oil, oil of turpentine, essential oils, spirit of turpentine, gum turpentine and rosin.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF FLORIDA MEMORY LIBRARY

was used to preserve ropes and on the rigging of sailing ships, and to caulk seams between timbers in ships’ hulls. It was also used in sealing wax, to polish glass, as an emulsifier in soft drinks, and was in many plasters and ointments. Rosin is still used in ink, printing paper, varnish, adhesives and paper sizing. It’s used to polish glass, help musicians grip stringed instruments, reduce friction on the soles of dancer’s shoes, and in handball sports. When mixed with waxes and oils, it can produce “mystic smoke,” a gum that when rubbed and stretched, produces puffs of smoke. Collecting turpentine resin was dangerous and difficult. Cutting into trees was hard labor; working the still was hot and dirty. Workers, in some cases leased convicts, lived in primitive temporary camps. They earned as little as $1 a day—paid in the form of company scrip for use at the commissary. Workers could buy on credit; many, in debt to the company store, couldn’t leave the isolated camps. The lyrics “I owe my soul to the company store,” in Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” ballad, could have been written at such camps. Added to the harsh conditions were health hazards: Turpentine vapor can irritate skin and eyes and damage lungs and the central nervous system. It is also believed to be carF LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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FLORIDA MEMORIES cinogenic. Turpentine producers increased production by applying paraquat to the tree cuts. Paraquat, a toxic herbicide, is banned in several countries because of its links to Parkinson’s disease. The Great Depression kept many workers in place even after the convict leasing system was abolished, but later years saw turpentine production costs going up and large distillation plants taking over Florida’s 1,300 backwoods fire stills. Demand started decreasing in the 1930s. Steel ships made pitch unnecessary; turpentine’s use as a solvent was gradually replaced by substitutes from crude oil. In addition, paper pulp mills provided turpentine and other chemicals as byproducts. By the 1970s, the turpentine industry had all but disappeared from the Sunshine State. Visitors to the Panhandle, however, can still see traces of old “Cat Face” scars on pines in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Wendy McMullen is an award-winning journalist and longtime Florida resident.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF FLORIDA MEMORY LIBRARY

Clockwise from above are a circa-1930s photo of a still for making turpentine from resin; a worker using a dip tester in 1937; a 1930 photo of a Fort Meade pine's "Cat Face" cut; and an Osceola County still in a photo taken about 1900.

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WILD FLORIDA

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE OF FLORIDA FAVORITE RAPTOR SPECIES OF SUNSHINE STATE BIRDERS Written by: William R. Cox

A medium-sized raptor, the swallow-tailed kite is 23 inches long, with a wingspan of 4 feet.

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pers, birds, lizards, green and brown anoles, tree frogs and snakes. They pluck prey from the air, and from the leaves and branches of trees and shrubs. Many times, they feed on their prey while flying. They drink and bathe by skimming the surface of the water like a swallow.

If you are lucky enough to observe the swallow-tailed kite, you will realize that it is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful birds. It is the favorite raptor species of Sunshine State birders. This medium-sized raptor is 23 inches long, with a wingspan of 4 feet. It has a white body, black back, wings and tail. The large wings are slender and the tail is long and deeply forked.

Nests are usually placed high in a 60-to-130-foot pine or cypress tree located in flatwoods or hardwood bottomlands. The platform nests are substantially made of sticks and twigs lined with moss, lichens, pine needles, leaves, other fine material and feathers. The birds individually carry approximately 200 pieces of material to their nest. This may require 800 miles of flight from start to finish of a nest.

Swallow-tailed kites forage in pine flatwoods, mixed pine, pine scrub, hardwood forests, hardwood swamps, cypress swamps, mesic hammocks, agricultural environments, marshes and wet prairies. I’ve been photographing these amazing raptors throughout Florida for 30 years. When they make their many turns while foraging, in proper lighting you can get a glimpse of the metallic green-blue surface of their back and upper wings.

Courtship includes a display of curving chases mainly over water. The male brings nesting material and food to the female. They lay two to four white eggs, marked with brown, in the nest. Occasionally, they nest in loose colonies of a few pairs. The female and male incubate the eggs for 28 days. The hatchlings are semi-altricial 1, which means they are immobile, downy with eyes open and are fed by the parents. They fledge in 36 to 42 days after hatching.

These raptors forage on a variety of large insects and small vertebrates. I’ve seen them prey on dragonflies, grasshop-

Before departing for their wintering grounds in Columbia and Venezuela, swallow-tailed kites stage at amazing

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PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY WILLIAM R. COX

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he swallow-tailed kite (Elanoides forficatus) is a migrant and breeding resident of Florida from late February through September. Its nesting season lasts from late March through June, and it is a rare breeder in the Florida Keys. This graceful raptor provides an awesome site as it flies and glides above the treetops in search of food.


communal roosts including up to 2,000 birds. Some roosts are located at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Collier County, and Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area in Glades County.

The swallow-tailed kite is a symbol of the Deep South. Protection of flatwoods and hardwood bottomlands from development is essential to protect them. Ranchland, farms, large federal and state parks, wildlife corridors, wetland and panther mitigation banks provide habitat and promise for these magnificent raptors.

When swallow-tailed kites leave, they fly south through the southern peninsula, island hop through the Florida Keys and western Cuba to the Yucatán Peninsula, and finally overland to central America.

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.

Nests are substantially made of sticks and twigs lined with moss, lichens, pine needles, leaves, other fine material and feathers.

IF YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO OBSERVE THE SWALLOW-TAILED KITE, YOU WILL REALIZE THAT IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL BIRDS.

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READER APPRECIATION

#Floridacountry

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WE LOVE OUR READERS!

here is your Florida Country Magazine? Is it on your coffee table, in the field, riding on horseback, enjoying Mother Nature? We want to see it! We love how creative our readers are with our publication. Share your photo with the hashtag #Floridacountry on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or email any time to publisher@floridacountrymagazine.com for a chance to have your image featured in a future issue of Florida Country Magazine. Follow us wherever you are!

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Rachel Gregory Englewood, Florida

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Sonya Shellhouse and her daughter Avery Kaye Tanner Arcadia, Florida

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The reason I love reading Florida Country Magazine is because you get to see the way of life people have—and read about the amazing things they do that makes them, them.

We love Florida Country Magazine for the stories, the pictures, the people. It's a great magazine!

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Andrew Hill Melbourne, Florida

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Melissa Velez and her daughter Maliya Velez North Fort Myers, Florida

I love Florida Country Magazine because it’s a bi-monthly reminder that Florida is not just where snowbirds come to retire. Florida is full of homegrown, traditional, hardworking Americans—who know that the value of anything is the amount of effort and sweat you put into it. (Photo credit belongs to “D wrek.”)

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We LOVE Florida Country! We love everything about the magazine—from the covers to the content! I always learn new and interesting facts about Florida. There are always fascinating interviews and great cooking recipes to try!

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Marie Hunt and her grandson Coulter Gregory—and Josey the deer Old Town, Dixie County, Florida I love all the pictures you publish, and that you give the chance for people to have their pictures published. Love the articles as well.

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Jessica Pagliaro and Brian Moore Lehigh Acres, Florida

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Jon “Barefoot” Clendenin II Eau Gallie, Florida (aka Melbourne)

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Ramden Shell Indian Harbour, Florida

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Jason Strachan and his son Logan Strachan Dunnellon, Florida

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Our family loves Florida Country Magazine! It captures everything that’s real about Florida, such as the many agricultural and native lifestyles of the state. We appreciate the integrity of the articles and there always is an eye-catching cover! You’ll always find an issue in our home!

I love Florida Country because it covers a vast array of topics that are disappearing, which so many of us, even the younger generation, can learn to love and respect. There are still some of us who live and love the ‘old Florida way of life,’ and love its roots deep into the swamps— like me, for example. I’m not your average 37-year-old: I live a lifestyle most would dream about, and enjoy everything Florida has to offer. FCM truly shows that from coast to coast. Florida is so diverse, with so much culture, and I’m glad to call it my home. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the next issue. From front to back, FCM is something I’ve been looking for for years.

I really like how Florida Country Magazine supports local businesses and highlights families in local agriculture. The most interesting articles to me are the ones about Florida cattle ranchers and their families. This photo was taken by my son Samuel Shell. Thank you and keep up the good work!

We like Florida Country Magazine because of the amazing articles and photography of our beautiful state. We also love the featured articles that the magazine highlights for readers.

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FLORIDA CHARM

LABELLE DOWNTOWN CELEBRATES 5 YEARS SHELLIE JOHNSON, LATE FRED JOHNSON REALIZED CITY’S POTENTIAL

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Written by: Kelly Boone

t’s a new day, the sun is rising into the sky, casting its warm glow onto the streets of downtown. Shop owners are sweeping their entryways and sidewalks, and hoisting the American flag—ready to greet customers with a smile as warm as the sun. Or, picture that same sun glowing onto those streets, but they’re full of vacant, rundown buildings with boarded-up windows. Where are the friendly shop owners “living the dream”? They “went to the wayside” with the sprawl of suburbia, big box stores and malls covering acres of land. With the development of homes outside of cities and towns, people were pulled away from downtowns—leaving skeletons of buildings housing only memories of former greatness. Thankfully, many innovative people remembered that downtowns once had everything that residents needed, from retail shops to dining establishments to professional offices, and all within walking distance. During the past four decades, those changemakers, consisting of volunteers, investors and business owners, created the “Main Street America” movement. Its approach is to “bring new life back into downtowns.” In the Florida city of LaBelle, which is the county seat of Hendry County, the Labelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation, or LDRC, was created in 2014. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization was started by Shellie Johnson and the late Fred Johnson.

Top right, the Florida Department of State recognized LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation for its five-year anniversary. Inset shows LDRC's updated logo. At right, LaBelle's streets offer "Old Florida" charm.

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The Johnsons realized the great potential of Downtown Labelle and they created a vision for its future. Through hard work and perseverance, the couple and local volunteers joined forces to focus on historic preservation, economic stability and vibrancy in Downtown LaBelle. The Johnsons knew the importance and value of protecting the historic heritage of the community. Their goal was to establish Downtown Labelle as the heart of the community. Today, LDRC is using the “Main Street America” approach and establishing Downtown LaBelle as a bustling community in which visitors and residents can dine, shop and enjoy the charm of “Old Florida” that its streets offer. Partnering with local organizations and businesses, LDRC has breathed new life back into the city’s oak-canopied streets—with an abundance of activities. The community


PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF LABELLE DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION CORPORATION

From top are Shellie Johnson and the late Fred Johnson, who started LRDC; interior of the Thistle & Thorn shop; and exterior of the Harold P. Curtis Honey Co., which was established in 1954.

comes together for street concerts, market days, holiday celebrations and annual fundraising events, all showing the importance of a vibrant downtown. LDRC recently received recognition for its fiveyear anniversary, and has received accreditation from “Main Street America” for the past five years. It has also been named one of the semifinalists of the “America’s Main Streets Contest,” offered by Independent We Stand. Fred Johnson lovingly designed LDRC’s well-known original logo, highlighting the city’s buildings, its unique bridge and location on the Intracoastal Waterway. Because of the five-year anniversary, the LDRC board of directors has been reflecting on the Johnsons’ vision of Downtown Labelle. It is with great pride that LDRC honors the late Fred Johnson with the introduction of an updated logo, to highlight the city’s continued growth and potential. LDRC “continues to push forward with new ideas and goals to reflect what we all envision for a vibrant downtown community.” Kelly Boone is the executive director of LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation. She enjoys the outdoors and spending time with loved ones. F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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MY RIDE

LOVIN’ MY RIDE FLORIDA COUNTRY SHOWCASES OUR FAVORITE MUD TOYS

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lorida Country Magazine recently held a contest with Punta Gorda, Florida-based Redneck Mud Park in search of different types of mud toys. After reviewing hundreds of entries, here are the winners! And we look forward to seeing everyone at Redneck Park’s Trucks Gone Wild Fall Classic, from Nov. 7 through Nov. 10, 2019.

E-Z-GO GOLF CART … WHAT?

Owner: Jason Bennett of Winter Haven, Florida

I originally built the buggy myself—everything but the aluminum work, which my neighbor and I did in his garage 10 years ago. It started out with a Jeep motor and running gear. This past year, I changed it to a 1-ton Ford with a Chevy 350. It has an SCS transfer case and turbo 400 transmission, with BKT 171 14.9-24 tires on custom wheels. I built it for me and my family to ride on and enjoy the outdoors. We like going to the mud events with it. Normally, it gets a lot of looks wherever we go and is a blast to drive and ride on!

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF JASON BENNETT

Jason Bennett says his "buggy" gets "a lot of looks wherever we go and is a blast to drive and ride on!"


2014 CAN-AM COMMANDER 1000 Owner: Keith Jones of Palmetto, Florida

This 2014 Can-Am Commander 1000 was stripped down to just the frame and got a full four-link front and rear. Added a set of 16-inch travel big shocks in the front and 12-inch travel shocks in the rear. The axles are Toyota, with hydraulic steering with 5.29:1 gears, and the transfer case is out of a Suzuki Samurai. Tires are 12.4-24 that have been cut and scooped. This is by far my favorite build—it rides great and turns heads everywhere it goes. Thanks to Dave Rathel, of Sarasota, Florida, for his help in getting this built.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KEITH JONES

"This is by far my favorite build—it rides great and turns heads everywhere it goes," notes owner Keith Jones.

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Owner Dave Rathel knows his Beetle is a "Punch Buggy" winner, for sure!

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TOP AND BOTTOM LEFT PHOTO BY DAVE KELLY; BOTTOM RIGHT PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE RATHEL

MY RIDE


"I knew what I wanted my bike to look like," explains Jenrose Kratz.

2017 CAN-AM OUTLANDER 570 Owner: Jenrose Kratz of Tampa, Florida

My boyfriend bought my Outlander for me two years ago. It was black and orange originally and I had it powder coated teal. I knew what I wanted my bike to look like and my boyfriend built it perfectly. It has a 6-inch lift and 35-inch tires. Everything is glittery teal, including the decals with my name. We ride almost every weekend—when I’m not too busy studying for pharmacy school!

2004 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE PHOTO COURTESY OF JENROSE KRATZ

Owner: Dave Rathel of Sarasota, Florida

This custom-green Bug has a custom-built chassis with a Chevy 454 motor, 18-inch coilovers and four-wheel steering. It has 2.5ton axles and 66-inch tall Terra tires and is bigger than some of the trucks. And it floats, too! I love it because it’s unique. Remember the game “Punch Buggy,” when kids would punch each other on the arm when they saw a VW Bug? Well, I win! F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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STARS & GUITARS presented by

COUNTRY SUPERSTAR’S MUSIC REMINDS US OF ‘WHY I LOVE BEING ALIVE’

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Written by: Jack Collier

magine moving someone so deeply that your music would drive a fan to YouTube—to write a comment as sweet as the following: “This song reminds me why I love being alive.”

Well, you won’t stray far to find such passion for superstar performer Justin Moore, who in July released a fifth music CD and who travels America to share his gifts and joy in living a complete and very real country lifestyle. “Late Night and Longnecks” was written at a Florida beach house, where he and collaborators Casey Beathard, David Lee Murphy, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill and Rhett Akins drank beer and wrote songs. “I've been rooted in traditional country music my entire career,” Moore told Billboard as the CD was released through Valory Music Group/Big Machine Records, an independent Nashville label. But we nearly lost this man in the white hat before things got rolling. Justin Moore hit a wall, got to the point in his embryonic career in the mid-2000s where nine of 10 performers will peak or surrender just before fading into the shadows. Made of different ingredients, however, Moore pressed forward, even as songs he had recorded didn’t gel with country fans. “I had gone back home with my tail between my legs,” Moore explains, his turf being Poyen, Arkansas, a town so small that his high school class may have graduated 40 or so seniors. “We were still riding in a van and our first couple of songs sort of flopped. I was thinking, ‘Man, this sucks.’ ”

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Fast forward to 2019 and Moore, 35, is married to Kate and is the father of four—three daughters and a son. The family has nested in rural Arkansas and has that second home in north Florida, a state Moore has come to appreciate and regularly tours. Today, in talking about his life and career, Moore is on the road to the Midwest, having just completed a Western swing. On the phone, he has an ease in sharing his story, laughing and talking about going from pennies in his pocket to providing a safe and comfortable life for his family. Moore’s thick Arkansas drawl is so unique to that region, not Texas, not Kentucky or Florida, but rooted somewhere north of Shreveport, Louisiana, and west of Memphis, Tennessee.

PHOTOS ON THIS AND OPPOSITE PAGE BY CODY VILLALOBOS

MEET JUSTIN MOORE

So, whether it was faith, pure stubbornness or a belief in what he and his bandmates were about, Moore kept after it, writing and performing until busting out, named Billboard’s 2009 New Country Artist of the Year, watching his “Small Town USA” climb to No. 1 on Billboard. He has since toured with such performers as Trace Adkins, Hank Williams Jr. and Kenny Chesney.


Justin Moore

WHETHER IT WAS FAITH, PURE STUBBORNNESS OR A BELIEF IN WHAT HE AND HIS BANDMATES WERE ABOUT, MOORE KEPT AFTER IT.

LOR RIID DAACCO OU UNTRYM NTRYMAAG GAAZZIIN NEE..CCO OM M FFLO

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STARS & GUITARS

Raised on gospel in Poyen (pronounced Po-in), Moore picked up a guitar in high school. “I thought everybody could sing,” he says, the direction after graduation in 2002 moving toward Southern Rock, a Marshall Tucker kind of thing. Again, Fate elbowed its way into the party, in this instance as Tommy Moore, Justin’s father. Tommy Moore pushed his son into trekking to Nashville, to follow his heart, but with no friends, no connections, nothing, Justin Moore says. “My family loved music and they had bands,” he says of the groundwork, “but he [Tommy Moore] randomly came up with the idea. It was a culture shock, to say the least.” Setting up shop in Nashville, Justin Moore paid the rent working as a server, in furniture store sales, hawking frozen meat from the bed of a pickup truck, or doing “whatever you got to do to survive,” he says laughing at the memories.

In his off hours, he crashed Music City songwriter sessions, made friends and “performed like a crazy person.” And never stopped dreaming. It was a joyful struggle. Because from 2008 to 2009, Justin Cole Moore in his mid-20s caught fire. Life settled into a string of happy and extraordinary times, extra zeros in the paycheck, Arkansas Razorback/Atlanta Braves games, beautiful children, a lovely wife and a legion of fans enjoying the music he provides us. He told ABC News Radio before the birth of his son, who’s now 2, that “as cheesy as it sounds, I get off the road generally every Sunday morning. I walk in my house. I get ready for church, get my girls ready for church and we go down to church where I grew up.” Adding to his conversation with Florida Country Magazine, Moore notes: “I’m living proof it can happen to anybody if you put in the time and work. God has a plan for me … but you just have to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities. People who make it prepare themselves.” Jack Collier is Editorial Director of Florida Country Magazine.

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR ME … but you just have to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities.”

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PHOTO BY CODY VILLALOBOS

In his heart, Moore never left the sticks: “Hell, I’m still in them,” says the performer, whose signature is authentic oldschool country in a rich baritone, stage presence—and his white hat. “It’s just a great blue-collar place.”


FCM CROSSWORD SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO OUR PRINT OR DIGITAL MAGAZINE 1 Year $24.95 floridacountrymagazine/ subscribe.com Call today and subscribe 239-692-2613

ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A FREE ONE-YEAR PRINT SUBSCRIPTION. WE WILL RANDOMLY PICK THREE WINNERS THIS ISSUE. Find the hidden word and e-mail, mail or send message on any of our social media accounts to enter.

ACROSS

1 Breed developed in Florida

6 Wranglers’ show

9 Brazilian city

10 Avocado dip 12 Chopped 13 Beet-colored 14 Herb for seasoning 15 Wall hangings 17 Goes out on a lake 19 Crunchy salad item 21 Wine connoisseur 23 Good grades in exams 25 Country singer Yearwood 29 Cuts into cubes 30 Golden tune? 32 Crape ____ , beautiful Florida flower 33 Portable timepiece

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HIDDEN WORD

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1 Palmetto insects 2 Large cow-calf ranch headquartered in Fort Pierce 3 Famous Florida orchard produce 4 Backboard attachment 5 It may get into a jamb 6 Wetlands plant 7 Do up 8 Cereal crop 11 Chicken piece 16 Melon grown in Florida 17 Not turbulent 18 Overnight stay place 19 Elegant and sophisticated 20 Hideaways 22 Word after special or photo 24 Cottontail’s tail 26 Creeper 27 Popular 28 “___ hands on deck!” 31 Oscar __ La Renta

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THE CULINARY CRACKER

WHIPPING IT UP IN YOUR KITCHEN INGREDIENTS 10 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ½ cup water 2 cups quick-cooking oats 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups packed brown sugar ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 cup butter, melted PREPARATION Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Add apples to mixture; toss evenly. Place in 9x13 pan; pour water over evenly. Combine oats, 2 cups flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter until crumbly. Crumble mixture over the apple mixture. Bake about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

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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.

APPLE CRISP Serves 12


INGREDIENTS , room es of cream cheese ag ck pa e nc ou 82 temperature d milk eetened condense sw ns ca ce un -o 14 2 dding instant vanilla pu e ag ck pa e nc ou 5eam pudding instant banana cr e ag ck pa e nc ou 55 cups cold milk extract 4 teaspoons vanilla of Cool Whip ners 2 8-ounce contai d ce 8 bananas, sli tbread cookies 20 ounces of shor

BANANA PUDDING CUPS Serves 24

PREPARATION sweetened cream cheese and In large bowl, mix in packages til smooth. Add condensed milk un pudding, milk and vanilla nana of vanilla and ba ute, slowly w for about 1 min lo on extract. Mix r 4 to 6 minutes high speed. Mix fo nces Cool turning up until ou d smooth. Fold 8 until thickened an Crush d. ne bi m co l g unti Place a Whip into puddin ered plastic bag. pp zi in s ie ok co shortbread ttom of each okie crumbs in bo little portion of co ith pudding, crumbs, banana pw cup. Layer each cu en Cool Whip. Cover with th d an g in slices, pudd ill for 3 hours. ch d an p plastic wra

INGREDIENTS st 1 9-inch refrigerated pie cru ⅓ cup butter ⅔ cup granulated sugar 3 eggs ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup light corn syrup powder 1 teaspoon instant coffee s can 1¼ cups chopped pe e chips 1 cup semisweet chocolat h chocolate chips, for garnis eet 2 tablespoons semisw ½ cup heavy cream t ¼ teaspoon vanilla extrac sugar rs’ ne tio 1 tablespoon confec PREPARATION crust es. Roll out refrigerated pie Preheat oven to 325 degre an lt butter in medium saucep in 9-inch glass pie plate. Me ge lar In l. coo re ar; let mixtu over low heat. Stir in sug lted in salt, corn syrup and me r Sti ll. bowl, beat eggs we d pe op ch in r ee powder. Sti butter mixture. Add coff crust. e chips. Pour mixture over lat oco pecans and 1 cup ch d filling til deep-golden brown an Bake 55 to 65 minutes un . ure rat pe tem m cool at roo is set. Place pie on rack to ver Co . ips ch e s chocolat Garnish with 2 tablespoon , e serving. Combine cream for be urs and let stand 6 ho ip wh ; wl bo in t vanilla extrac confectioners’ sugar and es with whipped topping. slic pie until stiff. Garnish

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE Serves 8

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THE CULINARY CRACKER

PUMPKIN ROLL Serves 10

INGREDIENTS 3 eggs, beaten 1 cup granulated sugar mon ½ teaspoon ground cinna 1 teaspoon allspice Cooking spray ⅔ cup pumpkin purée ¾ cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup confectioners’ sugar t ¼ teaspoon vanilla extrac for dusting ar Extra confectioners’ sug

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PREPARATION or jelly es. Spray 10x15 sheet pan Preheat oven to 375 degre paper. In nt me rch ay. Cover with pa roll pan with cooking spr kin. In mp pu d an sugar, cinnamon medium bowl, mix eggs, mpkin pu to d Ad and baking soda. separate bowl, mix flour d bake an n pa in th. Spread evenly mixture; blend until smoo can u yo til un from oven. Cool 15 to 25 minutes. Remove le ton towel down and sprink cot y ce handle and roll cake. La pla d an n pa m Remove cake fro with confectioners’ sugar. it. ide ins el tow e by rolling the on towel. Roll up the cak l completely. coo to Place seam side down eese, g butter, allspice, cream ch Prepare frosting by mixin cake led coo l rol Un vanilla extract. confectioners’ sugar and ll Ro . ing fill e ees with cream ch and remove towel. Spread rs’ ne tio fec con el, dusting with up again without the tow erate th plastic wrap and refrig wi sugar as you roll. Wrap y with htl lig top st unwrapped, du until ready to serve. Serve gs. vin slice into 10 ser confectioners’ sugar and


INGREDIENTS 2 9-inch prepared ch ocolate pie crusts 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese 1 cup granulated su gar 1 cup sour cream ½ cup crushed pista chios Chocolate syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla ex tract 1 tablespoon pumpk in pie spice 6 eggs 1 cup pumpkin puré e PREPARATION Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, beat cream ch eese and sugar until smooth. Blend in so ur cream, vanilla extract and pumpk in spice. Beat in eggs one at a time. Completely blend in pumpkin purée. Po ur filling into both pie crusts. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set and fir m. Allow to cool. Sprinkle crushed pi stachios over top of pies; drizzle with ch ocolate syrup.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE Serves 16

INGREDIENTS 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust 1 1-pound sweet potato ½ cup butter, softened ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup brown sugar ½ evaporated milk 2 eggs 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon flour ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon ground cloves ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

SWEET POTATO PIE Serves 8

PREPARATION potato whole Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil sweet er over wat cold Run . in skin for 40 to 45 minutes et potato swe t apar k brea ; sweet potato. Remove skin well. Stir mix and er butt in a bowl. Using mixer, add lemon er, ging es, clov eg, in sugars, milk, eggs, nutm t on Bea act. extr lla vani juice, flour, cinnamon and g fillin r Pou oth. smo is medium speed until mixture l unti or utes min 60 to 55 e into unbaked pie crust. Bak clean. toothpick inserted in center comes out F LO R I D A C O U NTRYM A G A Z I N E . C O M

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TELLING TALES

CHAMPAGNE COWS

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Written by: Forrest Boone

ot so much as a cow track … no manure, no hair hung up on a fence or rubbed on pine bark, nothing. Since just before good light, Steven Hilliard, little Jimmy and his dad, big Jimmy Bass, had been riding through the flatwoods with Mr. Speedy, who little Jimmy called Uncle Speedy, in search of three champagne-colored cows that Mr. Speedy had seen jump the fence from the No. 2 pasture at the livestock auction, after the sale Thursday. Big Jimmy had been up early to go get Uncle Speedy dressed and his horse, Bill, loaded into the gooseneck trailer with Jimmy’s buckskin gelding and hauled to the auction to meet little Jimmy and his best friend, Steven, on what had to have been the coldest day of the year yet in north Florida. Jimmy’s Uncle Speedy wasn’t quite up to his name anymore at 80- or 90-something, but he could still throw a pretty good loop and he could uncoil that cow whip from its place on his saddle and get a cow’s attention. Speedy was the last clear window into the real Florida, a cowboy icon in north Florida. A window to the past. Not the Florida of pastel beach towns of million-dollar houses that mimicked Cracker architecture, just the way it never used to be, but the Florida of open flatwoods range and Cracker cowboys, and the Big Scrub. Mr. Speedy told stories of cattle drives down state and from Okeechobee to the west coast to the cow pens, and loading out cows to ship to Cuba. Nobody fought to hold that window open harder than Jimmy Bass. It took some doin’ to get Speedy dressed and mounted but when he was set on his horse, he was ready to ride. Bill probably had some good quarter horse genes but the big grey also had a pretty stout dose of Percheron in him. No north Florida woods cow was going to out pull him, for sure.

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To help Bill remember when to stop or back up, Mr. Speedy had a leather breast collar tied loosely to his saddle with a strip of leather. The collar was driven through with tacks and when Speedy needed to stop in a hurry or back up, the lightest pressure on the leather thong would encourage Bill’s responsiveness. They had begun behind the No. 2 pasture and ridden down the abandoned railroad right of way and then crossed the Boyd Tract and looped around the Monticello Tract. The boys had zigzagged through the woods for several hours but now, way past dinnertime and beyond the single thermos and a few candy bars, they flanked big Jimmy and Mr. Speedy. Mr. Speedy was in rare form. The early cold had given way to a perfect morning and afternoon looked to be just as fine. Steven slid his big Appaloosa gelding behind big Jimmy and Mr. Speedy and pulled up alongside little Jimmy. “You see any sign?” Steven asked. “Not a trace,” little Jimmy answered. “When did Mr. Speedy say these cows got out?” “I thought Daddy said it was after the sale this week,” Jimmy said. “Ask him.” Steven drifted over to big Jimmy’s buckskin quarter horse. Out of Mr. Speedy’s hearing, he asked, “Mr. Jimmy, when do you think these champagne cows got out?” Big Jimmy glanced at Mr. Speedy to his right. Speedy’s eyes seemed focused on something out past the horizon and a faint smile creased his lips. Big Jimmy shot a stream of tobacco juice to the right and grinned at Steven. “ ’Bout 1953.” Forrest Boone is a Florida native. He loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing and rural Florida. He and his wife, Barbara, and black Lab "Zeke" live in Bradfordville. Forrest and Barbara are parents of three adult sons.


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Profile for Florida Country Magazine

Florida Country Magazine - October / November 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 - October / November 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...