Cowgirl Nocona on the cover of Texas Highways magazine
When you pick up the September issue of Texas Highways magazine, enjoy Dave Shafer’s gorgeous black and white cover for “The Cowboy Issue,” which also features one of Montague County’s young cowgirls, Maddie Ferguson from Nocona.
While the new edition won’t be out for a week, the Ferguson Clan got to see an early issue last week and were thrilled to see the teenager on the cover.
Maddie is the 18 year old daughter of Bob and Kristal Ferguson, who own and operate the Red River Station Inn in Nocona. A 2021 graduate from Nocona High School, Maddie was active in cross country, in addition to serving as an Indian mascot. She has also become an avid horse rider who competes in high school rodeos and queen contests.
Photographer didn’t want Ferguson to be “all dolled up”
Ferguson says his western photoshoot was really just about being in the right place at the right time. Photographer Dave Shafer had visited the inn earlier in the spring to take photos of the community for the August issue of Texas Highways. She remembers him on the hotel balcony one night with his parents. The next time they saw her was at Bowie’s rodeo where she was going to run barrels.
“I was going to be in the slack, so I was warming up my horse. My dad was standing near a waterfall when Dave came to talk to him. Dad came over to me and Dave asked me if I was his daughter and if I might be interested in taking pictures and it went from there, ”says Ferguson.
As they were planning the shoot, he was told they were looking for a real cowgirl, he didn’t want her to be “all dolled up”.
“It made my life a lot easier. I wore what I did at the Bowie Rodeo, which is what I could wear to ride or work with my horses. It was the style and the vibe he wanted, ”Ferguson said.
She took part in a few rodeo queen contests and added that she was much more comfortable in this situation than being fully “made up and dressed like a queen” like when she competed in the Clay County rodeos. and Chisholm.
The photoshoot took place in a hay field in the family plaza near the Red River and Fort Spanish. Ferguson has lived in the countryside since graduating, spending time working with horses, ranching chores, and giving riding lessons to children. She says it made her realize how important the preservation of the earth is to her.
Ferguson: “I always wanted to be a barrel racer”
Ferguson didn’t get involved in horseback riding until she was a teenager moving from her massive collection of Breyer horses to reality. Horse riding and competition became her passion, “I always wanted to be a barrel racer.
In addition to the photographs, Ferguson was interviewed for an editor’s note on cowgirls by Emily Roberts Stone.
“To be invited to represent this group of women was special, and I am honored to be considered part of this group of cowgirls. In the article, I told the story of a little girl who met me, and she turned to her mother and said “she’s a real cowgirl”. I ride everyday, work horses, but never considered being part of this group that I admire. It’s really cool. I was asked, as a member of the younger generation, if I thought this was an endangered breed? I said no, ”explains the cowgirl.
In the article, Ferguson says this lifestyle isn’t dying because there are “a ton of girls” in North Texas doing the same.
“All cowgirls, we are family and we support each other in so many ways,” the article states.
Ferguson hopes to get equine certificate
While the magazine was enthralling, the Ferguson’s were preparing their daughter for college this past weekend. She will attend Tarleton State University in Stephenville to study animal science and earn an equine certificate.
“I’m so excited to go to college,” Ferguson exclaims. “I hope to be part of the draft horse team. I also want to continue to rode away from the college teams. Everything I learn I can use for both sides.
For those who have seen the early coverage, shared by her proud mother on social media, Ferguson says the response has been positive.
“Everyone loves it and the comments are good. My parents don’t think I’m excited, but it’s great, but I sure don’t want to flaunt it, ”concludes Ferguson.