April 2023

Texarkana Magazine

APRIL • 2023

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE April | 2023 | Volume 4 | Issue 4

60. LIFE Why I Love Easter 64. THE MONTHLY MIX Rodeo Style 66.


11. BUSINESS Insurance Profiles 16. BUSINESS Wisdom & Rubies

TXK ROOTS Zack Fischer


32. cover/CULTURE The Midway & Memory Lane 44. SPORTS Tricks of the Trade 56.



20. POLITICS How My Office Can Help You 22. COMMUNITY Celebrate... for a Cause



What was the first concert you attended?

CASSY MEISENHEIMER New Kids on the Block 1991

TERRI SANDEFUR Debbie Gibson 1989 Mid-South Coliseum Memphis, TN

SHELBY AKIN Britney Spears 2013

KARA HUMPHREY Carman sometime in the 90s

Hirsch Coliseum Shreveport, LA

Circus Tour Dallas, TX

Oaklawn Opry Texarkana, TX

MATT CORNELIUS Skillet 1998 Ashdown, AR

LEAH ORR Creed 2000 Mississippi Coliseum Jackson, MS

BRITT EARNEST Pat Green 2006 SOCO Austin, TX

BRITTANY ROBLES Britney Spears 2000 Alltel Arena North Little Rock, AR

BAILEY GRAVITT I actually haven’t been to a real concert!

MEGAN GRIFFIN Tracy Lawrence 1997 Homecoming Concert Foreman, AR

TAMMY LUMMUS George Strait 1992 Hirsch Coliseum Shreveport, LA

PATSY MORRISS Grand Funk Railroad 1969 SA Convention Center San Antonio, TX I might be old, but I got to see all the good bands.

FRED NORTON Crystal Gayle 1979 Baylor University

EMILY SARINE George Strait 1985 Hopkins County Civic Center Sulphur Springs, TX

PAULA SHANKLES Hank Williams, Jr. 1983 Texarkana College Texarkana, TX

(ushered!) Waco, TX




Front—Britt Earnest, Jenni Hedrick, Kara Humphrey, Shelby Akin Back—Megan Menefee, Ashley Washington, Ashley Eddy, Margaret Barker, Cassy Meisenheimer, Rachael Potter, Lacey McCulloch, Samantha Stokes, and Jordan Miller at IF: 2023 Gathering in Dallas, Texas at Watermark Church.

txkmag.com letstalk@txkmag.com 903.949.1460 OFFICE 911 North Bishop Street Building C • Suite 102 Wake Village, Texas 75501 MAIL 2801 Richmond Road #38 Texarkana, Texas 75503

Publisher CARDINAL PUBLISHING Staff CASSY MEISENHEIMER cassy@txkmag.com TERRI SANDEFUR terri@txkmag.com SHELBY AKIN shelby@txkmag.com KARA HUMPHREY kara@txkmag.com LEAH ORR leah@txkmag.com BRITT EARNEST britt@txkmag.com BRITTANY ROBLES brittany@txkmag.com MATT CORNELIUS matt@txkmag.com Local Sources CLARE ANGIER JOHN LUKE ANGIER MARY CAROLINE ANGIER

I n 2015, I was invited by a friend to attend a Christian women’s conference I knew nothing about. The second annual IF Gathering in Austin, Texas, was being live streamed that year at Fellowship Bible Church in Texarkana. I had originally planned to be on a girls’ trip that weekend, but my heart was stirred to skip it and to check out this gathering instead. Attendance has been a priority in my life every year since. IF was unlike any event I had attended before, and I was unsure what to expect. I did not know anyone who would be there other than the person who invited me, but it soon became clear it was the place I needed to be. My decision to lay down my plans and attend marked a pivotal moment in my life. I chose what my heart told me I needed, and I believe that “Yes” changed my life; it turned into a spiritual awakening. The event speakers and the worship music moved my heart in a way I had never experienced. It was as if the scales fell off my eyes and opened to the One who should have held first place all along. In that season, my focus switched from girls’ trips to church trips as I craved more and more. It is hard to believe how such a small decision can so fundamentally change your life. Answering that call of the Spirit led me to Rwanda, Africa, three times. I quit my job to focus and be intentional with my family. We downsized our home and cars to accommodate my job change, and I began a humbling season of focusing on the Lord instead of chasing earthly possessions. I

had spent a lot of time fixated on outward acceptance, caring more about what the world thought instead of seeking approval from the one and only Almighty God. I am so grateful that even though it took me a while, He never gave up on me! Recently, a group of thirteen Texarkana women joined me and thousands more from around the world as we attended IF: 2023 in Dallas. We came together from different denominations and backgrounds, leaving behind thirteen husbands and twenty- seven kids to worship together and reset our hearts. I am already excited about next year as we have doubled that number of Texarkana gals who are already registered and counting down the days! It is incredible to see God move in so many people’s lives. As we celebrate Easter, I pray we all reset our hearts, remembering all He has done for us and focus on the true meaning of Easter. Spring is a season that brings people together. We gather for Easter celebrations, dinner on the patios of restaurants across town, the upcoming Four States Fair and Rodeo, the Texarkana Wine Festival, baseball games, fishing, and other outdoor activities. This month, we have wonderful stories about some of these events taking place in our community. As you read and take part, I encourage you to fix your eyes on the One at the center of the miracle of Easter and see how much sweeter everything is when you do! God Bless!





Texarkana Magazine is a multimedia publication showcasing the Texarkana area and is designed and published by Cardinal Publishing, LLC. Articles in Texarkana Magazine should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Ideaology, products and services promoted in the publication are not necessarily endorsed by Texarkana Magazine .





Need help navigating the world of insurance? These local agents are here to help.



The insurance agents participating in this special advertising section provided the information in these articles. Texarkana Magazine and Cardinal Publishing have not independently verified the data.


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PRODUCTS Life Home Auto Farm and Ranch Commercial CREDENTIALS

Licensed in the State of Texas COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Junior League of Texarkana Tough Kookie Foundation Randy Sams’ Outreach Shelter Just Love and Kindness Susan G. Komen Temple Memorial Pediatric Center Run the Line and Kids Run the Line Too—Partnership for the Pathways CASA DeKalb Alumni Livestock Four States Delta Waterfowl Board Greater Texarkana Young Professionals

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OUR QUALIFICATIONS Texas Farm Bureau Insurance ® has been serving the people of Bowie County for 60+ years. We have two office locations in Bowie County to take care of your insurance needs. Our Texarkana office is located at 4413 Galleria Oaks Drive and our New Boston office is located at 911 West Highway 82. Texas Farm Bureau Insurance ® has ranked “Highest Customer Satisfaction Among Auto Insurers in Texas” for ten years in a row.

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OUR QUALIFICATIONS Caleb has worked in the insurance industry for over 12 years. He worked under his father, Jeff Kesler, who was an Allstate Agency owner for ten years before Caleb decided he would take over the agency in 2021. Caleb has a vast knowledge of all things insurance, and it brings him so much joy to use that knowledge to equip and assist his community! PRODUCTS Auto, Home, Life, Boat, Landlord, Motorcycle, ATV, PUP Insurance CREDENTIALS

OUR MISSION Caleb Kesler Allstate Insurance prioritizes client care and satisfaction above all. We strive to protect what is most important to our clients while serving them with compassion and kindness. WHAT SETS US APART We are a motivated and energetic agency that chooses to go above and beyond for our clients. Whether a client needs a new policy, has questions about a claim, or just needs some clarification on coverage, we pride ourselves in being approachable, responsive, and knowledgeable in our field. During the highs and lows, Caleb Kesler Allstate Insurance is there to protect what matters most!

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Wisdom is better than rubies. —Proverbs 8:11

Wisdom may be better than rubies, but wisdom won’t pay the rent. —Fred A h, April. Some believe the month is named for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, while others contend its name derived from the Latin verb aperio, “I open.” The poet Ovid wrote that “April was named from the open season, because spring opens all things.” His expectant reference to the first flowers of the season from which bees and butterflies begin to gather nectar is lost on this tax lawyer whose thoughts of something opening in April go no further than to a checkbook. I know Jesus teaches us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but making an income tax payment on or about April 15 each year (April 17 is the 2023 payment date) misdirects my rubies and brings me no joy. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” but an amendment (the




16th) was required for the federal government to collect taxes on income. Delaware became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on February 3, 1913, and the federal income tax became the law of the land. It is interesting to note that our government had imposed an income tax on its citizenry many years before 1913. Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 to underwrite the cost of the North’s war effort in the War Between the States, and the federal income tax was born. Imposing a tax of 3% on individual incomes over $800 ($27,200 in today’s dollars), the Act did not provide for an enforcement mechanism and generated little added revenue. But with the expense of war increasing and the fresh taste of tax still on its palate, Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1862 creating the first progressive tax, levying higher tax rates on higher incomes. A maximum rate of 5% was charged on income exceeding $10,000 ($296,200 in today’s dollars), and the Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue was established to aid in collection. As the economy improved after the war, tax rates were gradually reduced and Congress returned to financing government through the assessment of excise taxes and tariffs, ending the federal income tax in 1872. Congress struck again in 1894 and enacted the first peacetime income tax of 2% on income over $4,000 ($139,150 in today’s dollars). The tax was almost immediately struck down by a five-to- four decision of the Supreme Court despite its prior finding that the income tax earlier imposed was constitutional. This time the Court ruled that the income tax was prohibited by Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 of the Constitution forbidding direct taxes on individuals not apportioned on the basis of population. The decision did not say citizens could not be taxed by the federal government, but that any direct tax on persons or property had to be based on a census. This meant Congress would set the total amount to be raised by a direct tax, then divide that amount among the states according to each state’s population. A state with one-tenth of the country’s population would be responsible for one-tenth of the total amount of direct tax, without regard to that state’s income or wealth levels. For example, if the government wanted to raise $20 million and 10 percent of the country’s population lived in one state, say, New York, then New York would be required to raise $2 million. If New York had 1 million residents, each resident would owe $2 in taxes. With individuals earning different amounts of income, a tax based on income could never achieve the proportionality demanded by the Constitution. By the presidential election of 1908, the federal government’s appetite for revenue had grown to the degree that both William Howard Taft, the Republican candidate, and his Democratic opponent, William Jennings Bryan, supported an income tax. Taft won the election and declared the need for an income tax in his inaugural address. On July 2, 1909, Congress obliged, adopting

a resolution proposing the 16th Amendment, which was then submitted to the states for ratification: “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on income from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States and without regard to any census or enumeration.” With landslide victories by the Democrats and their Republican pro-tax allies in the 1910 national and state midterm elections, state legislatures pursued the cause in earnest, and Delaware’s ratification on February 3, 1913, sealed the deal—and our fates. The federal income tax was here to stay. Taking quick advantage of the revenue-generating opportunity, newly elected President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, pushed for a progressive income tax with a top marginal rate of 7%. While the revenue initially collected from the new tax was rather small, the significance of Wilson’s tax policy was its transition from a regressive, consumption-based system (proportionally harsher on those with lower incomes) to a system that imposed taxes based on a person’s ability to pay. When it comes to revenue consumption, Congress can be insatiable, and it did not take long for tax rates to skyrocket. The highest marginal bracket climbed to 77% in 1918 to pay for World War I, and by the time World War II concluded, the top bracket soared to 94% on incomes exceeding $200,000 ($3.32 million in today’s dollars). Pass the Pepto-Bismol! In March, President Biden proposed increasing the highest federal income tax bracket of 37% to 39.6%, but even his higher rate is low when compared to historic rates. President Reagan lowered the top tax rate in 1987 to 38.5%, but for 62 of the 70 years between 1917 and 1987, the highest tax rate exceeded 50%. It would not be surprising if tax rates continued to rise, but the greatest gift of divided government (where one party controls the White House and the other controls Congress) is gridlock and the requirement of compromise. Today, approximately 50% percent of Americans pay no income tax. They have no “skin in the game” and, accordingly, no motivation to preserve and guard their rubies from those elected officials who would take and spend them. If all of us were subject to having to part with some rubies to pay for government—if we all had some of our rubies at risk—participating citizenship might become more of a priority and politician accountability more of a practice. Fred is an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M University-Texarkana and an attorney Board Certified in Tax Law and in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His practice is limited to matters of federal and state taxation, wealth transfer and asset protection planning, elder law, probate and the administration of estates, and the formation and operation of business, professional and nonprofit entities. You may find him at www.nortonandwood.com .





constituent casework, which we do locally in the District through one of our four local offices. As the deadline for filing taxes quickly approaches and you await your hard-earned tax refund, my office is available to discuss any mishaps that may come up during the process. If your tax filing is rejected, if you are required to confirm your identity, or if there are delays, call our office. While we cannot guarantee you receive your preferred outcome, we can guarantee that we will advocate for you fairly and in a timely manner. With Spring Break just behind us and summer sneaking up on us, I know several families are beginning to plan upcoming trips. I encourage you to take a moment to review your passport. Keep in mind that many countries require travelers to have a minimum of six months after the last day of travel remaining on their passport before expiration. If you have a passport that is nearing expiration or need a passport due to an emergency, my office may be able to assist you in obtaining one. Additionally, if your passport appears to get “lost” in the system, please contact my office for assistance so we may help ensure you have it when you need it. If you or someone you know is a veteran, and in need of assistance with the Department of Veterans Affairs, my office can help. Together, we will work to ensure you are receiving the benefits you have earned. This can include an array of VA related issues, from deserved backpay to securing distinguished medals and from checking on medical claims to gaining access to healthcare. Our veterans have served our nation dutifully, and it is an honor to be able to serve them. Once a casework request is submitted, my dedicated team will immediately get to work. Combined, this exemplary team of caseworkers has decade’s worth of experience in public service to East Texans. Knowing the ins and outs of every federal agency, they are ready to cut through the red tape to help ensure you receive the answers you deserve—updating you along the way and serving as a guide through any processes that may be needed. If you are planning a visit to the Washington, D.C. area, we can also work to secure tours of the White House, the United States Capitol, and the FBI headquarters. If you are interested in having a flag flown over the Capitol in honor of an individual or a special event, or if you know of someone deserving of a Congressional Commendation—we are also readily available to assist. In short, my office is here to help relieve the headaches generated by dealing with federal agencies. Those headaches can be frequent and intense, but we have the cure for your ails. To learn more about what we can help you with or to discuss starting a casework inquiry, I encourage you to call my office at (903) 561- 6349 or visit my official website at moran.house.gov/services. While you are there, sign up for my weekly newsletter so that you can stay updated on our work. Follow us on social media to get even more frequent information and stay informed on our monthly Tele-Townhalls at Congressman Nathaniel Moran on Facebook. My handle for Twitter and Instagram is @RepNateMoran. It is an honor to serve you, and I look forward to helping you.


A s you know, my job as your Congressman in Washington, D.C., is simply to serve you, to be your voice, and to be your vote as we work together to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Such a service can take on many different forms. It includes proposing legislation that addresses your concerns, voting in line with our values, advocating for you with my colleagues, ensuring transparency with frequent communication, and holding the federal government accountable. Importantly, it also includes assisting you with federal agencies when they are not providing the level of service you deserve as a taxpayer. This is our




Front—Co-chairs Mark and Cathy Van Herpen, and Executive Director Terrie Arnold with the 2023 Twice as Fine Texarkana Wine Festival committee.


S tatistically, an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease might live another seven to ten years. On the other hand, that person’s spouse acting as their caregiver might only have three to five more years to live. Such is the physical and emotional toll caring for a dementia patient takes on a loved one. The Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-state Area’s Our Place Day Respite Center is working to improve such outcomes by providing regular time off and much- needed rest for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. The patients, called “friends,” receive social and cognitive stimulation in a safe, supportive, and engaging environment. Everybody wins, including the many volunteers who help to staff the six-hour sessions three times a week. Our Place Day Respite Center is a cozy spot that, in many ways, resembles a residence. A large, cheery kitchen dominates the respite area; its tables are festively adorned with decorations appropriate to whatever holiday approaches. Volunteers are all smiles. Friends gather for games, snacks, crafts, and other activities. The volunteer-to- friend ratio is at least one to one. Music therapy is a favorite, and one volunteer observed it to be particularly effective. Guest performers come to share their vocal and instrumental talents, and friends become particularly engaged. “We have a friend who is non-verbal,” reported Arnold. “When the music for Amazing Grace came on, he started singing. He knew every word. It really was pretty amazing.” The stimulation friends receive during respite care enhances their quality of life in numerous ways. Many families notice improvements in appetite and sleep among participants; all report their loved ones are enthusiastic about coming to Our Place. And the caregivers? What do they do while their loved ones are at Our Place? They get respite, which is defined as a short period of rest or relief from something difficult. Caregivers might sleep, run errands or go to a movie. Freed from the constant demands of caregiving, they recharge their batteries. It is estimated that each day of respite adds 23 days to a caregiver’s life expectancy.




“Our main problem,” said Arnold, “is convincing caregivers that respite is in everyone’s best interest. It is like the oxygen masks on airplanes; they always tell you to put on your own before you help someone else with theirs. You have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of anyone else.” “Many spouses are hesitant to take time off, citing their marriage vows about sickness and health, and we understand this reasoning. But we also know they might not last as long as their Alzheimer’s patients will if they do not care for themselves. Statistics show one out of five family caregivers dies before their person with dementia dies.” Support groups are an important part of the Alliance’s mission. Caregivers, who are often somewhat socially isolated, benefit from sharing their experiences with others who truly understand. A monthly Memory Café on Saturday morning offers an opportunity for caregivers and friends to socialize. Education, support, and awareness are hallmarks of what this organization, founded almost forty years ago in a local family’s living room, stands for. That original support group has grown into an organization that provides support to Alzheimer’s patients and their families in 22 counties in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. All of it is made possible by the Twice as Fine Texarkana Wine Festival, which uncorks this year on Saturday, May 6, at Spring Lake Park. The eighth annual event, voted Best Charity Event every year since 2018, is themed “Celebr8 Good Times... Come On!” It promises food, music, arts, crafts, wine, and more, with an accent on fun for everyone. More than 25 wineries from across the state of Texas will offer their wines for tasting and purchase. Local and regional merchants will provide a wide variety of unique items for sale. Foods of every kind will satisfy the palate, and music will soothe the soul. “There is truly something for everyone,” said event co-chair Cathy Van Herpen. “Even if you aren’t a wine drinker, you will still find many things to keep yourself entertained and satisfy your hunger, thirst, and spirit of adventure.”




Cathy and her husband, Mark, have overseen the Wine Festival since its inception in 2015. Both are members of the Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Board of Directors and understand the importance of the organization’s work in the Texarkana area. “Alzheimer’s impacts the lives of more than 17,000 families in our area,” said Executive Director Terrie Arnold. “The Alzheimer’s Alliance works diligently to provide these families with education and support and to improve their quality of life. Funding from the Wine Festival allows us to continue this mission.” Last year’s event drew more than 15,000 attendees, and organizers expect that number to increase in 2023. Event co-chair Mark Van Herpen appreciates the support of attendees, sponsors, and volunteers. “Our community has really embraced this event, and we’re thankful. Our sponsors make it possible, and our volunteers make it happen. Our committee numbers almost 50, and many more volunteers work very hard the weekend of the festival,” he said. “It’s great to see everybody working together on behalf of families affected by Alzheimer’s.” Admission to the Twice as Fine Texarkana Wine Festival is free. Twenty dollars gets you into the Wine Garden for tastings, a souvenir wine glass, and a wine bag. Wine will be available by the taste for one dollar or by the glass for five dollars. Bottles will also be for sale. A beer booth will serve those who prefer alternate libations. Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. The Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Area faces these grim statistics head-on, and the Twice as Fine Wine Festival is just one of the ways they do it. The event is all about fun, but its purpose could not be more serious. Everyone is invited to be a part of improving the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their families by coming to Spring Lake Park on May 6. The fun, while a bonus, is a sure thing. So, celebrate good times… come on!







COMMUNITY REVENUE IMPACT BY THE FOUR STATES FAIR AND RODEO This amount is hard to pinpoint due to the fact that vendors on the independent area (the food vendors and commercial vendors

around the circle area who are not local) stay in area hotels, eat in area restaurants, and purchase their food and supplies from local merchants.

The fair pays out over $85,000 for security, police, fire, and event staffing for the ten day event. This money goes directly back into the local community.




1940 First recorded year of rodeo. 1945 Fair organized, and charter established. 1954 Fair set at six days with a five-day rodeo. 1970-80s Four States Fair held at Spring Lake Park where baseball complex is today. 1977 The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale horses participated in parade and performed in the rodeo arena.




1979 104 acres of land located on the West side of Loop 245 and South of I-30, a 20-acre parking lot, and 88 acres were deeded to the Four States Fair for relocation at no cost. 1982 Lease expired in June on the old fairgrounds (Texarkana, Texas, Spring Lake Park site). 1986 First year at Texarkana, Arkansas, site which included 104-acre fairgrounds, a graveled parking lot, and an entertainment center. Groundbreaking for new fairgrounds on Loop 245. 1985




FERRIS WHEELS & FAMILY TRADITIONS B linking colored lights, the sounds of carnival rides, crowds, and rodeo announcers, and that strange mix of smells that includes fried corn dogs and funnel cakes, smoking meats and livestock…These are the sights, sounds, and smells ingrained into some of the most cherished childhood memories of Texarkana residents. They officially ignite our senses and remind us once again that it is time for the Four States Fair and Rodeo, and for some, its reappearance on each year’s calendar is eclipsed only by the return of Christmas and Santa Claus. This year’s 78th annual event began March 31 and will run until April 9, and children and adults alike have been waiting with excited anticipation. For one local family, the fair has been much more. It has become a legacy passed down from one generation to the next, morphing into a way of life for Lisa (Barr) Garner, who now acts as Executive Director. Garner’s grandmother, Betty Nix, spent 51 years working at the fair, followed by her mother, Danette Perkins, whose 38 year tenure inspired her own dedication. “My grandmother came to the Fair in 1971 to work part-time to assist her best friend, Marion Reed, who was General Manager,” said Garner. “She also had my grandfather, Bobby Nix, involved. He was an electrician with AA Electric, and they took over the electrical work on the fairgrounds. So, growing up, it was truly a family event.” From one family member to the next, the torch has been handed off proudly and accepted willingly, as if in natural evolution. “I love to tell the story that I came to help my grandma for a weekend event, answering the phones because their office manager had left unexpectedly, and 25 years later, I am the Executive Director.” After decades of involvement, one would assume Garner has developed favorite aspects of the fair’s festivities. “Goodness, that is like asking me which one of my kids is my favorite!” she jokingly confessed. While she loves watching the bull riding during the rodeo, riding the Ferris Wheel, and playing a little Skeeball, it is not easy for her to narrow it down. “If I had to pick one thing,” she decided, “I think it would be watching the kids showing their livestock and seeing them win their first ribbon on something they’ve entered into the fair.” As with everything, moving forward means adjustments are inevitable. “Things have changed so much over the years, even

Betty Nix and Lisa Garner

in my 25 years here,” said Garner. But when your family is so intertwined with the fair’s history, the changes that stand out most are about far more than the addition of an exciting ride or the subtraction of a favorite treat. These changes mark the handing down of a familial legacy that Garner now holds with pride. “While there are a lot of things I miss that traditionally took place during the fair, it really has so much history and tradition, and each year it takes me back to being a kid. Even though my grandma has retired from the fair, she comes out every year to ride around the midway and get a corn dog and funnel cake and visit with the vendors who have been here for many years. She is pretty much a staple part of the fair, and you cannot really mention the Four States Fair and not think of Betty Nix.” “My most vivid memory growing up is that my Papaw would always come to pick me up from school and drive me over to the fairgrounds in his electrical truck so we could watch them put together the Ferris wheel,” Garner remembered. “We lost him in 2006, but every year you will still find me sitting on the grounds watching them put up the Ferris wheel. I know when the lights come on, it is really fair time!”




1989 Fair increased to seven days with success. 1992 The first ten day fair. 1998

LONGEST RETURNING LOCAL FOOD VENDOR The longest running food vendor would be Luther Ray and Debbie Westmoreland from Hughes Springs, Texas, whose family has participated in the fair for over 40 years. They are part of the second generation. Luther is the son of Margaret and Luther Westmoreland. Their granddaughter, Tracy Duck, also from Hughes Springs, Texas, with Tracy’s Concessions has participated in the fair for over 30 years. Bobby Lane and Josh Lane from Linden, Texas, run Lane Concessions and have also participated for over 30 years. Locally, Elve’s Peanut Patties has also been a fair favorite for many, many years.

Fair changed from ten days to eight days with a preview night. 2006

Ag Learning Center opened. The ALC is the first facility of its kind in the state of Arkansas—focusing on educating children about the importance of agriculture in everyday life.




2020 Fair postponed due to COVID-19 regulations. With easing of some restrictions the Livestock Show was held in September. The fair was postponed until a later date. 2021 The Fair was allowed to reopen April 1-9, and the Spring Fair was born. 2023 The decision was made after 2022’s successful event that spring would become the permanent time. Some people really enjoy the fair being in the spring, others feel like it goes against tradition. Now that the event has been held in the spring for two years, this is the new tradition.




The Morris Family Trick Pony Riders: (L-R) Allie (10), Wyatt (12), and Claira (13).


S omeone once said, “The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse.” That may very well be true, but from the perspective of the sibling trick riding team of Claira (13), Wyatt (12), and Allie (10) Morris, the second best view comes from hanging upside down off the side of a horse running around a rodeo arena. There is not a lot of mainstream attention paid to the sport of trick riding, but because of the glitz, high-adrenaline stunts, and, of course, danger to the rodeo crowd, it is a fan favorite. This sport is

off the side of her horse and saying, ‘Look at me! Look at me!’” Discouragement did little to curb the four-year-old’s ambition. Casey and Jimmy decided if they could not get Claira to stop attempting her own made-up stunts, at least they could provide her with lessons on how to perform the tricks correctly. After researching experts in the field, Claira’s nervous parents hired an award-winning trick rider from Stephenville, Texas to train her on beginner stunts she could practice, along with safer methods for performing them. As expected, Claira’s love for the

one of constant practice, creativity, complete trust in a one-thousand- pound animal, and a serious risk of injury. Being young and fearless plays to the Morrises’ advantage, but their natural athleticism and rare talent in the world of trick riding are truly a sight to behold. Growing up around horses, Claira Morris began attempting tricks on her horse at the age of four. Her parents, Casey and Jimmy, were terrified of their young daughter getting hurt and tried to discourage her from such danger. “At age four, Claira did not even know the term ‘trick riding.’ She just started leaning

sport only grew. By the time Claira was six, she was officially trick riding in rodeos and specialty shows near her hometown in Southwest Arkansas. The Morris family was knee-deep in Claira’s obsession, including a younger brother and sister who were watching her every move. In the summer of 2022, Claira and her sister, Allie, performed together for a crowd and attempted a stunt requiring Claira to release her hands and arms downward while hanging off the horse’s back end, bringing her head near the running horse’s tail and hooves. She had practiced this trick many times






before, but on this day, the trick failed. Claira was hung up on the horse and could not get off, and the horse dragged her around like a rag doll from one end of the arena to the other, bruising her lung and fracturing six ribs. Her injuries required Claira to take a one month sabbatical from the trick riding scene. In her absence, Claira’s younger brother, Wyatt, stepped up to fill in for his big sister. Wyatt had been practicing stunts alongside Claira for several years and enjoyed the sport, but he did not want to perform for a crowd. Casey remembered with a

Morrises perform tricks with intimidating names like the Liberty Stand, the Back Breaker, and the Apache Hide-A-Way. In fact, at a rodeo in Hope, Arkansas, it was announced that Allie would attempt a stunt called the Suicide Drag. When hearing the name of the stunt, a distressed child in the audience, who was obviously not well-versed in the world of trick riding, yelled, “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” Someone quickly and calmly explained to the young spectator it was only the name of a trick performed on the horse, and Allie was well-prepared for the performance. It is obvious all the Morris

smile, “Wyatt always wanted to be in the background, but the minute he began to trick ride for an audience, a star was born. He is a complete showboat.” Little sister, Allie, has since taken her rightful place in the spotlight as well, as she has been trick riding for two years. Claira, Wyatt, and Allie live and breathe trick riding. The siblings have separate performances with stunts reflecting their individual personalities and skill sets. The girls even do tricks together on the same horse. Casey laughed when discussing double trick riding, saying it requires much coordination. The

siblings are extremely talented, well-mannered, and competitive. However, as the eldest, Claira is a self-admitted perfectionist and serves as the spokesperson for the group. She loves a challenge and is constantly trying to up the ante regarding stunts. She won the 2017 and 2018 Cowboy Regional Rodeo Association (CRRA) Specialty Act of the Year. Wyatt, the middle child, is always trying to outdo his sisters in trick riding, and everything else, according to his mother. He is also the comedian of the family. He is trying to convince his parents to let






your horse,” the kids explained. “We take good care of our horses every day. They know us, and we know them,” Claira added. The kids have trained their horses: Tadpole, Gus, and Roy the Wonder Pony. It is always an exciting time on the Morris farm; three talented kids, three good horses, and two parents determined to make the siblings’ trick riding dreams come true. Along with the stunts that the Morris three perform, they also have fantastic costumes and crowd-pleasing pyrotechnic props that accompany their shows. The kids’ grandmother sews all of their costumes, complete with sparkles, fringe, and any other eye- catching accessories she can create. “I ride for God and country,” Claira explained. She is adamant about stars, stripes, and anything patriotic being a recurring theme of their showtime outfits, while according to mom, little sister Allie would be okay with some purple thrown in the mix. As an added feature to their act, Claira, Wyatt, and Allie hand out postcard-size pictures of themselves at every event. The images are of the kids in action on their horses. Printed on every card is a Bible verse specifically chosen to share with rodeo fans. Not only do the Morris kids consider trick riding a sport, but they consider it a ministry. The three siblings say that if they can bring people to the Lord through their extraordinary talents and conversations with spectators, they have accomplished more than just trick riding. Casey and Jimmy are very busy with three kids, and they sacrifice so their kids can live their dream. While nothing about this sport is cheap, they work hard to make it possible. The whole

him do showtime tricks on his bull, Buster, and his steer, Buddy, whom he saddles and rides around the Morrises’ property. As the baby of the group, Allie is very calm and shy, often deferring to her big sister regarding questions about their love of horses and the amazing stunts they perform on them. Allie is the Morrises’ go- with-the-flow child and literally hangs on for the ride. The Morris trio claimed the 2022 CRRA Showcase Group Act of the Year when demonstrating what they love to do most. The Morris children have grown up on their family farm, and a regular day begins with their daily chores: caring for their horses and helping in the family’s chicken houses. The children then complete their homeschool assignments overseen by their mom. The flexibility of the homeschooling schedule allows the family to travel during rodeo season. Of course, the three must also practice or showcase their trick riding stunts every day except Sundays, which are “off days.” The kids have even trained a few of their horses, hoping to turn them from barrel and team roping horses into trick riding horses. Claira explained the horse has to be trained to run continuously around the arena without stopping. When the kids do their tricks, they do not grasp the reins, as they are hanging parallel off one side of the horse or upside down off the other. In Wyatt’s case, he is vaulting off the saddle to the ground and jumping back up on the horse while running in patterns around the arena. The horse has to know its job is to move constantly forward while the riders perform adrenaline-packed stunts off its back. “You have to trust






family especially enjoys traveling to places where spectators have never seen trick riding. They say fans are often in disbelief at the ease with which the Morrises perform their tricks, the keen and fluid movements of the horses, and the fearlessness that all three siblings display. Do Casey and Jimmy Morris ever get nervous? “Every time they ride,” Jimmy said. Casey quickly interjected, “Our family knows there will be broken bones and scars. It is just part of it, but these kids love what they do.” Claira, Wyatt, and Allie Morris were born to do amazing things. Those amazing things happen to be done off a horse’s back or side. When asked to explain trick riding in one sentence, Claira laughed and said, “Do not try this at home!” We will leave the mind-blowing stunts to three very skilled experts. Y’all enjoy the ride!

For more information on the Morris performers, visit their Facebook page @clairatrickriding.






I took a weekend trip with some of my closest friends to Dallas right before the pandemic hit hard in 2020. We were just four broke twenty-somethings foolishly wasting the last dimes of our paychecks, combining our pocket change for the cheapest hotel room we could find, all in the name of leaving town for a few days and wandering around a big city together. It was one of those trips where you want to leave assured that spontaneity can, in fact, be fun. Out of every random activity that weekend, the most fun thing we did was ride around downtown Dallas on Bird scooters for three hours. The over-thinker in me wants to understand so badly why humans enjoy driving things around outside that go very fast. In 2020, there were hundreds of cities in the United States with Bird scooters on every corner, but Texarkana was yet to be one of them—sad times. Dallas was the only way my friends and I could experience how much fun these electric scooters were. We always said, “Ugh, I wish we had these in Texarkana!” Now, fast forward to 2023, and our dreams have come true! Hallelujah!


LIVE MUSIC April 1 Joe Buck Yourself Hopkins Icehouse, 8 pm April 14 Dusty Rose Band Whiskey River, 10 pm April 14 Def Leggend Fat Jacks, 8 pm April 15 Texarkana Symphony Orchestra Masterworks IV—Spectacular Stories Perot Theatre, 7 pm

April 18 Karaoke Whiskey River, 8 pm April 20 CeCe Winans First Baptist Church, 7 pm April 22 TEAZUR Redbone Magic Brewing, 7 pm

April 29 Hillestad Fat Jacks, 8:30 pm



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