April 2021

APRIL • 2021

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE April | 2021 | Volume 2 | Issue 4

36. S T Y L E And So, They Built a House They Loved 44. L I F E Survey Says…


10. B U S I N E S S Small Town, Big Business 14. P O L I T I C S The Purpose of Committee



32. E N T E R TA I NME N T Good Evening TXK 34. L I F E Put Me in, Coach!


18. C OMMUN I T Y Doing Good 22. C U L T U R E Crafting Chords 26. c o v e r/ S P O R T S Wild Ride

46. S T Y L E Spring Refresh 50. T X K R O O T S Anna Beth Gorman

I miss being a kid because…

CASSY MEISENHEIMER …I could call the request line at the radio station to dedicate a song and then hear it played on the radio.

TERRI SANDEFUR I don’t miss anything

KARA HUMPHREY …your biggest problems only required Band-Aids, but your mom always went a step further and threw in a kiss too. Thanks mom.

LEAH ORR …I had no responsibilities and someone else was in charge of my hair.

about being a kid. I am a control freak and you couldn’t control anything!

MEGAN GRIFFIN …I loved nap time.

MATT CORNELIUS …I didn’t care about things like what to wear since my parents dressed me. Looking back at some of my old pictures though, it’s obvious they didn’t care much either.

LIZ FLIPPO …I was encouraged to take naps and I had a higher metabolism!

BAILEY GRAVITT …My hardest decision was choosing which Crayon color to use!

TERRI GRAVITT …I was skinny, and I had no bills.

MADDY GREEN …I could see my family every day!

TIFFANY HORTON …I miss long carefree

BRIAN JONES …the only real worry I had was making it home before the streetlamps came on… and I miss watching Saturday morning cartoons.

summer days and my mom making dinner every night.

MARY MIDDLEBROOKS …I could draw whenever I liked!

CAROLINE PURTLE …I got to order off the kid’s menu without being judged.

EMILY SARINE …Saturday morning

LIBBY WHITE …vacations and traveling with my family was the best!

cartoons in my jammies until Saved by the Bell was over at 10:30 was the epitome of relaxation.




2801 Richmond Road • Suite 38 Texarkana, Texas 75503 903.949.1460 letstalk@txkmag.com txkmag.com Publisher C A R D I N A L P U B L I S H I N G Staff C A S S Y M E I S E N H E I M E R cassy@txkmag.com

T E R R I S A N D E F U R terri@txkmag.com

K A R A H U M P H R E Y kara@txkmag.com

Kara Humphrey, Terri Sandefur, Leah Orr, Cassy Meisenheimer, Matt Cornelius, Megan Griffin

L E A H O R R leah@txkmag.com

H appy first birthday to Cardinal Publishing! We started this journey a year ago, and what a year it has been. Our initial intent was to be a monthly printed publication, hence the name Texarkana Monthly , but 2020 had other plans. It inspired us to step outside the box, transitioning our debut from print to a digital weekly correspondence, Talk Tuesday . Our team had lots of laughs about our name being Texarkana Monthly . “Texarkana Digital Weekly” would have made more sense because the print magazine did not officially become a reality until November. So, after an exhilarating year of pivots, we are celebrating our one- year anniversary by changing our name to Texarkana Magazine . We are so much more than a monthly publication, and our new name better reflects who we are as a community partner. We are Texarkana. Our Talk Tuesday weekly digital correspondence is delivered directly to your inbox. Each online story is told from the writer’s perspective. They are as unique as the authors and introduce us to more of our fabulous neighbors. Usually, when we ask someone to write one of these, the first thing we hear is, “I am not a writer!” But each week the contributors surprise themselves as they artfully tell their amazing stories in their own voice. Sign-up online if you have not already. You do not want to miss a Tuesday!

M E G A N G R I F F I N megan@txkmag.com

Our print magazine is published on the first of each month. Over 6,800 issues are delivered directly to mailboxes and over 3,000 are distributed around the Texarkana area. Each month we have stories covering business, politics, community, culture, sports, entertainment, life, style and our “TXK Roots.” We love sharing stories about people from our area because as our tagline says, “Everyone is famous in their hometown.” Besides our weekly online stories and monthly print magazine, we have also taken on community projects and design services. We also continue to expand our digital platform, social media and website. Without our readers, my incredible staff and amazing contributors, none of this would even be possible. Another group who deserves a big shout-out is our local USPS. They are so helpful working with us each month. The icing on the cake is the advertisers who have trusted us with their business over this past year. Thank you! You are all making it possible for me to live my dream. We have more local stories to share, so, thank you for welcoming us into your lives. Enjoy all Texarkana Magazine has to offer.


Local Sources C L A R E A N G I E R L I N D S E Y C L A R K C O U R T N E Y D A V I S G R A C I E H I G G I N S M O L LY K E N D R I C K V I C K I M C M A H O N





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 .


P U B L I S H E R ’ S L E T T E R




B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S


A suburb outside of Texarkana, Texas, the city of Nash has seen consistent growth in recent years. New and old businesses alike have brought vital economic opportunity to the region and rebranded the city as a hot spot in Bowie County. Nationwide commerce has taken a hit since the introduction of COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, however, Nash’s business activity was ultimately unaffected because many of its businesses are industrial or production based. For example, the recently restarted aluminum mill just added 300 jobs to the area. “Nash’s success can be attributed, in part, to our Business Park that is owned by the Nash Industrial Development Corporation,” says Robert Bunch, Mayor of Nash. “The Nash Business Park hosts businesses that include hair salons, HVAC, woodworks, gyms, precision hydraulics and machining, Amazon distributorships, dry cleaning, custom clothing, professional lighting and sound, commercial recording, healthcare equipment, construction companies, firearm supplies and heavy manufacturing.” This eclectic selection of businesses has been fundamental to prosperity. Nash’s retail sales tax revenue has seen an increase of 20 percent for 2020 and now has an increase of 17 percent for the first half of 2021. Higher sales tax revenue means more money is being spent at home, and more taxes equal more funding for local services like fire and police departments and education. A great example is Atwoods Ranch and Home, which is currently the largest source of sales-tax revenue in Nash. “We pride ourselves on ease of doing business in Nash,” says Bunch. “We want to see businesses locate here and we do our best to keep the process simple and timely for builders and business owners. With regard to residential, we have plenty of land available for housing and neighborhoods that could enjoy low property tax, friendly citizens and quiet living.” The population of Nash is approximately 3,400, with around 1,500 workers coming in from outside of Nash every day. Although it is a small-town, it provides substantial employment opportunities to the surrounding area. Both BWI Companies, Inc. and JCM Industries, Inc. had a record- setting fiscal year in 2020. Combined they supply about 300 jobs for the city. Texarkana Aluminum currently has 275 employees. Located across the street is Amerinox Processing, a new aluminum finishing factory, with 15-20 employees and growing.


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“ We don’t consider Nash as an island. We consider

BWI has long suppor ted Nash residents and made sizable contributions outside the state. Founded as a retail seed store in 1958 by Betty and Bob Bunch, the company moved to wholesale operations in 1972. According to Amy Bowers, BWI’s Director of Human Resources, they have since “expanded to a total of 20 locations, including eight full line distribution centers across the mid-south and southeastern United States.” There are 151 employees who work in Nash and a field sales staff of over 125, with over 600 employees company-wide. BWI also hosts an annual expo that produces a significant portion of the company’s overall annual sales; however, like most businesses during the pandemic, BWI has had to adapt. “[We were] faced with the inability to host a large in-person event, but the company’s extremely talented IT team immediately began working to launch a virtual expo. The virtual expo debuted in August and was so successful that the company is considering a hybrid event in the years ahead,” says Bowers. A staple of Nash production is aluminum, agricultural and infrastructure repair supplies, which several businesses have specialized in for decades. Nash’s companies prove their market can keep up with the times. In 2001, Texarkana Aluminum “launched what has become the metals industry’s most popular and powerful Internet web order platform,” according to Ta Chen International, Inc. ourselves as a member of the whole region. ” Robert Bunch

ROBERT BUNCH Mayor of Nash, Texas

DOUG BOWERS Nash, Texas City Administrator

Bunch says he would love to see more residential opportunities in the future, as well as services. “If I had a wish list, I would like to see more retail businesses and restaurants in the City,” says Bunch. There is always room for improvement in any town. What is crucial is a city’s stability, growth and community. “We are fortunate to have a City Council and Mayor that have a unified vision for the City,” says Bunch. “We enjoy quality relationships with Bowie and Miller Counties, Texarkana, Texas and Arkansas, Wake Village, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, TexAmericas Center and AR- TX REDI. Not to sound cliché, but we do feel that a rising tide lifts all ships, and we try to put that in practice in everything that we do.” Nash does not have the metropolitan exuberance that other Texas suburbs may have, but it has familiarity and provides a space for new beginnings. “I love that Nash has a thriving industrial and commercial base and it also has a small-town feel when it comes to home and family,” says Bunch. Although Nash can be seen as just another suburb, Bunch recognizes its importance and its potential. Its growth has only begun. “I believe that Nash has an extremely bright future,” says Bunch. “We don’t consider Nash as an island. We consider ourselves as a member of the whole region. We want our citizens, businesses and visitors to have a seamless experience while they are here.”

“Today, over 75 percent of the company’s daily transactions are completed efficiently through this technology platform.” This quarter Texarkana Aluminum will transition to twenty-four seven production, and will be at 100 percent operation. Its sales are already at 100 percent of production. JCM Industries planted their roots in Nash in 1976 by locals Gladys and James Morriss. Since then, they’ve become a leading manufacturer in pipe fittings and fabrications. As 2021 kicks off, they are on a record-setting pace. JCM Industries is “looking forward to a very productive year in that expectations are that the new administration will put much emphasis on the country’s infrastructure.” Amerinox Processing is one of the newest developments in town, with a state- of-the art 130,000 square-foot factory that will work in cohesion with Texarkana Aluminum. It resides on 26 acres which allows for future expansion. “We have client interfaces with the mill and our system providing real time access to inventory, work in process, mills test reports, bills of lading and more,” according to Amerinox Processing. “These advanced systems provide unique and useful information to the customer, allowing instantaneous exchange for exceptional service.” More jobs means more need for housing. Two multi-family housing units are currently under construction: row- house apartments on Kings Highway and duplexes on New Boston Road. Mayor


B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S


B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S


T here are ten standing committees in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Many of these committees are familiar to you, and by the committee’s name are self-explanatory in purpose, such as Education, Transportation and Public Health. Each committee accomplishes good work for the people of Arkansas and often touches the lives of Arkansans. I would offer to you that the House Judiciary impacts every Arkansan each and every day. If you have ever received a speeding ticket, been the victim of a crime, committed a crime, owned a gun, been in an abusive relationship, appeared in court or had a will drafted, the Judiciary Committee has had a direct impact on your life. The Judiciary Committee reviews matters pertaining to state and local courts, employees of the courts, civil and criminal procedures, estates and trust matters, business law, and civil and criminal law. Often, controversial bills come before this committee, garner the headlines and grab the media attention, as has Senate Bill

24, commonly known as Stand Your Ground . On that bill alone, the committee heard nearly five hours of testimony from citizens throughout our state who came to express their views on the bill. But that is just one of the dozens of bills this committee will consider this session. Of the more than 800 bills filed so far this session, over 60 have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and by the end of session, the committee will hear well over 100 bills. We meet twice a week during the session. In the interim, we meet once a month to study issues we need to address in the next session. Of the twenty members of the House Judiciary Committee, seven of us are attorneys. If you know anything about attorneys, you can imagine the number of questions asked. The committee also includes small business owners, farmers, a retired law enforcement officer, and teachers, just to name a few. There are seven women, five African Americans and we represent all four corners of the state. We are a diverse group, and it is important for a committee such as the House Judiciary to be diverse, to represent various segments of


B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S


B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S


our state, and to have robust discussions on the impact proposed legislation will have on our citizens. Together, we are able to ask questions about broader implications. Often, those questions lead to amendments that make a good bill a better one. Every session, there are a number of bills introduced which deal with criminal laws and which have a direct impact on sentencing. The committee never takes these proposals lightly. Enhancing sentences on crimes that hurt Arkansans are often popular, but experience has taught that long-lasting repercussions do not always serve society well. With over 16,000 people in prison or jail, Arkansas has the fourth highest state imprisonment rate in the country. Only Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma have a greater percentage of their population incarcerated. Texas, a state known for being tough on crime, comes in sixth on that list. The Judiciary Committee receives information regularly as to our prison population, the parole population, the number of repeat offenders, and the cost to the state. It is important for the committee

Evidence has shown when programs like this are in place, chi ldren are less likely to commit crimes as an adult. In this session, the House Judiciary advanced an expansion of the specialty cour t system, now Act 58, which is designed to give certain offenders an opportunity to avoid prison time by addressing addiction, of fer ing l i fe sk i l ls and opportunities for employment. Our commi t tee also spends a great deal of time addressing laws regarding sex offenders. There are over 11,800 registered sex offenders in Arkansas. They live in every county of the state. Bills are introduced each session regarding where sex offenders can and cannot be allowed. It is the duty of our committee to scrutinize these bills to protect our citizens, but at the same time to weigh the unintended consequences of forcing an individual into homelessness or unemployment. None of these questions have easy answers, but I am proud to say that the members of House Judiciary are careful and thoughtful in their deliberations. There are many pressing

Arkansas State Representative Carol Dalby is the first woman to chair the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee. submitted photo

issues that lie ahead in the 93rd General Assembly. I am confident that our committee will meet the challenges with the same determination, grit and commitment to do our very best for the citizens of Arkansas, no matter their circumstances. I am honored that House Speaker Matthew Shepherd appointed me to chair this committee for a second term. I am the first woman to chair the House Judiciary Committee, and I am confident I will not be the last. I want to encourage Arkansans, if they have not already, to watch how our committee process works. All committee meetings are live-streamed and archived at www.arkansashouse.org. Thank you for the opportunity to be your representative in the 93rd General Assembly for the State of Arkansas.

to ask, with every bill before us, could this have unintended consequences, could it disproportionally impact minorities, would it really make our streets safer, or does it make us feel better? Sometimes those questions are not welcomed ones or politically popular, but if we do not ask them now, Arkansans answer for it later. Evaluating legislation impacting sentencing is one way we address this issue. The other is by attacking the prison pipeline. In 2019, the House Judiciary advanced what would later become Act 189. This legislation transformed the juvenile justice system by utilizing the validated risk assessment tool, creating plans for diversion options to maximize benefits for juvenile offenders, and then developing a plan for reinvestment of funds into community- based services. Simply put, we are on a path to getting children the help they really need instead of sending them to juvenile detention.


B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S


B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S




V olunteers are not paid-not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. With most of us leading busy lives, the idea of volunteering may seem impossible. How can we fit anything else into our already jam-packed schedules? Why would we do that? Despite all the other important things that compete for her time, Joan Carter, our own hometown treasure, has made it her mission to do exactly that. She is a woman who has made it her mission to lighten the burden for thousands of Texarkana residents for over five decades now. She has a gift for seeing a need and with tenacity, determination and perseverance, she steps in to do what she can to make things better. Judy Morgan, friend and partner in many of her volunteer efforts, shares, “Joan is someone who looks to the future with optimism, who sees the glass as half full, who finds the positive about every situation. She recognizes that the job one can do is only as good as the people on the team. From her conviction that people are everything, [she] magnifies all impact as a master of bringing out the good of every individual on the team at every level. The

essence of her superior leadership skills coupled with a servant’s heart is just the way she lives her life—whether it is in the workplace or not. Texarkana is a better place because Joan lives here and serves here.” Carter was born in Clarksville, Texas, where she had a “wonderful” childhood. She met her husband, the Honorable Jack Carter, in high school when he moved to Clarksville from Detroit, Texas. After she attended Paris Junior College, they married in 1964 when he was starting law school at the University of Texas. In 1967, they moved to Texarkana, and he began his legal career. They have three children: Sondra, Clay and Justin. Although not a native of Texarkana, she immediately found ways to give back to her new community. It all started when she became involved with the Junior League of Texarkana. Carter says, “The Junior League offers outstanding training opportunities and encourages volunteerism. I took advantage of the training and workshops on goal setting and time management, as well as many others.” She served on the Board of Directors for several years and went on to serve as their President. The

Junior League encouraged its presidents to serve on community boards, so this opened the door for an invitation to serve on the Texarkana Special Education Center Board of Directors. She says she was “surprised and astounded by the many services and programs that were offered to the community that she was unaware of.” As a member of the Board of Texarkana Special Education Center, Carter encouraged the center to hire someone to do public relations and fundraising. “I thought the community should be made aware of the many programs and services available to help those in need, such as training, transportation, meals, housing, therapies and many others, as well as to raise much needed funds to support their programs.” She did not realize then that she had just written her own job description! After a few months, Patty Smith, Administrative Director, and Frances Holcomb, Program Director, asked her to consider taking a part-time position as Development Coordinator until they could find someone to do the job. Joan took that position, and her life became a mirror of her favorite quote, “Find something you love to


C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E


do, and you will never work a day in your life.” That is “exactly what happened to me!” she said. “I became passionate about serving people who had special needs in our community and remained in that position for 33 years!” The name of the Special Education Center was changed to Opportunities, Inc., to represent the many opportunities available to individuals in Texarkana. “Patty, Frances and I became a wonderful team, and Opportunities programs and services increased greatly. We were blessed by a dedicated and committed Board of Directors who were friends and were supportive of new ideas and projects.” They brought the Nike Golf Tournament to Texarkana, and it was a tremendous

Texarkana Independent School District, St. James Day School and Pleasant Grove Independent School District. When her daughter was a first-grade teacher at PGISD, she recognized a need for the elementary school facility to be upgraded, so she became involved in passing a successful bond election. She served on the committee which assessed the needs and helped organize campaigns. Pleasant Grove residents voted to approve a bond issue, and the new beautiful Margaret Fischer Davis Elementary School is now open for all Pleasant Grove Elementary students. In honor of Joan’s meritorious civic service, she received the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce C. E. Palmer Award in

success. It was a community effort that helped raise funds to support people with special needs in the Texarkana area. “It was the first event that I knew of that seemed to erase the state line,” Carter recalls. With the help of the Board of Directors, they held the most successful capital campaign of that time, raising over seven million dollars to build a debt free facility. Carter continues to serve as a member of the Opportunities, Inc. Foundation Board. Lisa Shoalmire, the current president of the Board of Directors shared, “I came on the Board at Opportunities at a time that was later in Joan’s tenure there. To a young board member, Joan, with her charm and grace, made the fundraising and development role look effortless. In reality, fundraising is very difficult. Joan is a tenacious workhorse behind the scenes in raising awareness and funds for the most vulnerable in our community at Opportunities. We value her marvelous legacy!”

2009. Established in 1941 and named for former Texarkana Gazette publisher, Clyde E. Palmer, this is Texarkana’s most prestigious award for individuals with extraordinary lifetime dedication and service to the community. Joan humbly shared, “When I think of the names of the people who have received that prestigious award, I am amazed and shocked that my name is listed among theirs! There are so many good people in our community who care about others and want to improve the quality of life for all. None of these things have I done on my own!” Currently, Joan is involved with

The essence of her superior leadership skills coupled witha servant’s heart is just the way [Joan] lives her life… ” Judy Morgan

The Clay Eichler Memorial Foundation. Clay’s Golf and Guitars is a yearly event that raises funds to support different non-profits in our community, such as education, scouting and supporting individuals who are struggling. She and her husband also remain very active and at Central Christian Church where they are committed to serving in various ministries. Wherever there is a need, you can count on the Carters to show up and lend a helping hand. Her greatest joy of all, however, is spending time with her family. Because of the pandemic, she and her husband have not been able to travel, which is one of their favorite things. They have planned a beach trip this summer and look forward to spending time with their family, especially the loves of her life, her grandchildren: Carter, Colton, Caroline, Sydney, Ellison and Evie. “Throughout my career and volunteer efforts, I have met wonderful people who worked right along with me and have become dear friends. That is one of the greatest benefits and biggest blessings of becoming involved in the community,” Carter said. “While serving others, hopefully you are improving the quality of life in your community. It is a joy to work with friends who share your passion for helping others.” What a light Joan Carter is in Texarkana. Indeed, no one is more cherished! May we all slow down, look around and ask ourselves more often-whose burden we can make lighter? And then go DO IT!

In the early 90s, Carter’s husband, Judge Jack Carter, was serving as District Judge and presided over cases of abused and neglected children. He became concerned that these children were not receiving adequate support in abusive situations. Together with others in the community, Judge Carter started CASA Texarkana to advocate for the hope, healing and justice these children deserve. In true Joan Carter style, she saw the need and with much enthusiasm jumped in to support her husband and assist those who need it most in our community. She served on the Texas State CASA Board in Austin for three years. Brandy Eldridge, current Executive Director of CASA Texarkana shared. “We need women who know when to fight for injustice and when to open their arms for healing. Joan Carter IS that woman. She is not going to back down when change needs to happen. She is also not going to miss an opportunity to show kindness and love. She has been that for me–a shoulder to cry on and a kick in the pants to get me going!” As a mother, Carter also felt the need to contribute to her children’s educational involvement. She has volunteered with




C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E



F or some of us, music is a getaway from the real world. For others, it’s just fun. But for many, it is a passion from the very first day they pick up an instrument. Bryan Jefferies is a guitar- maker, musician, photographer, and more, bringing art in multiple forms to our community. Along with music, which is “his main diet,” he also runs two media businesses, Fresh Focus Films and Over the Edge Studios, where he does event and commercial photography and video work. His projects include music recording,

in him came out and began to shine with the creation of B-Custom Guitars. When Jefferies begins a guitar, he breaks it down into three components: the look, the feel, and finally the sound. He believes if it doesn’t appeal to the eye, the musician may never pick it up to play. Jefferies and his team at B-Custom have recently teamed up with others to provide

business, Jefferies can call his own shots and offer ideas for guitars, to create a custom experience for each individual. His business is currently offering nine different body shapes to choose from. “By going to Bcustomguitars.com, a customer will be able to view the options and make their choices to start their dream machine build.” The website aids customers in creating their

oil finishes to their guitars, giving them a glossy fresh look that creates a beautiful instrument you may never want to put down. After deciding to pick up

ideal instrument. You dream it, you pick it, they build it. It is a pretty f a s c i n a t i n g process. A lot of Jefferies’ own taste goes into h i s de s i gns .

writing and performing, which he says are his true loves in life. About a year ago, he began teaching high school in Paris, Texas. After getting settled into his new job, he decided to treat himself by having a guitar built, custom-made for himself. His father was a guitarist and got him interested in the music world from the very beginning. “There was always a guitar around,” he said. Two of his brothers were also musicians, so Jefferies has been surrounded by music all his life. That lifelong love of music has evolved over the years, from the performance aspect into Jefferies’ work, and now into a creative outlet that has become a business of its own. “I also was heavily sewn into the music retail scene in Texarkana

Music was almost a second language in my house. ” Bryan Jefferies

for over 20 years, having been associated with Loveall Music, Texarkana Pro Sound, and Brook Mays Music. During all this time, I have always performed in local bands and have enjoyed making and sharing music with the public. Now I have the opportunity to share again, this time in the form of creating custom instruments.” After contemplating having a custom guitar built for himself and having come up empty-handed, he watched hours upon hours of YouTube videos and took the money he set back to have one built to use instead on the purchase of the equipment needed to build one of his own. It didn’t take long for that endeavor to begin its evolution into something bigger as well. “If you can build one, why not build a company that can make many?” This is where the entrepreneur

the guitar, it is important to assess the feel in your hands. If it is not comfortable or just doesn’t feel right, it won’t work. This is where things like string height, neck shape, and body curves come into play; you can’t just build a one-size-fits-all instrument that works for everybody. Jefferies builds guitars like he likes them, hoping his experience will produce instruments others like as well. Of course, the sound may be the most important part. Jefferies says that pickups and how they are wired play a huge part in perfecting the notes you hear. He has recently teamed up with Cody Pappas, of Pappas Amps, to brainstorm ideas for a few new or uncommon pickup ideas and designs to add in the near future. B-Customs Guitars is all about constant innovation and new ideas. Through this

Each instrument will have that extra flair and when you see it, you will know “it’s a B-Customs guitar.” “My motivation comes from the love of music and the instruments involved in making it. A great instrument can inspire an artist and help in the process of writing and performing. My personal love for guitars is part of the story. The other part is the end product.” Bryan Jefferies is passionate about bringing quality and aesthetic beauty to the thing he loves the most—music. Years of experience have made him keenly aware of what it takes to excite a musician and inspire them to see it, pick it up and play it. Innovation, exotic wood choices, top hardware brands, fair pricing and a passion for details make B-Custom Guitars the right choice for any discerning musician.


C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E



E very parent dreams their child will do big things and make a difference, but for Amanda and Lance Gainey, that dream is a reality… and a wild ride! The Gainey’s 13-year-old twin sons, Ethan and Hayden, are sweeping titles across the country for Miniature Bull Riding, and both boys have achieved world champion status. Ethan won the International Miniature Bull Riding Association (IMBA) Junior World Championship in Mesquite, Texas, and Hayden won the International Miniature Rodeo Association (IMRA) Junior Mini Reserve World Championship in Guthrie, Oklahoma. “Both boys hold titles in different associations,” Amanda explained. “They go back and forth with each other and are each other’s biggest supporter! They say, ‘We aren’t against each other. It’s us against our bulls.’” Along with their big sister, Makayla (17), the Gainey kids are a tight-knit, Jesus- loving, hard-working crew. Makayla is their biggest fan, and uses her talents to serve as their photographer, Instagram manager and stylist. Living in Fouke, Arkansas, the Gaineys are raising their children to work hard, stay humble and chase their dreams.

Professional bull riders Ethan and Hayden Gainey on their farm. photo by Brian Jones



“When they got started, it was with a local organization, Southwest High School Rodeo Association with a guy there named Mike Vickers,” Lance recalled. “The twins were as green as they come. They didn’t have a clue, so he pulled them under his wing. You could see the twins’ legs just shaking when they climbed on their first bulls. I’d be holding on to them, and I could hear their hearts racing through their vests.” “It felt weird,” Ethan said, “but I wasn’t really nervous.” Hayden agreed, saying, “The first time wasn’t bad, but when my second time came, this one had big ol’ horns on him. I was nervous because I knew what was coming, but then I rode him.” Protected by a helmet, vest, chaps, gloves, spurs, and a lot of Momma’s prayers, the Gainey boys still climb onto the back of the bull, not knowing what will happen once the gate opens, but determined to hang on. While Amanda and big sister, Makayla, are in the stands cheering, praying and videoing, Lance gives the pep talk. “Before they ride, I’ll grab them by the facemask and get our heads together and say, ‘Look at me. When you get in there, it’s a bear fight, son. Take it to this dude and own him! It’s just another momma’s calf.’ There have been a few times I’ve had to jump in the arena and help pull them out.” “They want to keep dad close,” Amanda added, “because dad’s going to make sure that they’re ok. We love

Makayla, Amanda, Ethan, Hayden and Lance Gainey photo by Brian Jones

It seems the rodeo is a passion that runs in the family. Lance remembers growing up with his grandpa, and says, “whatever he caught, whether it was a Holstein heifer or a cow or a bull, it didn’t matter how big it was, you just rode it. I never thought I’d make it past 20 years old,” he said, “let alone have kids and them be World Champion bull riders.” Even from the beginning, the love of bull riding was woven into Amanda and Lance’s relationship. “When we dated, that was our thing,” Amanda shared. “We would go to rodeos and watch bull riding. Every other event at the rodeo is just not my favorite, but bull riding has always captured me.” Lance says, “I’m just a little adrenaline junkie.” When Ethan and Hayden started watching bull riding videos on YouTube several years ago, like their parents, they were instantly hooked. “We watched professionals like Chase Outlaw and Jess Lockwood,” Hayden said. “They’re real cowboys.” So, when the boys first expressed interest in bull riding, Amanda said, “They love adrenaline and action. They wanted to ride a bull, and I was all about it! Lance warned me that his grandpa always said, ‘when they ride, it will get in their blood.’”

the bull fighters that are out there on the dirt protecting our guys and getting them off the bull. Animals can be unpredictable, and that’s part of the hype of what they love. But they always know dad will jump in and tackle that bull if he has to.” The boys have had a few scary moments in the arena. “There was this one bull, Yellow,” Ethan shared. “He chipped my back teeth with his horn. That’s the only time I ever forgot my mouthpiece.” “And once at this big final,” Hayden added, “my vest got ripped off, and I got stepped on by a bull. I had this big bruise on my back.” No matter how tense things have gotten, though, Amanda remains resolved. “A lot of people ask, ‘How do you do this, mom?’ ‘How do you let your babies crawl on that breathing animal and watch them buck them off?’” she said, “But we pray before every ride, and I’m just passionate about what all my children are passionate about. They love it, and we support it. I tell parents that you can get injured in baseball. You can get injured in football. Everything that boys are going to do is physical contact, and there’s a chance for injury. But we don’t want to put them in a bubble. We want them to excel, and in doing that, you have to take chances and chase that passion.”


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We aren’t against each other. It’s us against our bulls. ” Hayden and Ethan Gainey

That passion, combined with a tremendous amount of hard work, has earned Hayden and Ethan $20,000 in competition winnings since they started riding four years ago. If the boys could buy anything in the world, they said it would be more bulls, and they’d love to have their own arena. With their winnings, they purchased their first bull a few years ago, and that purchase has grown into Gainey Bulls, a business they share with their dad. “Now that we own [ten] bucking bulls, different rodeo associations will ask us to bring our bulls to their event as a stock contractor,” the Gaineys explained. “We get paid for every bull that is bucked. Some events the boys are making between $200-$500. We’re already making little businessmen- little entrepreneurs… For the boys, being stock contractors and tending to their animals, teaches them so much. Our three children are definitely not lazy. Everything they have, they’ve earned through hard work,” Amanda said. These hard-working boys have evolved from watching other bull riders on the internet to YouTube sensations themselves and inspiring other kids. But, even with all of their achievements, to the Gaineys, there is a greater purpose here for their family. “At the end of the day, it’s all about ministry,” Lance said. “We do devotionals with the kids at these rodeos. It’s a big thing for these kids because some have never

heard a scripture quoted or anything preached. So, when we go to these events and do devotionals with these kids and they accept Christ as their Savior, it’s not about the 90-point bull ride when a kid gets saved right there at the event.” Not only are they impacting kids and families at events throughout the country, but the Gaineys hosted their first annual Bull Riding Clinic in Fouke on March 20, 2021, for ages 5-17. They’ve kept the rates low so that anyone can learn with the guidance of the Gainey boys. “We encourage families to be passionate about what their child loves and allow them to chase dreams,” Amanda said. “If we had not taken this leap of allowing that first bull ride just a few years ago, the boys would have missed out on something great.” Every day, the Gaineys are intentional about pouring truth into their kids, reminding them to keep the right perspective and their eyes on Christ. “The boys know that in everything you do, you put God first,” Lance said. “I tell them all the time: your best day is someone else’s warmup. You have to get after it and push yourself to be a better competitor, but always remain humble because you’re never too good for anything.” “Right now, this is our season… of bucking bulls,” said Amanda. “I tell the

twins that this is the season God has given us. Of course, their dream is to be the next big thing and to make those million dollars, but I remind them that the Lord has their destiny planned. Right now, we’re embracing the season that we’re in because it may change. He may have something else greater in store.” Seasons change but working hard and giving God the glory in all they do will always remain the top priority for the Gaineys. Determined to chase their dreams, they are pursuing their passion, and they are hanging on for the ride of their lives.


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photo by Maddy Green


snowpocalypse of 2021 (as most in Texarkana are calling it). It was another full business week of iced-over roads and more than enough snow to keep me apart for far too long from my one true love-Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. (Move over Honey-Butter Chicken Biscuit) Back then I was convinced that pressure cooker bunny prison was the worst thing in the world, but since then there has been no shortage of dramatic events in our world to give us perspective. We definitely take our everyday pleasures for granted far too often. After only a week of not seeing my friends during the snowstorm, I was dying to re-enter the world in my best outfit and live my best life again. I know you probably felt the same way, too, but thankfully, it was not the end of the world! COVID restrictions are beginning to ease, and the snow is all melted, so throw that best outfit on, grab your friends, find a patio and go do what we were born to do at the fun Texarkana events happening in April!

It’s hard to believe that only five years ago this month I was sitting in Central Mall, on a purple Easter egg shaped throne, with a giant yellow duck towering over me, holding crying, screaming, adorably dressed babies in my lap. I was slowly, but surely, losing every ounce of hydration in my body because of my overactive sweat glands, mixed with an Easter bunny suit that reached temperatures of at least 100 degrees. Fifteen minutes in that suit would beat an hour of yoga any day. Good times! This is how I will forever remember the month of April. But a lot has changed in five years! I have had plenty of time to ponder why I ever said yes to being a mall Easter bunny during the now infamous quarantine of 2020. She was a gem! I was blessed with even more time at home to examine my life during the gorgeous, but ever so annoying,

76th Annual Four States Fair & Rodeo at Four States Fairgrounds—April 2-11 There is absolutely no better way to start April than with the 76th Annual Four States Fair & Rodeo, back for the first time in two years! I cannot believe it has been two years since I have ridden the Avalanche-my favorite fair ride! The fair was a staple of my childhood and I know the same goes for so many other Texarkanians! The rides may bring me there, but the funnel cakes KEEP me there! If you are looking for fun for the entire family, the annual fair starts on April 2, and will be in town until April 11 at the Four States Fairgrounds, located at 3700 East 50th Street, Texarkana, Arkansas.

AMMP Motorsports Monster Mash & Demolition Derby Two-Night Event at Four States Fairgrounds—April 2-3 I still remember my miniature light blue wax covered ear plugs from these two events many years ago when I was just a wee child. My uncle was in the demolition derby, so my entire family went to support him. Listen, I’m not trying to hate on a bunch of monster trucks running over smaller objects or loud cars crashing into each other, all in the name of fun. If you love that kind of thing, then great! This event is for you. It has never been my cup of tea, but I have no doubt it will be a blast for many. That is what makes Texarkana so great… it has something for every taste.

If you are interested, the Monster Mash doors will open at 5 pm on the Four States Fair’s opening night Friday, April 2, with the actual show starting at 7 pm. The 30th Annual Demolition Derby doors will open at 6 pm and starts at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 3! Texarkana Symphony Orchestra presents Andrew Von Oeyen playing piano for one night only!—April 17 Maybe I could have been the next piano prodigy when I was a kid, if I would have actually stuck with it the three different opportunities I had to take lessons. But, alas, I quit every time. Laziness got the best of me. Now I am relegated to dreaming of what


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could have been. But that is perfectly fine because Andrew von Oeyen is definitely one of the greats and he is coming to Texarkana. Texarkana Symphony Orchestra’s official website describes this brilliant musician as “hailed worldwide for his elegant and insightful interpretations, balanced artistry, and brilliant technique.” He has “established himself as one of the most captivating pianists of his generation.” And we get to have him right here in Texarkana! How cool is that? On Saturday, April 17, he will stand before us, playing LIVE at the Historic Perot Theatre in downtown Texarkana, beginning at 7:30 pm! Call the Perot Theatre Box office to purchase tickets at 903.792.4992. The Perot Theatre is located at 221 Main Street, Texarkana, Texas. CASA Colorful Run 5K at Trinity Baptist Church/Cross-Country Trail—April 24 If you have been reading my articles each month, you should know by now that running is not really my thing. Fast food is more my thing. But throw in a good cause and I might say, “count me in!” The 7th Annual CASA Colorful 5K run benefits CASA for Children and the services they provide to the more than 1,100 abused and neglected children of our community every year. The run is a GREAT way to help this amazing organization! It is a 3.1-mile fitness running/walking event on a cross country trail. The race begins with each participant releasing a bag of color into the air creating a beautiful burst of color. Stations will also be located throughout the race route where you will be showered with brightly colored powder, turning your white shirt into a color explosion. The color is made from eco-friendly food colored cornstarch. On-site registration begins at 8 am and prices begin at $15 for kids ages five through eleven, but will increase after 9:30 am on April 9, 2021, so sign up as soon as possible! The same goes for ages 12 and up. Sign up begins at $30 and goes up from there on April 9, 2021. Registration fees are non-refundable and include one color bag and one t-shirt per paid registrant. Come

on out and support a glorious cause in a colorful way! Trinity Baptist Church is located at 3115 Trinity Boulevard, Texarkana, Arkansas. T-Town 5 Playing At Hopkins Icehouse—April 24 Obviously, T-Town 5 is the band to have at your local restaurant. I have told you about them in previous months, and rightfully so. They deserve all the hype!

This awesome band will play at Hopkins Icehouse in historic downtown Texarkana on Saturday, April 24, and you do not want to miss it! The admission is completely free, so if you want wonderful drinks and great music, THIS is where you’ll find it! The night kicks off at 8 pm! Hopkins Icehouse is located at 301 East 3rd Street, Texarkana, Arkansas.

For more events visit



Kimberly Davis Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

Jeff Cross Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix

Mary Beth Womack Have You Seen Luis Velez by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Treva West Sherlock on Netflix

Shane Kennedy The Unseen Realm by Michael S. Heiser

Darla Partin Virgin River on Netflix


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Put me in, Coach!

photo by Maddy Green


it is not for the faint of heart. It’s a non-stop, full-throttle, adrenaline- inducing race to get your child to every practice, warm-up and game whatever the sport of the moment. For some, it is a calling. For others, it is a tolerance. But for all, it is what we do on the “reg” for our precious sports-loving offspring. Personally, I cannot claim to enjoy all aspects of the sports momming life. While I have many extroverted tendencies, I also value A LOT of time in my domestic domicile. I really love having all my people within the four walls of our home with nothing on the calendar except for the occasional spur-of-the-moment activity. However, because my son, Jack, really, REALLY loves sports, I take pleasure in stepping out of my introverted tendencies to see him enjoy something he’s passionate about. Let’s be honest, mommas, if there’s anything our kids are truly passionate about, whether it be sports, music, art, dance, or technology and that passion does not harm their little spirits, we need to be completely on board. Period. I was not the mom who dreamed of trophies and sideline snack distribution upon learning Jack was a boy during that telling

sonogram. I was more excited about all the cute baby clothes and the nursery I was going to decorate for my little boy. I had also already gotten the “okay” from his dad to be allowed to keep him in smocked clothing until, at least, two years old! (#southernmommasunite) As he got older, began playing and being mobile, it was extremely obvious that he was drawn to sports. If we would do it, that child would sit and roll a ball with either Ross or myself for hours. He just really liked it. Around two years old, he had the most precious, tiny basketball goal with little-bitty basketballs that he would slam dunk. You better know that we were cheering on every basket! So cute! Then, we entered the time of organized sports. We tried all that were available to us: soccer, tee-ball, basketball and flag football. Let it just be said, there is nothing cuter than a 3’-5” child in a ball cap and jersey purchased large enough for their name and number to fit across the back! I could eat those kids up with a spoon! EEEEKKK! At the beginning, it was like watching two adults herd cats between white lines on a small field of grass. It was adorable! As Jack grew and he learned the ropes of each sport, the entertainment was more


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