Just call them NASCAR Cowboys.
Stock car drivers Cody Coughlin and Grant Enfinger recently spent some time in the Fort Worth Stockyards, taking in the culture. It’s all part of a coming special on RIDE TV entitled “From Stock Cars to Stockyards.”
Over a two-day shoot, the drivers enjoyed Grady Spears’ country cooking at the Horseshoe Hill Cafe, found themselves the proud owners of real American-made cowboy hats from Best Hats in the Stockyards, tried a little two-stepping at Billy Bob’s, took lessons in trick roping and even rode the mechanical bull at Stockyards Station.
“It’s a really neat city. The history here is special,” Coughlin said. “The mayor [Betsy Price] is very nice. It takes a special person to take time out of her busy day to join us.
“I felt like I was in a Western movie when I was in the Stockyards. The history here is more pronounced and has more meaning behind it than a lot of other cities.”
The hour-long show will be broadcast on RIDE TV in late May; exact dates and times were still being determined. Segments from the show will be used to promote the NASCAR Camping World Truck World Series (NCWTS) June 9 and Nov. 3.
Craig Morris, president and board member of RIDE TV, is himself a cutting horse competitor and trainer and a member of the National Cutting Horse Association Riders Hall of Fame. Through his relationship with Duke and Rhonda Thorson, ThorSport Racing owners, he was able to bring this event to Fort Worth.
RIDE TV sponsors a truck and its drivers every year in ThorSport Racing, based in Sandusky, Ohio. ThorSport, which has competed in the NCWTS since 1996, prides itself on being the longest-tenured team in that series with 923 starts.
RIDE TV is a 24-hour high-definition television network dedicated to showcasing the horse culture and lifestyle. The network offers a mix of reality shows, equine event coverage, documentaries, cooking demonstrations, children’s programming and more. It features celebrities, champions and personalities at the heart of America’s horse culture.
Put the two together and you have two drivers having the time of their lives in Cowtown.
“The demographics for NASCAR and the Western lifestyle are very similar. Fort Worth has a rich tradition of celebrating all that is Western,” Morris said. “We also have a rich tradition in NASCAR. Texas Motor Speedway is an iconic presence in North Fort Worth.
“Go north on I-35 and you can experience the Stockyards. Go farther north and you can see some of the fastest cars in the world circling the track at incredible speeds. It is a neat complement to an incredible city with a rich history.”
Morris, born and raised in Fort Worth, is well acquainted with both the Stockyards and Texas Motor Speedway.
“I have been able to see the Stockyards back before there was any work done and it was in its original state,” he said. “I actually lived north of town right when they were building Texas Motor Speedway, so I got to see that project and the Alliance project come together and grow. It has been incredible to watch this city expand but maintain that hometown feel that is Fort Worth.”
The idea for the special sprang from an existing show on RIDE TV, Jumping With Brittany, which focuses on the English side of things and the jumping horse world. It follows a young girl who is an Olympic hopeful, one of the up-and-comers in that sport.
Working on that show led to a partnership with a family that is involved in both NASCAR and the equestrian world.
“We are now involved with Thorsport Racing as well as Thorsport Farms on the horse side. It has been great exposure for us. We absolutely believe in the crossover audience between the equestrian world and the NASCAR world. It is a very mobile audience with a rural lifestyle.
“These people share a lot of the same values, so it has been a natural fit for us to involve NASCAR. We are about to launch a new television series called Horses and Horsepower, where we will focus on the crossover lifestyles in both these worlds. Families like the Pettys, the Earnhardts, Bruton Smith, and other families are involved in both motorsports and equestrian.”
Paige Duke, show co-host and spokesperson for RIDE TV, said she believes that her two worlds are colliding and that it is nothing short of exciting. She is a former Miss Sprint Cup.
“Fort Worth is such a special place, and you really get a feel for the old Wild West,” she said. “I love Western history and culture and I live on a ranch with my fiancé, Ty Murray, where I get to live this lifestyle daily.
“However, most people don’t get to experience a place like the Stockyards, and every time family comes to visit me in Texas that’s the first place I take them. Cody and Grant are now part of our family and I’m so thankful to share this experience with them.”
And from the sound of things, Coughlin and Enfinger had the time of their lives.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Enfinger said. “It’s a little bit country and there’s plenty to do without the touristy feel. I’ll come back.”