Tara Powers, a 25-year-old Stephenville resident, had the experience of a lifetime when she was selected to compete in a cowboy television competition series called Ultimate Cowboy Showdown.
The show is an INSP television series hosted by country music icon Trace Adkins that features cowboys from across America who put their real-world cowboy skills to the test in team and individual challenges to determine how well they work together and who can rise above the rest.
Powers is originally from southern Iowa and grew up on a “pretty diversified small farm.” She attended Iowa State University and was the first person in her family and one of the very few in her town, not only to attend university, but to graduate.
She moved to Stephenville in June because it is the Cowboy Capital of the World.
“There’s a lot more opportunity here. I just needed a change of pace,” Powers said. “I rode horses before I could even walk. I always rode. I'd rather be a horseman than just a barrel racer."
Her friend saw a posting for Ultimate Cowboy Showdown and thought it was fitting for Powers.
“One thing that really got me interested was it said it was open to cowboys and it had an age limit, but it always said ‘cowboy’; it didn’t say ‘open to anybody or females.’ I didn’t know if it was a men’s only show but my dad said I could always do whatever I wanted, so I decided to apply,” Powers said.
She said the competition was challenging and that it was especially hard because of the host, Trace Adkins.
"I was trying to hold my life together because I’m a huge fan girl,” she said with a laugh. “It’s so much different than even rodeoing. When you’re in that setting, you’re going to forget how to do normal, everyday things so I’m really nervous to see that on camera, but it was an amazing experience. I was able to learn a lot and have educational conversations with the contestants. It was just neat to meet people who are so different but our goals are still the same.”
Powers enjoyed getting to talk about her love of agriculture.
“It was a really cool opportunity to share my passions for agriculture and talk about women in agriculture. We’re not in the light; we’re never really in the spotlight, so I was thinking that hopefully girls can see this and maybe they’re like me and they see that and think there’s no reason they can’t do anything if they set their mind to it.”
The series features Powers competing against 12 others with the winner getting to take home a herd of cattle worth over $50,000, plus they will receive the title of “Ultimate Cowboy.”
The show will premiere at 8 p.m. Oct. 14 on the INSP network. The series will air every night for six days and conclude Oct. 20.
“I just hope that people watch it and enjoy it. It was a really exciting experience and I’m really thankful to be a part of it. I think that it’s going to open up some more doors for people seeing agriculture in a positive light. People are going to see that we’re not like people in the movies, that these are real people and that was the most exciting part about it,” Powers said.