BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
For many families, farming is more than a job, it is a heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation. Farming is hard work and is often weary for those involved, but it is a rewarding work. Many families have given their lives to this way of living, a life that is commendable. It is has been said that a family farm is more than a business, it is a lifestyle, an ideal worth preserving. This concept is fully embodied by the Dollar family.
Ricky and Darcy Dollar both grew up in Polk County and met as young kids. “We both grew up on a farm and met as kids at the play days,” Darcy says. The play days were a time for families in the area that had an interest in riding horses and sharing laughs and good fellowship together. “It was like 35 years ago that we met, seems like forever ago,” says Ricky with a smile. Both Ricky and Darcy continued riding and participated in rodeo through their school years. During that time they lost contact with each other while they went to different schools in the county. “I had just graduated high school and we met up again. We started dating in 1998 and then got married in 2002,” Darcy recalls.
Now the family includes their three kids, Daisy, Jasper, and Josey, each of them loving the farm and rodeo life just as much as their parents. When asked what they do for fun, Josey piped up with a grin, “We rodeo, it’s on Saturdays.” It’s evident that the Dollars love everything about rural life in the area. Ricky is a cattle farmer, running a cow-calf operation of 100 cattle. Darcy works at a local accounting firm, but she loves the farm, especially her chickens and their garden. Life at the Dollar farm is busy work and constantly keeps them moving. “The kids all have chores to help with to make sure that things get done. It isn’t a free ride, without their help many things can’t get done. It’s just been our way of life,” explains Ricky. Farmers have said that children aren’t farm working for free to help their parents make a living, but they are part of families working together to make a life. This is true of the Dollar family, each of them pulling their weight to make it all possible. “I can’t think of a better place to raise our kids. If there isn’t hard work, there is no reward,” Ricky says.
Although there is much work to be done, the family loves having fun together. Daisy describes a fun time together, “We love getting dirty from playing. Some times we throw mud at each other and it’s so fun.” Along with riding horses here in Polk County, the Dollars travel all over to rodeo. Often you hear someone say that it’s a family affair, but this is certainly the case with the Dollars. All the kids are involved with competing or training for rodeo competition. With excitement and a grin, Jasper spoke up and said, “I do barrels, poles, and ride goats.” The family travels all over to compete and Daisy has enjoyed the fruits of her hard work. She has been competing in National Little Britches rodeos and has competed in the National Finals twice. At the end of April, Daisy will be going to Oklahoma City to compete in BBR (Better Barrel Races) World Finals. Rodeos are more than just a hobby for the Dollars, it is more like being with family. “Some of our good friends have been through rodeo over the years.”
As much as the family loves rodeo and has enjoyed the fun and opportunities it has provided, rodeo has also provided a way for them to care for the needs of others. In the last couple of weeks, more than 500,000 acres have been destroyed because of a fire that started in the Texas Panhandle. People have lost their homes, their livestock, their very livelihood. Seeing the devastation and the loss of so much, the Dollar family was moved with compassion and decided to help. “When you can see yourself in their situation, you realize how big the need really is.”
Originally, Daisy was supposed to go to a barrel racing clinic during her Spring Break, but because of other participants’ school schedules, she went a week early. “It was really God that lined this up. When we saw that we were going down a week early, we contacted Sabrina and asked how we could help.” In the end, the Dollars, through the generous donations of other people in the community, were able to take nearly two trailers full of supplies. “We believe that we are to be stewards of all that we have; whether that be land, money, cattle, or time. We felt that being a good steward would be giving to those in need,” explains Ricky.
Families like the Dollars are what makes small communities like Mena such wonderful places to live. When people pull together in crisis and times of need, it raises the appreciation for people around you. “We feel that there are so many good Christian people here, it makes living life here all that more fulfilling.”