Cowgirls featured on RFD-TV’s “America’s Heartland” |

Cowgirls featured on RFD-TV’s “America’s Heartland”

Story by Amanda Radke | Mitchell, S.D.
Photos courtesy of Lyndsey Garber
Models Brooklynn Chester Scalva from Carlsbad, N.M., and Jessica Harder from Albuquerque, N.M., pose for the camera crew during filming for RFD-TV's show, "America's Heartland."

When a group of cowgirls got together in 2011 with the idea of creating a magazine devoted to the cowgirl way of life, little did they know it would garner such a rapid response. Dirt Road Daughters Magazine (DRD) was the brainchild of Thea Dreisbach of Greeley, Colo., who along with the help of a few other women, launched the premier issue in Setember 2011.

“DRD was born from a handful of ladies who found true cowgirl kinship with one another, and the desire to share that kinship with other rural, agricultural, equestrian and ranch women who are living the western lifestyle throughout the country and even the world,” said Dreisbach. “We have absolutely had some stumbling blocks in the past year as the interest in DRDM rocketed, and we simply couldn’t meet the demand; but, we felt those were ultimately good problems to have as they clearly indicated that our core value of building a publication dedicated to connecting a community of cowgirl spirit and dirt road souls, was being embraced! The popularity of DRD grew much faster than we anticipated, and as a group of a few girls with full time jobs, it became apparent our little ‘project’ was outstripping our resources. So, we had to take a step back and evaluate the best way to move forward. We decided to skip on the Winter 2012 Issue and will re-launch with our Spring 2013 Issue this April.”

Even though DRD had a setback for Dreisbach’s projected quarterly additions, it didn’t stop the magazine from earning a huge following on Facebook and from capturing the attention of RFD-TV. The women of DRD were approached to feature their cowgirl way of life on the show, “America’s Heartland.”

“America’s Heartland” is produced by KVIE Public Television for RFD-TV. The DRD cowgirls appear on Season 8, Episode 818. The full episode can also be viewed on YouTube: or on the “America’s Heartland” website:

“When the producers of ‘America’s Heartland’ contacted us about featuring DRD in an upcoming episode that would be completely dedicated to cowgirls, we jumped on the opportunity,” explained Deisbrach. “In creating DRD, we wanted to create a publication rooted in a community of women who live the western lifestyle, and to be able to share our fledgling project with the audience of ‘America’s Heartland,’ was an absolute blessing! Our goal was to share our passion for connecting that community of dedicated, hardworking women — women who are equally at home knee-deep in manure, as they are in a pair of custom boots and fancy bangles.”

Inspired by Junk Gypsy’s Junk-O-Rama Prom, the DRD girls contacted designers and asked for samples of boots, dresses and accessories to dress up the models and embrace the Junk-O-Rama Prom spirit.

“We take a collaborative approach to styling our shoots,” she said. “As we choose models who are real dirt road daughters themselves, we like for them to have input as far as putting together the final looks and how they’d wear the clothes or accessories. Our goal is to share the things we’ve found and fallen in love, showcase our team’s take on the current trends and ultimately to inspire our readers to be confident in creating their own personal style.”

Models for the shoot included: Brooklynn Chester Scalva from Carlsbad, N.M.; Jessica Harder from Albuquerque, and N.M.; Jenn Zeller from Eagle Butte, S.D. Lyndsey Garber of Leather and Lace Photography, from Datil, N.M., took images from the shoot to use in the magazine, and Dreisbach oversaw the styling, photography set-up and collaborative work with “America’s Heartland.”

“You can visit our website to read the complete fall issue with the photo shoot featured on ‘America’s Heartland’ and also to sign up to be notified when subscriptions become available for our re-launch this spring,” she added. “Those who sign up will receive a discount for a full year’s subscription. Check out”

While this episode may have featured the girls from DRD, it truly celebrated all cowgirls, young or old, Midwest or Southern, who raise everything from horses to cattle, who love the land and the spirit of being a cowgirl. So, what is the definition of a cowgirl? Dreisbach offers her own personal definition.

“If there is one thing I’ve learned from working on DRD, it’s that everyone has their own definition of what a cowgirl is,” she said. “I believe you’d be hard pressed to settle on a single definition. In my personal opinion, there’s a certain measure of confidence essential to being a cowgirl — being brave enough to work alongside the boys, pull your weight, get dirty and even get hurt, but it’s takes and equal amount of bravery to embrace your femininity too, curl your hair, paint your toes, drown in a little lace and bangles from time to time. There is strength and value in the combination, an instance where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Ultimately, there’s a near endless variety of ingredients that can be incorporated into a cowgirl — resulting in a multitude of flavors; but in the end she’s still a cowgirl. I have an analogy that cowgirls are like pie — there’s apple, cherry, lemon, chocolate silk, banana cream — from down home to downtown, there’s an endless list of flavors — all very different, but all delicious, and all still pie.” ❖

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