JB Farrell and the Southern Cowboy Podcast

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By Lauren Abbott

Most mornings start by 7:30 am and some nights end at 8:30 pm. Days can be long, hot, rainy, bitter cold, but ultimately JB Farrell would not change a thing. He is living his dream by working with horses, cattle and ranching.

Farrell’s great grandfather and grandfather owned a ranch in Meridian, Texas. That is where he was exposed to horses and cattle. He would spend summers there and fell in love with the cowboy lifestyle from a very young age. He grew up in Collierville, TN and started riding horses when he returned home from visiting his grandfather. By the time he was 13 or 14 he knew horses were going to be a part of his life.
When he enrolled at Mississippi State University, he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do as a career until he stepped off the elevator in the Department of Agriculture and Animal Science building. As the elevator doors opened there was a large mural of a southern ranch scene. At that moment it was a calling. He knew he wanted to work with cattle production, horses and the ranch industry that is often romanticized as the “old west” cowboy life.
In the last couple years, tv series like Yellowstone and 1883 have set a buzz and interest through the cowboy world once again. Similar to the old west Clint Eastwood movies, horse and non-horse people have loved watching movies and series about America’s cowboy culture. “Taylor Sheridan has done a fantastic job at highlighting that lifestyle and the horse industry. Even though there is a lot of Hollywood mixed into the tv series, it also highlights what life is like with horses in the ranching world and also the show ring,” Farrell said.
Farrell moved out west right after college to work for a large cattle ranch operation, but when an opportunity came to restructure Shelby Farms’ stable and trail riding program in Memphis, Tenn he knew he had to submit a proposal. His proposal won and he came back to the south to be near family. He worked at Shelby Farms stables for three years and in 2016 an opportunity presented itself at Panther Creek, where he could grow with the farm. He is now working as a ranch and western riding instructor. He leads a ranching class every Wednesday morning where he takes students out and educates them on cattle wellness and production, while also teaching them riding, roping and herding cattle through the pastures. He leads Ranch Excursions at Panther Creek for groups who are interested in learning more about the ranch and cowboy lifestyle as well.
Within the last year Farrell layered another passion into his horse career which was launching the Southern Cowboy Podcast in partnership with Panther Creek. Farrell’s father has worked in the media and broadcast industry his entire life. He grew up watching his dad tell stories to the community which helped develop Farrell’s love for storytelling. Farrell listens to podcasts when he travels to western horse shows. While listening to several he envisioned a podcast about western cowboy culture right here in the south.
“I listen to a number of western podcasts when I am on the road. They normally highlight the same cowboys over and over again, which gave me the idea to focus on southern cowboys and to tell their stories to our community,” Farrell said.
He took the idea to his team at Panther Creek. It was a way to share the cowboy and ranch culture with the masses and help spread what Panther Creek was doing to help educate people and kids about ranching, horses, cattle production and more. It was a natural partnership, and through connections made by Panther Creek, Farrell teamed up with cityCurrent and Andrew Bartolotta who edits and produces the podcast with Farrell. They were able to launch the first Southern Cowboy Podcast episode in February.
Educating people about horses and where America’s food and meat come are main goals of Farrell and the team at Panther Creek. He originally sat down and made a list of individuals he wanted to interview. It has evolved organically and his guests range from custom saddle makers and leather craftsmen to stunt devils on Paramount’s 1883 drama series.
“A lot of people feel like they have to have a successful career outside of horses to afford horses, or that the only careers you can have to work in the horse industry are to become a veterinarian or a horse trainer, but there are many ways to build a career working with horses and in the industry,” Farrell said. His podcast highlights how several individuals have taken their passion for horses and the cowboy culture and made successful careers.
The Southern Cowboy Podcast tells stories of cowboys and cowgirls having an impact on the western world right here in the south. Episodes air every three weeks. The most recent guest was Will Lummus, steer wrestler and 4-time NFR qualifier. Farrell’s next guest will be Mike Moore, owner of Buckaroo Hatters in Covington, Tenn. That episode will air the first week of July. People can listen to the Southern Cowboy Podcast through any podcast apps or follow the Southern Cowboy Podcast Facebook page where new episodes are shared monthly.

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