Margo Crowther promotes rodeos, she breeds horses, and she is a wife and mother of two children. For some, that would be more than enough.
But Crowther has a major goal. This year, she is taking her horse all over the country in an attempt to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in barrel racing.
It is a great ambition, one that requires lots of sacrifice from not only her, but her family.
But with a very talented horse she trained herself and support from her family, she has a window of opportunity to do something she had dreams of doing nearly a decade ago until fate stepped in and derailed her plans.
Crowther grew up around horses. Her mother has a ranch on Bayshore Road and her grandfather always had horses. Even early on in life she was racing competitively.
"I had a pole and barrel horse and I ran competitive in Western and English Pleasure. When I was a senior in high school I decided to take barrel racing more seriously," said Crowther, who did not compete in high school rodeo.
When Crowther graduated from North Fort Myers High School in 2003, she got a rodeo scholarship at Vernon Community College in Texas before transferring to Tarleton State University, graduating in 2008 with a degree in business and marketing.
After college, she went on the road to compete professionally, and at first was doing very well, on the cusp of being in the Top 15. Unfortunately, that wouldn't last.
"I had a really good horse and was sitting in the Top 20. I was able to go on the summer run and enter rodeos in Colorado Springs and Cheyenne," Crowther said. "My horse ended up catching salmonella on the road and died, which was devastating."
Crowther came back home, met her husband, Casey, had two kids and left the world of ultra-competitive racing. That didn't mean she didn't still love the sport. So, she and her husband decided to promote their own rodeo, which they started in 2013 and has been a huge success ever since.
"I bought a few horses who had barrel racing potential and trained a few horses and was going to some rodeos with my younger horses and realized there was a need for a premier rodeo in Fort Myers," Crowther said. "I wanted to bring that western heritage back here."
From buying those prospects, she also realized she had some real fast equines, especially one named Sissy. When they became four years old she took them to the futurity events and did really well.
She then went to the Arcadia fall rodeo and won, she went to the NBHA State finals in June and won against more than 900 other entries, then went to the WPRA finals and won the average and nearly $16,000, which gave her a huge head start on her rodeo money for the year.
It was then that she decided to go all out and returned to the rodeo circuit and hit the big-time events in the south.
She also qualified for The American, the richest one-day rodeo, which she ran at Texas Stadium on Feb. 12 and reached the semi-finals.
Crowther has been on the road, constantly, for weeks at a time travelling with her horse from one event to the next. This wouldn't be possible without the support of her family.
"My husband helps with the kids and they come with me when they're able to. It's take a village to do what I do and be on the road," Crowther said. "They try to fly out to the far-out rodeos and we try to go to the ones in Florida as a family."
Crowther plans to go to all the major rodeos this summer with the goal of reaching the NFR at the end of the year. So far, Sissy and Margo have earned $80,000 in prize money.
Beyond that is not certain. Crowther said there is a window of opportunity with her children, Sawyer, 6, and Stella 4, not yet involved with their own activities, and living in Florida makes it a bigger sacrifice than if they lived out west.
"I have this year and possibly next year to go for it. After that I want to focus on my kids' activities until the grow up. Once they're out of the house, I can pick it back up and hopefully have a horse to do it with," Crowther said.