Early one Sunday morning in the summer of ‘89, Wade Markham awoke and walked out into his den. There were seven or eight cowboys asleep out there - camped out on the couches, in the chairs, and sprawled out on the floor. They had stopped by during the night after a rodeo and many long hours on the road. This was not the first time this had happened, as the Markham family had been involved in the rodeo life for years, and cowboys always felt welcome to stop by to rest for a spell or to stall their horses for a while.
This particular morning, however, there was something different. God was working on Wade. He was putting a dream in Wade’s heart for these young men. Wade began reflecting back on his own life. He knew that rodeos were always on the weekend and if a cowboy had plans of being a winner, then he was going to have to be on the road most weekends. Wade knew that church was the place to be on Sunday mornings, but knew that if given the choice of rodeoing or going to church, the rodeos would most generally win out.
So right there in his den that morning, a strong desire was rising up on the inside of Wade to provide these cowboys with a place to come and hear God’s word. He wanted them to know that going to church could be fun. Wade thought about having a Bible study on Monday nights since church doesn’t have to be just on Sunday. There aren’t many rodeos scheduled on Monday nights so Wade thought that ought to be a good night to teach about God’s word. After all, he knew first-hand what a difference God’s word could make in a person’s life, and he wanted to share that “good news” with others.
Rodeoing had been Wade’s idol. He would go to as many as four rodeos during one weekend. This devotion to team roping took its toll on both Wade’s personal life as well as his professional life. On the outside everything looked great, but on the inside, Wade knew there was something missing. It was even more evident when, after winning the International Finals Rodeo team roping title, he was still incomplete. He knew in his heart that winning that IFR buckle was an empty victory. After all, there was another rodeo that very next weekend.
However, things began to turn around that next year. Wade began to search for more. One day he was sitting on a fence in front of his barn. He felt lonely, defeated, and depressed. He cried out to God. While he was sitting on a fence, God answered him. He heard God ask, “Wade, when are you going to turn everything over to Me?” Wade answered, “Right now.” He said a peace came over him that he couldn’t explain, but he knew God was the answer.
Which brings us back to ‘89. Wade and his wife, Louise, began having a Bible study on Monday nights in their “barn.” Louise served her famous chocolate sheet cake, which was a great time of fellowship and getting to know everyone. There was also a time to rope afterwards. It wasn’t too long before the barn began filling up. People were sitting on the horse stocks, in the feed room, and even in the Veterinary office. It was time to build a new “barn” in which to have the Bible study.
Thus, the vision of Cowboy Junction came to pass. A “Junction” is a place where two roads meet. It is a meeting place, a spot where a decision must be made to either go left or right. That’s how the name “Cowboy Junction” was formed. Cowboy Junction is a place to meet, a place to decide to take the right path, and a place to put people in touch with the God of Hope.
Cowboy Junction has seen many changes and witnessed many miracles. The greatest miracle of all is seeing lives changed and people choosing Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. Wade and Louise are so thankful for all the people that God has brought into their lives to help carry out this vision. They’ve also had a prayer answered in that all of their children and their spouses have joined them in the ministry of Cowboy Junction. They are so blessed to be doing the things they love to do, and to have all the wonderful friends and partners here helping to fulfill the vision that God put on their hearts.