Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Even though Hardin-Simmons University is already a small community of its own, student clubs and organizations are a great way to purposefully bring people together and are something that encourages fellowship among students. The new country dancing club, Cowboy Country, has done both of those things in just the first month of the school year.
Cowboy Country was started just this year by freshman Madison Neal, a biology major from the Dallas/Sherman area. Neal started country dancing at the age of 14 and has been actively participating ever since. “[Country dancing] has been a wonderful thing that I do because it’s so fantastic to openly communicate with somebody that you don’t know,” Neal said.
One of her favorite places she has enjoyed going to is Southern Junction in Royse City, a family-friendly place for country dancing where people of all ages attend. “I’ve seen toddlers go and bounce on the dance floor with their mom and dad … and that’s made me want to put my kids in that environment,” Neal said. Southern Junction has been a place that encompasses both her love for dancing and her Christian faith.
Not only does Neal want to continue incorporating country dancing into her future, but she has already brought it to HSU during her first semester of college. The club certainly offers something for everyone who enjoys dancing. “[Cowboy Country offers] partner dancing, singular dancing, line dancing and even a little bit of swing,” Neal said. “In our sign-up we have 95 members … and according to a faculty member we are the fastest growing club in about 5 years.” Having this many people interested so quickly really is incredible, and Neal has done a wonderful job recruiting students along with her co-president, Ryan Batchler. Batchler is a senior psychology major from Flower Mound.
“We’re really here to establish open communication between people, and that is something that you can totally do through anything, but we decided to do it through dancing,” Neal said. “When you dance, you have to talk about what you’re doing … and I feel like that can apply anywhere in your life, not just in dancing.” Communication is a really important skill for everyone to have, so a club that intentionally encourages communication, even between people you do not know, is really special.
Neal is looking forward to continuing to grow Cowboy Country, collaborating with other clubs and hopefully even performing in the future. Neal has started something very remarkable on campus, and we cannot wait to see where she takes Cowboy Country.