Cowboy Church, Christian School, Chuck Wagon Restaurant, Roping Arena, Cowboy Junction, Vinita, Oklahoma Purpose-Driven

Our Beginnings

Something was different this Sunday summer morning in 1989 as Wade Markham stepped into his den where seven or eight cowboys camped out on couches, chairs, or the floor.  Having been involved in the rodeo life for years, the Markham family was a regular stop for cowboys to rest or stall their horses between rodeos and long hours on the road.

God was putting a dream in Wade's heart.  Reflecting back on his own life, Wade knew if a cowboy had plans of being a winner, then he was going to be on the road most weekends. Wade also knew that if given the choice of rodeoing or going to church, the rodeos would most generally win out with the cowboys.

Pastor Wade Markham

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. Since there weren’t many rodeos scheduled on Monday nights, 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 and professional life.  On the outside everything looked great, but on the inside, Wade had known 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.

Wade began to search for more, and things started to turn around that next year. One day he was sitting on the fence in front of his barn.  Feeling lonely, defeated, and depressed, he cried out to God.  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, and he knew God was the answer.

Which brings us back to ‘89. Wade and his wife, Louise, began having a Bible study in their “barn” on Monday nights.  They served refreshments afterward, which was a great time of fellowship and getting to know everyone.  There was also a time to rope after refreshments.  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.

Wade and Louise, along with Jesse Hale, Betsy Willis, and Bill Raus, began plans for the construction of a new building that would seat 200 people.  The digging of the foundation for the new 50’ x 85’ “barn” began in August of ’96.  The dedication ceremony for Phase I was held in November that same year. Within a year the new barn was full.  Not only were cowboys coming to Cowboy Junction, but they were bringing their families and friends as well!  There were children everywhere and no place to put them.  It was already time to expand. Construction on Phase II began in ‘98.  It would be a barn that could seat 600 people.  Phase I would now be used for the Little Wranglers, the children’s ministry, as well as for fellowship time after services.

Since that day on the fence in 1975, the Lord has been training and leading Wade and Louise.  He has guided them down the path to where they are now – the completion of Phase III - “Junction City” which includes an expanded Bookstore, new offices, and the Chuck Wagon Restaurant.  They are entering Phase IV – Cowboy Junction Christian School which will open September of 2004.

Wade and Louise Markham

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.

Marsha and Darry Hawkins

with son Heath

Clint and Kathy Markham with children Cale and Terri

Todd and Michelle Markam with son Austin, inset- son Dayton born in 2004.

They’ve also had a prayer answered in that all of their children and 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 laid on their hearts.

Please feel welcome to visit us at Cowboy Junction, whether for a cup of coffee, meal, roping, church service, or just shelter and a friendly face.  We're here with open arms.



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