Archives

Blanche Altizer Smith

Born into a South Texas ranching family, Blanche was an accomplished cowgirl with a devotion to the sport of rodeo. A champion calf roper, she appeared at all the major rodeos in Texas, frequently competing against the men. Blanche was instrumental in the formation of the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA); she worked as association secretary...

Fern Sawyer

An all-around champion cowgirl, Fern was raised on a ranch where her father insisted she perform as well as the men if she was to help with the ranch work. Fern applied this same philosophy to her rodeo career, competing in men’s events in rodeos because she found women’s events too infrequent and uninspiring. Sawyer...

Sacagawea

From the Lamhi Shoshone tribe of the Idaho area, Sacagawea was captured by the Hidatsa tribe in 1800, when she was about 12 years old. She lived with the Hidatsa (in the what is now North Dakota) before she was sold or gambled away as a slave to a French-Canadian trapper and trader, Toussaint Charbonneau...

Margaret Owens

Margaret helped found the GRA and served as the organization’s first president. She lived on a ranch her entire life and was an excellent horsewoman who rode in rodeos at a time when there were no events for women. Often she would compete in match roping events after a show. A champion roper, she was...

Jewel Frost Duncan

Jewel grew up on a West Texas ranch, where she learned to rope as part of her daily work life. She began to rope against men in local contests, becoming the first woman to compete at the Pecos rodeo in 1929, and was rodeo queen in 1935. Jewel and her friend Isora DeRacy Young promoted...

Kathryn Binford

Kathryn moved to Texas from Illinois and married Gene Binford in 1910. Together, they forged a large ranch near Wildorado, stocking it with Hereford cattle, building fences, and farming a few acres. When Gene died in 1934, Kathryn raised their two daughters and managed the ranch alone, often driving wagons through the snow to feed...