The Cowgirl Way

What do you know about Cowgirls?

Have you ever thought about what you’d like to be some day? I wanted to be a cowgirl. Why a cowgirl? They lived incredible lives, almost too unbelievable to be true, and they were the strongest women I knew of growing up in the 70’s. Cowgirls also had a deep sense of faith in their abilities, and a spirit that could not be broken.

There is much you can learn from cowgirls that can help you mature into an amazing young woman of today. The cowgirls of the Wild West were gutsy, tough, hardworking, honest women. They could drive cattle across states, tame wild horses, ride the open plains at full gallop, and work the land. They did the same chores as men, took care of their families, and had babies too. Cowgirls showed women everywhere how to keep their dreams alive and how to fight for freedom from the confinements of a stifling society.

Elizabeth Johnson Williams became known as the Texas Cattle Queen. In 1871, she became one of the first women in Texas to register her own cattle brand. She was also the first woman to drive her own herd up the Chisholm Trail, a long and hard to ride trail, full of challenges both from nature and man.

Adele von Olh Parker was an eccentric cowgirl who taught low-income kids to ride. The group became known as the Junior Rough Riders. Without the means to attend proper schooling, these children were illiterate. Adele ensured that they learned to read and do simple arithmetic in payment for their lessons.

Connie Douglas Reeves joined Camp Waldemar for Girls in Hunt, Texas in 1926 and remained their chief riding instructor until 1998. She taught riding into her 90’s and her tenacity for life was unmatched. She never missed a good ride and at 100, she still saddled her own horse. Connie died just before her 102nd birthday. While out riding, her horse stumbled and Connie was tossed to the ground. She died several days later not from the fall but from cardiac arrest.

These and many more Wild West cowgirls inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in the United States will be remembered for showing a nation of women the right way to buck the norms to get what you want. They were great role models and an inspiration to women everywhere. They lived well into old age by staying muscular, strong and fit, and they were women with wisdom beyond their years. They were tough women who wouldn’t allow something like childbirth or old age, to slow them down, and they lived life with unbridled passion. Always waiting to see what the next day would bring, they never let boredom into their lives. And they understood the difference between being confident, assertive and determined versus being arrogant, overbearing and stubborn.

You will find her mucking out the barn before first light, feeding animals at twilight, and silently praying in the moonlight asking God for the strength and courage to face another sunrise.

Courage is not something we’re born with.
It is something we find in every decision we make throughout our whole lives. It is this courage, together with commitment, passion and dedication that define a special attitude, a mental firmness, a quality and strength that is ‘spirit’ – that is Cowgirl! Within each of us there lies a promise to find that same spirit because women, whether young or old, rich or poor, black or white, share the longing for freedom and independence.