When thinking of Hall of Fame members, you might not be thinking of rodeo women, but the Cowgirl Hall of Fame Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Recently though, four more women were inducted into this Hall of Fame which honors over 200 women that have changed the face of the ranching and rodeo world. Each of these women has contributed above and beyond the skills that they needed to in order to shine in their fields.
Anna Nebus Martin has been overlooked for years, but that changed this year. Being a widow at a young age at a time when women were not used to being in the work force, she made herself known by operating a 60,000 acre cattle farm while also operating a store. Raising sons by herself could have been a challenge, but she was too busy to notice. To add income for her family, she sold cattle for other ranchers and was very well trusted by members of her community. In 1901, Anna added another role to her life by opening Commercial Bank in Mason, Texas with her sons. She suddenly became the first U.S. female bank founder and President. Anna shined in many ways as the new face of women and has given much inspiration to any young girl who is thinking of a banking career or of operating a cattle ranch.
Dealing with cattle is also what led to Sarah “Sally” Buxkemper being inducted. Cattle are a huge part of her life and she recently helped develop a new breed of cattle. After much research, the Simbah breed has been developed. This breed is made by combining the Simmental and Braham breeds to make a breed of cattle that is very resistant to the sickness’ and ailments of its’ ancestors. Animal husbandry is not a common degree for women, but Sally is one of very few women to hold the degree from Oklahoma State University. She also is proud to be the first woman trained by the American Breeders Service to administer artificial insemination in cattle. Needless to say, this lady knows more about cattle than some of us would care to know.
It seems as though work with cattle is becoming a woman’s work when it comes to the women inducted this year. Sandy Collier is the only female winner of the National Reined Cow Horse Association ( NRCHA) World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity. Sandy has won many honors and awards in these competitions. She is the NRCHA Hackamore Classic Champion as well as the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Jr. Cow Horse World Champion and she has been awarded the Western Lifetime Achievement Award. This lady knows her stuff and performs like a champ every time she enters a competition. She brings a new meaning to the rodeo world.
Mary Lou LeCompte aids in helping others learn about the world of cowgirls. Being the lead scholar on rodeo cowgirls is not an easy job. She personally has done over 600 interviews with female rodeo participants and is author of a book on rodeo cowgirls. Her book “Cowgirls of the Rodeo: Pioneer Professional Athletes” introduces the rest of the world to these professional rodeo women that they might not ever learn about otherwise. She personally made sure that the sport of rodeo was recognized in the “Handbook of Texas”. Cowgirls are her business!
If you would like to learn more about the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, check out their website, If you happen to be near Fort Worth and have not made a trip here, I highly recommend that you stop in for a visit sometime. The world of horses, cattle, and rodeo is not just for young men anymore and actually never has been. Cowgirls do exist outside of the world of Hollywood.