|Cowboy Girls in back row|
with Will Rogers
Cowboy girls participated in the famous Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show. In 1906 women’s hats were wide brimmed, just like the fancy ones from Paris. Split skirts were acceptable in the show and gals who had the nerve to wear pants were considered real daredevils.
Cowboy girl hats got even bigger in the 1920s. By then they were active in
rodeos. Not just racing around barrels, but riding bucking stock as well. Fake cowboy girl models wore costumes. The pose, the bare forearms, the make-up, and especially the huge, floppy hats gave them away. Just like today, you could go into a photography studio and dress up in an old-time looking photo. Gals that never got bucked off in their lives could, for a few moments, pretend to be cowboy girls, like the gal in the poem below.
Multi-tasking cowboy girls during WWII or right after, would wear the hat, ride the saddle, and carry a babe in their arms. In some parts of the West, this phenomenon continued into the early 1950s. She and little Buster rode down to meet the mailman to see if hubby sent her a letter from Europe or the Pacific or even Korea.
By the late 1940s and early 1950s, cowboy girl hats were changing and by 1960 small hats worked well on barrel racers. Today cowboy girls wear the same hat as the cowboys. If she is a professional barrel racer like the legendary Charmayne James, she’ll wear a black, beaver-felt, Resistol hat. My husband
|Barrel Racer Charmayne James|
with her horse, Scamper
The Cowboy Girl
She wants to be a cowboy girl,
and sit in the saddle tall
Wearin’ chaps and floppy wide-brimmed hat
when she gathers them cows in the fall.
She wants to perch by an open range fire
sippin’ coffee from a cup of tin
Swappin’ stories with the boys about the roundups they’ve seen
and all of the places where they’ve been.
She wants to bend over the coals ‘til the iron is red
and the burnt cowhide begins to smell
Settle them down on the bedground at night
and listen for the cookie’s bell.
|Cowboy Girl Wanna-Be|
right under the full moon’s stare
Then go someplace to find a hot shower
and slowly wash her hair.
She wants to settle down between clean white sheets
and maybe get a teddy bear hug
And dream of ridin’ the range far and wide
in a land without snake or bug.
Oh, she wants to be a cowboy girl
with a whoop and a ty-yii-yea!
But she’s hopin’ that her mascara don’t run
and she ain’t havin’ a bad hair day!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
|Janet Chester Bly|
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“For me, history is not the story of grand ideas, or broad sweeps describing movements, events or social progress. History is the story of individual people. Not all are famous, but all do help define who we are today, and why we think and act the way we do.”
-- Stephen Bly