With Nancy J. Farrier
|Lulu Bell Parr_Photo by Terry Baer|
Lulu grew up in Indiana. Her parents died when she was very young, probably 3-years-old. She and her brother went to live with an aunt and uncle in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Living on their farm, Lulu fell in love with the animals and became a skilled rider by the time she was eight-years-old.
Although not much is known about Lulu’s early years, she left home in 1903 and joined the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show. She had skill in doing trick riding and shooting guns, but she excelled at riding bucking broncos. She seemed to have a knack for riding an unbroken horse and the people who flocked to the shows loved to watch her. At one point she was titled, “Champion Lady Bucking Horse Rider of the World.”
In 1908, Lulu left Pawnee Bill’s show and joined Colonel Cummins Wild West Brighton Tour. She wanted the chance to go to Europe and perform there. The highlight of her trip was the chance to perform in front of King Edward in England.
|Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill|
The following year, Lulu left Colonel Cummins because she had the chance to be part of the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Back in the United States, she traveled with Buffalo Bill until 1913. Buffalo Bill was so taken with Lulu that he presented her with an ivory handled colt with the words engraved, “Buffalo Bill Code to Lulu Parr – 1911.”
In 1916, Lulu moved back to the Pawnee Bill show, but the popularity of the Wild West shows was beginning to wane. Until her retirement in 1929, she went from one small time show to another. By the time she retired at fifty-three, she was broke.
|Photo by Terry Baer|
Lulu went to Ohio and lived with her brother and his wife. She often entertained neighborhood children with her stories of the wild west and the adventures she’d experienced. She collected mementos from her time with the shows. Lulu’s outfits that she wore were intricate and colorful. Lulu died in 1960 from a stroke.
Have you ever heard of Lulu Bell Parr? While most of us have heard of Buffalo Bill, have you ever heard of Pawnee Bill or Colonel Cummings? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and two grandsons. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.