Meanwhile the vendors at the back of the room have their booths chocked full of wares and items you can’t live without! Unique ideas for gifts, as well as art and décorare for sale. Joshua Abraham, from New Mexico, is always in attendance with his ‘one of a kind’ cowgirls made of clay. He, too, always decorates a table with his dolls, created in the image of each inductee, as the centerpiece.
As guests are arriving and given their table number, champagne and wine is served by waiters, while everyone visits with friends, meets new people, and listens to the great western music and song by Devon Dawson and her Cowgirls.
Sharon Camarillo, inducted in 2006, was the Mistress of Ceremonies this year. She kicked off the program and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, gave a rousing welcome. A parade of former Honorees were introduced and escorted by Miss Rodeo America and State-Title Holders to the stage. It is always good to see these former inductees. An amazing number always seem to make this great weekend. The invocation was given by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, 1977 Honoree.
During the tasty lunch two very special women were recognized and given special awards. Jan Barboglio is an artist whose background (born in El Paso and childhood spent on a cattle ranch in North Central Mexico) plus a degree from SMU and a stint with Neiman Marcus Executive Training Program. Her art is shown through her home collection, after a successful fashion designing career. She was awarded the Mary Jane Colter Award.
The Mitzi Lucas Riley Award was bestowed on Amberley Snyder, a 23 year-old student at Utah State University and captain of the women’s rodeo team. Her first equestrian effort was when only three-years- old. In 2009 she won the All-Around Cowgirl title at the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals. In 2010 she was in a devastating car accident which left her paralyzed from the waist down. She was told she would never walk again, and of course, never ride again. Her determination ignored those statements and within four months was riding, still wearing a back brace. She uses a special seat belt to hold her in place and competes at college in barrel racing and breakaway roping. She finished her first season in the top ten of her region. Her acceptance speech included the statement, “I’m the only one that can put limits on myself.” This exemplifies her courage, determination and spirit.
Following lunch Shirley Lucas Jauregui was the first recipient to be inducted. She was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, as was her sister, Sharon. Both girls were avid fans of the horse and while watching cowgirls Tad Lucas and Vivian White trick ride at the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo in Vinita, Oklahoma, both girls knew how they would continue their lives. Their mother convinced White to teach them. When their father died, at an early age, the lessons ceased, but the girls practiced what they had all ready learned. Their mother moved them to Lakeside, California, where they continued their trick riding and soon they were performing at rodeos all over the country. The girls were also asked to endorse Wrangler jeans and Resistol hats, which Shirley later helped with their designs. They were on the cover of Collier magazine and had articles in Western Horseman, Fort Times, Horse Lovers, and more. When the director and screenwriter, Blake Edwards, met them he got them screen extra cards with the Screen Actors Guild. Shirley appeared in over 100 films, doubling for Betty Hutton, in Annie Get Your Gun, Marilyn Monroe in Monkey Business and many more films and TV, plus doing stunts for a variety of shows. She married rancher Daniel Jauregui in 1955 and left the business to care for their two children, Dan and Michele and moved to Northern California. She still stayed very active in the cattle and horse business. She has received the Tad Lucas Memorial Award, and wrote a book of her life story, It Takes a Good Horse.
May Owen, M. D. was inducted because of her passions for education and caring for others. She was raised, one of 8 children, on a farm in Falls County, Texas. Her favorite past-time was caring for the animals. She wanted to be a doctor but was told it was ridiculous because she was a woman. She attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and graduated at the top of her class in 1917. Dr. Truman Terrell hired her to assist him in caring for the animals in his pathology laboratory. After watching her work he insisted she apply to medical school and loaned her the money. She was the only woman in her class and graduating in 1921. After stints in research at Mayo Clinic and the Medical Examiner’s Department at Bellvue Hospital in New York City she returned to Dr. Terrell’s North Texas Pasteur Institute Lab, where she eventually became chief pathologist. In 1931 Dr. Owen was asked to help diagnose a disease that was causing feed lot sheep to fall ill and die. The Dr. discovered that the animals were being fed molasses to improve the flavor of the mutton, and it was causing the sheep to develop diabetes. Her find changed the way sheep were fattened worldwide. She discovered other causes that affected animals, but her greatest contribution was discovering the dangers of talcum powder on surgical gloves. She discovered when a woman became ill after receiving an appendectomy that the powder from the surgeon’s gloves caused inflammation and peritonitis. She has also helped students by the May Owen Nursing Scholarship and the May Owen Trust and used her success and influence at T.C.U. and Texas Tech University. She died at the age of 96, working until that day.
Chuck wagon cooks, Sue Cunningham and Jean Cates were the first all-woman chuck wagon team called the C Bar C Chuck Wagon. They won the Western Heritage Classic Cook-off in Abilene, and also won every major chuck wagon cook-off across the country at least once, and 8 national championships and two world championships. The gals are sisters, born to Dick and Virginia Shepherd in 1934 and 1938 in Turkey, Texas. These gals cook at large events and put on demonstrations to keep the tradition of genuine chuck wagon cooking going. Sue learned to trick rope from champion Leonard Stroud. Jean learned to stamp saddles at Stockman’s Saddle Shop in Amarillo. The Matador Cowboy Reunion Association 1976 Bicentennial celebration saddle featuring her artistry is displayed in the National Cowgirl Museum. Later she became a leather tooling instructor at the Texas State Technical Institute’s Amarillo campus. When their father died, his chuck wagon was sold. He had purchased an old XIT ranch feed wagon and converted it. A few years later Sue and Jean bought it back, and the rest is history. They have also written three cook books and won awards with them. They also have a pictorial essay about those chuck wagon traditions and techniques.
Frances Kavanaugh was one of the few women in 1940s Hollywood that wrote film scripts for B-Westerns. She wrote over 30 scripts and became well-known for her work by production companies. In the golden age of cinema Westerns were 30% of Hollywood feature productions. She was born in Dallas in 1915, raised in Houston and rode horses and watching western double-features at Saturday matinees. When the family moved to Los Angeles Frances and her sister, Jane, were enrolled in drama school, but Frances’s love of writing led her to write sketched for the students to perform. Robert Tansey, producer and director, asked her to re-write a bad script. The next morning she handed him 100 pages of much improved script. He hired her and from then on she wrote scripts for Monogram’s Trail Blazers series, and Columbia Pictures for B-westerns. Her credits are too many to list but she worked with all the major cowboy stars of that era. In 1951 she married Robert Hecker, who also wrote freelance television and radio scripts. She retired and raised their three children. After they were grown she enrolled at California State University and ended up with a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in both art and psychology and began a new career in special education art therapy. After 53 years of marriage she died at the age of 93 in 2009. Her husband, Robert, accepted her induction honors and said in closing, “Look at this party, Frances. This is for you!”
After the closing remarks the crowd walked across the mall to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the annual photograph of all inductees, past and present was taken in the rotunda. It was also a good time to visit and check out the great finds in the gift shop.
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience, and independence that helped shape the American West, and fosters an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance they inspire.
Since it was established in 1975, the Museum has become an invaluable education resource nationally known for its exhibits, research library, rare photography collection, and the Honorees in its Hall of Fame.
THE WOMEN WHO SHAPE THE WEST . . . . CHANGE THE WORLD.