Monday, April 20, 2015

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

by Lyn Horner

The book covers for my Texas Devlins series are in the process of being redone by my friend and fellow author Charlene Raddon, who also designs covers. You can sample her work here:

Currently, Charlene is working on the cover for Dashing Irish, Tye Devlin’s story. Tye’s love interest is Lil Crawford, a Texas cowgirl with a bruised heart and a chip on her shoulder. Since her older brother died in the Civil War, Lil has more or less taken his place, working on her father’s ranch alongside the male ranch hands. She wears pants and a six shooter, and goes along on a cattle drive to Kansas.

The other day, Charlene suggested putting a skirt on Lil instead of pants for a more appealing cover, to which I agreed. After all, Lil does wear a dress occasionally. Thinking about her gave me the idea for today’s post. I first posted about real life cowgirls in July 2014.

This time my topic is the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and one of its honorees. Founded in 1975 in the basement of the Deaf Smith County Library in Hereford, Texas, the museum was moved to Fort Worth in 1994. It settled into its 33,000 square-foot permanent quarters in the city’s Cultural District in June 2002.

  National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

The museum’s Executive Director is Pat Riley. Appointed in 1996 following the move from Hereford, Riley led the planning, design, fundraising and opening of the new museum in 2002. Riley has built upon the work started by founding director Margaret Formby, and has established the Museum on a national level.

“Cowgirls are ordinary women who have done extraordinary things.” ~Pat Riley, Executive Director, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
 Poster of Cowgirl Museum Mural
Poster of Mural above Museum entrance, available in Museum Shop
Prairie Princess statue Nat. Cowgirl Museun 
“High Desert Princess” statue outside National Cowgirl Museum; Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Dedicated to honoring courageous women of the American West, the Museum is an educational resource with exhibits, a research library and a rare photo collection. Each year, Honorees are added to its Hall of Fame. The museum also sponsors special events such as the Cowgirl Spring Roundup and Cowpoke Camp. Find an event calendar on their website:

There are over 200 honorees in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. They include pioneers, artists, businesswomen, educators, ranchers and rodeo cowgirls. A few famous ones are Georgia O'Keeffe, Sacagawea, Annie Oakley, Dale Evans, Enid Justin, Temple Grandin and Sandra Day O’Connor. Another is Joyce Gibson Roach, author, educator, rancher and 5th generation Texan, who I quoted in my previous cowgirl post.

I recently purchased two books by Ms. Roach. One is titled Horned Toad Canyon, a children’s book about these unusual creatures that inhabit the arid, wide-open southwestern prairie. Also called horned frogs, they are the mascot for Texas Christian University, my daughter’s alma mater. How could I resist this charming little book?

The other book I purchased is The Cowgirls.
 The Cowgirls by Joyce Gibson Roach
Here’s part of the publisher’s description:

“The cowboy may be our most authentic folk hero, but the cowgirl is right on his heels. This Spur Award winning book fills a void in the history of the cowgirl.

While Susan B. Anthony and her hoop-skirted friends were declaring that females too were created equal, Sally Skull was already riding and roping and marking cattle with her Circle S brand on the frontier of Texas.

In Colorado, Cassie Redwine rounded up her cowboys and ambushed a group of desperadoes; Ann Bassett, also of Colorado, backed down a group of men who tried to force her off the open range.

In Montana, Susan Haughian took on the United States government in a dispute over some grazing rights, and the government got the short end of the stick.

Susan McSween carried on an armed dispute between ranchers in New Mexico and the U.S. Army, and other interested citizens.

In the years of the War Between the States, women were called upon to do many things that would have been unheard of in peacetime. When the people moved west after the war, women were obliged to keep doing these things if the family was to survive. Still other groups of women—second generation cattle-country women—did men’s jobs because they were good at it. Some participated in Wild West shows and made reputations for themselves in rodeo as trick and bronc riders.

Bonnie McCaroll being thrown, Pendleton Rodeo 

"One of the most famous rodeo snapshots ever taken is of Bonnie McCarroll  being thrown from a horse named Silver at the Pendleton Round-Up in 1915"    Nat. Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame public domain photo by Walter S. Bowman
 cowboy gear divider
Since we all love romance here on Sweethearts, I’ll close with a romantic quote from Henrietta King, wife of Richard King. For 40 years after her husband’s death, Henrietta was sole owner of the King Ranch, largest ranch in North America.

"I doubt if it falls to the lot of any a bride to have so happy a honeymoon. On horseback, we roamed the broad prairies. When I grew tired, my husband would spread a Mexican blanket for me, and then I would take my siesta under the shade of the mesquite tree.”

Find all of my books here:


  1. Enjoyed the article, Lyn, and thanks for the mention.

  2. I love the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. We were sorry we didn't get to take Sue Horsnell there, but the weather ate up our time. My daughter and I go there when we can because some displays change. Nice post, Lyn, and now I have to get the cowgirl book.

  3. Charlene, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and you're very welcome. I can't wait to show off the new covers! Want to put them out all at once, hope to make some noise that way. :)

  4. Caroline, sorry you didn't get take Sue to the museum. I know she would have loved it. This crazy spring weather has spoiled quite a few plans.

    I love both books by Joyce Gibson Roach. She was an adjunct English professor at TCU. That's what caught my interest, since my daughter was a Hornfrog.

  5. Loved your post. I noticed in some of my own research that western women did what the heck they wanted to far more than other women in America. They had minds of their own and a will of iron. You have to admire that. It takes a heap of a man to love a woman like that.
    All of your pictures were fantastic.
    I wish you great success for your books with their new covers.

  6. Sarah, you are so right! Those cowgirls and other pioneer women were tough cookie. They had to be or they didn't survive. Glad you like the post. Thank you for your good wishes!

  7. What an interesting post!
    I did not know this museum was in Hereford. I grew up not many miles from this small West Texas Town.
    Deaf Smith County? I once wrote a blog about the real "Deaf" Smith, so that's what really got my attention. I have a recipe called Deaf Smith County Corn Salas. Weird, isn't it?
    I think Charlene is right about putting a skirt on your heroine. Readers are a picky, fickle bunch, aren't they?
    Good post..thanks!

  8. Celia, I love the name, Deaf Smith. Did you write your blog about him here on Sweethearts? I'd like to read it.

    Thanks for popping in. Glad you liked my post. Yes, Char's right about the skirt. We want to keep our readers happy. :)

  9. LYN--yes, the blog I wrote about Deaf Smith is in the archives, or you can go to Posts and type in Erastus Deaf Smith and read it from the draft. Title: Erastus "Deaf Smith"--A Texas Hero. Published on SOTW on
    Hope you enjoy it. Plus I gave the recipe for the Corn Salad. I make this often.


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.