Rodeo gives the general public a unique glimpse into the Western world, and it spotlights talented athletes who have sharpened their horsemanship and cowboy skills. Several rodeos listed below are carrying the tradition of the cowboy into the 21st century. And it’s not only cowboys who have laid a solid foundation for the future of the sport. Plenty of outstanding cowgirls have also played a crucial role in rodeo’s growth over the years. Following is a list of some of the women who have earned well-deserved spots in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, located in Fort Worth, Texas. Special thanks to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum for these facts.
Nancy Binford and Thena Mae Farr are best remembered as co-producers of the 1947 Tri-State All-Girls Rodeo. This event was truly “all-girl,” from the contestants down to the judges, clowns and staff, and the organization created opportunities for rodeo women not found in any other venue. Both women helped organize the Girls Rodeo Association and each served as president.
In 2010, Sherry Cervi became the first cowgirl in history to earn more than $2 million. In 2016, she was the first Women’s Professional Rodeo Association cowgirl to win more than $3 million. The Arizona barrel racer has qualified to compete at 19 Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, which ties her for the most NFR qualifications alongside Charmayne James.
With more than 33 championship titles, incoming 2021 Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee Lari Dee Guy is the winningest female roper in the world. She is an eight-time WPRA world champion with more than $1.5 million in career earnings. In 2013, Guy launched the “Rope Like A Girl” campaign to help motivate young girls and women in roping and has traveled all over the globe teaching.
Mary Burger has been a barrel racer for five decades and won 11 world championships. In 2016, she was also the oldest qualifier of the NFR at age 68. Burger wore the coveted No. 1 back number in Las Vegas, Nevada, that year, an honor reserved for the NFR contestant who wins the most money during the regular season.
Jonnie Jonckowski’s competitive spirit helped her overcome many barriers to win WPRA world championships in bull riding in 1986 and 1988. It paved the way for the women who followed her. After her successes in the arena in the 1980s, many arenas began to allow women to ride roughstock for the first time since the 1930s.