New Mexico Rancher Linda Davis is the recipient of the second-annual Western Horseman Women of the West Award presented at Art of the Cowgirl.

“Growing up on a ranch in the Dust Bowl era, we saw first-hand what was happening to the land. We learned we had to take care of it or we wouldn’t have ranch or a livelihood.”

Linda Davis, from Women of the West in the March 2007 issue of Western Horseman

Western Horseman magazine began its popular Women of the West series in the March 2007 issue, to honor women who embody ranching values, are committed to caring for their land and livestock, garner respect in the agricultural community, and make their living horseback every day. New Mexico rancher Linda Davis was the first woman featured in the series and set the stage for other women to be spotlighted monthly ever since.

Linda Davis ranches with horses in New Mexico.
Linda Davis has spent her entire life in ranching and, at 89 years old, continues to contribute to her family’s CS Cattle Company in northern New Mexico. Photo by Jennifer Denison

Western Horseman celebrated Linda’s continuous contributions to the stock horse and ranching industries by presenting her with the second Women of the West Award last January during the Art of the Cowgirl event in Phoenix, Arizona. Judy Wagner, vice president of marketing and communications for Montana Silversmiths, received the first award in 2019.

Western Horseman’s Women of the West Award 2020

“I cowboyed all my life. When I was 5, I became part of the Bell Ranch crew. I worked with the cowboys there and on the Tequesquite. My dad said, ‘If you can do things well and complete a task, you won’t have any problem.’”

­­–Linda Davis, from Women of the West, January 2020 issue of Western Horseman

A fourth-generation rancher, Linda was raised by her father, Albert Mitchell, who managed his Tequesquite Ranch and the Bell Ranch in New Mexico and also served four terms as president of the American Quarter Horse Association.

In 1953, she married Les Davis, and the couple managed the family’s CS Cattle Company, founded in 1873. They raised six children on the ranch and continued its reputable cattle and horse operation, which won the 2000 AQHA Best Remuda award.

Les and Linda Davis lived and worked on CS Cattle Company.
Linda’s late husband, Les Davis, took the reins of CS Cattle Company, which was started by his grandfather, in 1946. Linda has lived and worked on the ranch for 68 years. Photo by Christine Hamilton

At 89, Linda remains active on the ranch with her children and grandchildren, and is an avid Western art collector and supporter of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, serving on their board of directors since 1988. She was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the National Ranching Heritage Center’s Golden Spur Award in 1992.

Last summer, Western Horseman Editor Christine Hamilton and Senior Editor Jennifer Denison visited with Linda and family at CS Cattle Company to gather photographs and interviews for this video and the article that appeared in the January 2020 issue. Listening to Linda’s stories of growing up in simpler times, enduring hardscrabble ranch life and seeing the rewards were highlights for the editors.

Women of the West Award winner Linda Davis visited with Western Horseman editors Christine Hamilton and Jennifer Denison.
Western Horseman editors Christine Hamilton (left) and Jennifer Denison (right) spent time with Linda Davis at the CS Ranch.

“It was hard to comprehend how much history her life has crossed. She’d lived so many stories I’d grown up hearing — like being Albert Mitchell’s daughter, and experiencing AQHA from its very beginnings. And the herds of horses they raised for the ranch, using Cavalry remount stallions,” says Hamilton. “It just made me emotional, to be able to meet her and share just one afternoon of her life. She is a Western woman in the way that I most admire: she showed up for the job needing doing with grace, heart and grit.”

3 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for continuing to share the glory and inspiration of these amazing , frequently overlooked women among us. Living history. As a lover of history and writer of historical fiction, it is always fantabulous to read about strong, hard working, dedicated woman who lead by example and get the job done. so many accomplishments, so many adventures. Thank you again, must catch up on more.

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