April is our cowboy issue. It’s when we focus on the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo and celebrate the lifestyles that go with the popular event. But you’ll probably notice this issue is very much about cowgirls.
Women have always played a prominent role in ranching and rodeos, some competing against men in rough stock events such as bull and bronc riding. The sharpshooting Annie Oakley, who joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in 1885, was a source of inspiration for many.
Rodeos were a natural extension of the ranches from which cowgirls hailed.
“They drew their rides from the same stock as the guys, and, like the guys, they suffered the hard knocks of bruises, broken bones and even death,” wrote Dee Kirby in a 2007 article for the Colorado Community Media.
Women can compete in most any rodeo event they want. But one of the most popular cowgirl sports is barrel racing, known for quick turns and high speeds. In these pages, you’ll meet four women at different stages of their careers, and why they love the sport.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo might be bigger, but there’s just something more authentic about the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo, which is set for April 21-29. Each year, thousands of people attend the event, which showcases Texas’ livestock and agriculture industries, live entertainment, contests, cook-offs, carnival rides, a talent show and, of course, rodeos. The event supports 4-H and FFA programs. Most of the women featured in this issue credit their success to their starts in 4-H and FFA programs.
We tip our hats to the organizers and all the participants.
Coast Monthly would like to sincerely thank Kevin Garber, a member of the board of directors of the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo, for opening up an arena at the fairgrounds in Hitchcock and to the people who raked the dirt for our photo shoot on barrel racing. We’d also like to thank Garber for introducing us to some inspiring women of the rodeo, including his daughter, Bailey.