Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Prairie Rose Henderson....A True Cowgirl
How a young girl became an American Cowgirl.
Most women in the 1800's learned to ride out of necessity from helping on the ranch or they would practice their skills out on the range. From a very early age women could stay in the saddle, break a bronc and rope a steer.
In the late 1800's, the younger horsewomen began competing against cowboys in a yearly gathering of herds -which progressed into participating in rodeo's.
One of these young horsewomen was "Prairie" Rose Henderson. She was an exuberant and talented daughter of a Wyoming rancher. Rose rode to Cheyenne to enter a bronc busting contest. Much to her dismay, Rose was told she could not ride in the contest. Rose demanded to see the rules. In the bronc busting rules there was nothing stating that women could not compete. The officials had to let her participate. As you can imagine her entrance into the arena caused quit a stir. Women were spectators...not competitors!!!
Prairie Rose came crashing out of the chute, hanging on to the bronc with all her strength....and lost! But, Rose opened the door for all women to compete in rodeos, so I guess you could say she really did win!
Eventually, Prairie Rose did have wins at the rodeos. Rose was even present a champion award by the Union Pacific Railroad. She was known as the most flamboyant cowgirl of her time. How about this cowgirl costume for you. In 1918 Prairie Rose entered the Gordon Nebraska rodeo wearing ostrich plumes over her bloomers and a blouse covered with bright sequins.
Prairie Rose competed in Rodeos until her death. In 1932, Prairie Rose rode to a competition and was caught in blizzard. She did not survive. Her body was discovered nine years later. The only way they identified her was by her champion belt buckle.
Prairie Rose Henderson a true American Cowgirl with spirit, courage, determination!
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