World’s Greatest Horsewoman Competition Debuted at Art of the Cowgirl
Art of the Cowgirl gives a nod to women who come from ranching backgrounds by hosting the World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition.
Phoenix, AZ (January 24 – 26, 2020) — At the Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Phoenix, Arizona, Art of the Cowgirl provided a venue for western female artists and makers in a variety of mediums to showcase their talents. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, which included the Clarke Butte Ranch All Women Ranch Rodeo, Art of the Cowgirl hosted the first World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition presented by Western Horseman.
Structured similarly to the American Quarter Horse Association’s former event Battle in the Saddle, the World’s Greatest Horsewoman focused on one horse and one rider testing their skills and versatility with the same bit in four exciting phases of competition–herd work, rein work, steer stopping and cow work. The event was open to 25 female competitors, who competed in and were scored by judges in all four events. The top five horse and rider duos vied for cash, prizes and the chance to compete at the prestigious National Reined Cow Horse Association’s World’s Greatest Horseman, being held February 13-22, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas.
The top five riders were:
- Kelsey Love Thomas, of Rising Star, TX, on Elvira, with a score of 294.5
- Kate Buchanan, of Scottsdale, AZ, on Lucky Cee Blair, with a score of 293
- Bobby-Jean Colyer, of Bruneau, ID, on GIVEMESOM MOONSHINE, with a score of 286
- Colee Charlesworth, of Marathon, TX, on Smart Sugar Star, with a score of 282.5
- Nicole Westfall, of Calahan, CO, on Surely A Pepto Nic, with a score of 281.5
“Art of the Cowgirl is driven by horsewomen and I wanted to produce an elite cow horse event for women like me who come from ranching backgrounds and dream of taking a cow down the fence in Fort Worth, yet still respect the working cowboy, cowgirl and ranch horse,” says Art of the Cowgirl Event Director Mesa Pate.
Through the years, women have competed at the World’s Greatest Horseman, but usually there is only one entry per year. In 2018, however, five women–Naomi Bancroft, Alexis Blakey, Gusti Buerger, Abbie Phillips and Annie Reynolds–entered and rode against some of the greatest horsemen in the world. Art of the Cowgirl hopes to inspire horsewomen of all backgrounds and levels of riding to elevate their horsemanship to the highest level possible.
“For a lot of horsewomen, horsemanship is their art, and they’re interested in reined cow horse because it embraces ranching,” says Pate. “They may not have the opportunity to compete due to finances and the long distance to travel to shows. The World’s Greatest Horsewoman is a unique way to tip our hat and show respect to working ranch cowgirls and the horses they’ve trained. We look forward to developing a longstanding relationship with NRCHA, because there are a lot of ranching men and women trying to get to a high level in their horsemanship and compete at reined cow horse events.”
About Art of the Cowgirl
Founded by Montana horsewoman Tammy Pate in 2018, Art of the Cowgirl is a three-day gathering that celebrates cowgirl artisans and their contributions to the western lifestyle and culture through discussions, demonstrations, rodeo and ranch horse competitions, an art auction and trade show, and an elite ranch horse sale. Proceeds from the event fund educational fellowships that unite emerging artists with masters in their respective fields. The gathering was held January 24-26, 2020, at Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Phoenix, Arizona. Art of the Cowgirl is sponsored by Western Horseman, COWGIRL Magazine, Wrangler, MT Silversmiths, Preifert, The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Clarke Butte Ranch.