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The Western Women That We Admire and Emulate

This month we celebrated International Women’s Day and Women’s History month in the presence of a strong Harry’s Boots female team. It got us thinking, western life can be tough — but it is real, honest and genuine. One thing is always true, behind every good cowboy is a great woman. We’ve learned a lot about life, love and happiness from our role models – women we try to emulate daily. Here are a few of our favorite female role models.

Real Life Wonders

The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond, more commonly known as The Pioneer Woman, has been helping us feed our men and sharing her transition to country life for years. What started with a blog has now become a lifestyle empire ode to the best of country living. She made country cool again and fuses the modern world with the western. Plus, she helps us to be better cowgirl cooks — which everyone can appreciate.

Annie Oakley | Annie Oakley’s sharpshooting skills earned her a lasting place in history (and western folklore). The international star, dubbed “Little Sure Shot” toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show performing for royalty and fans worldwide. She earned respect and paved the way for female performers). A believer that women should shoot for physical and mental exercise, as well as defense, said, ”I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.” She personified the American Dream — overcoming terrible beginnings to become one of the first self-made women in American history — and legitimized strong women without playing into feminism. Her legend established a powerful ideal: a western woman who is strong, self-reliant and able to compete and work with men all while maintaining a graceful, lady-like demeanor.

Sacajawea | The Wild West might not exist without Sacajawea, the Shoshone Native American who was a pivotal part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The 1805 expedition covered the northern plains through the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. For a thousand miles, Sacajawea interpreted as an ambassador between Native American tribes and the explorers, guided the trek, and more. All while carrying a baby boy on her back.  

Western Women on Stages (and Screens)

Dolly Parton | Dolly Parton will always be our queen. She brings grace, humor, charm, big style, and brightness to everything she does. Her magic? According to an interview with Vogue, being completely real when everything looks completely fake. You can’t deny she has a point. The award-winning powerhouse is an accomplished songwriter and performer with forty top ten albums and twenty-five number-one singles in her half-century-long recording career. And, she’s practically better now than she was 30 years ago. At Glastonbury Festival in England, the country music star unexpectedly garnered a crowd of an estimated 180,000, the largest crowd for a performer in Glastonbury’s history.

Her Dollywood Foundation promotes literacy in opportunity-free Appalachian towns like the one in which she grew up. And there’s Dollywood itself to consider. It doesn’t matter what she does – from acting to singing to activism — Dolly has grace and presence that we strive to emulate. We also love to play some of her old classics at the store from time to time.

Carrie Underwood | Carrie Underwood is in a class all her own. The winner of American Idol’s fourth season launched on the country scene in 2005 and has been racking up awards with her incredible vocals and lyrical storytelling ever since. She is the youngest singer to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Between awards and touring, she finds the time to be a regular wife, mother and dog lover with a down-to-earth attitude.

Reba McEntire | Another Okie tops our list of idols…Reba McEntire is the epitome of a hard-working, country boss lady. Down-to-earth, ambitious, driven, and talented, McEntire’s career has spanned generations and genres. An actress, designer, singer and extraordinary performer, Reba stole our hearts (and ears) from the start and was there for all the important milestones of our lives. Her roots and her work inspire western women to embrace their country roots and step outside comfort zones in pursuit of dreams. Fancy will always be one of our favorites to jam out to in the store at least once a week.

Miss Kitty | Miss Kitty Russell, played by Amanda Blake, in the Gunsmoke series that ran from 1955 to 1975. We grew up idolizing Miss Kitty’s tough-as-nails character. She was a survivor who clawed out a better life for herself, working up from dance hall girl to saloon owner with grit and perseverance. Her legacy even inspired a few country songs.

Rodeo Stars

Wanda Harper Bush | No tribute to the western women icons is complete without a nod to the women rodeo riders who awe us. Wanda Harper Bush won 29 barrel racing championships and 33 world championships during her rodeo career (which lasted until 1985). Today she continues her impact on the rodeo world by training horses full-time in Mason, Texas.

Mildred Faris | Barrel racing exists in the ProRodeo events due to the work of Mildred Farris, who served as the director of the Girls Rodeo Association in addition to being a barrel racer. Also of note, she was the American Flag bearer in 16 National Finals Rodeos.

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

Rodeo’s First Lady | “Rodeo’s First Lady,” was Tad Lucas, a country girl turned full-time rodeo gal who was the queen of trick riding (and also wowed on bulls and bucking broncos). Lucas was a founding member of the Girls Rodeo Association, which is today’s Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. The association is the oldest professional women’s sports association, as well as being uniquely women-governed.


Karoline Jordan was born and raised in San Saba and is a proud member of the fightin' Texas A&M Class of 2014 with a degree in Agriculture Leadership and Education with an emphasis in Public Relations.

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