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  • ‘When Bronco Riders Wore Lipstick’ exhibit opens Feb. 18 at Pima County’s Historic Canoa Ranch

    Jan 20, 2017 | Read More News
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    A special exhibit highlighting the life and achievements of rodeo and exhibition show cowgirls from 1900 through the 1930s will be on display at Green Valley’s Raúl M. Grijalva Canoa Ranch Conservation Park, 5375 S. I-19 Frontage Road, Feb. 18-March 4. 

    Cowgirl exhibitThe exhibit, located in the Historic Hacienda de la Canoa, coincides with La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo and ends on Heritage Day at Canoa Ranch, which is managed by Pima County’s Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department and is located just south of Green Valley off I-19 exit 56. 

    The display will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. The rare items on display come from the collection of Western enthusiast and preservationist Cheri Raftery, who calls her collection “very personal. I am very proud that I am preserving a small piece of history that people have forgotten about.”

    Raftery and her spouse, Scott, lease the equestrian part of Canoa Ranch for their cutting horse business, Scott Raftery Cutting Horses.

    The display includes cowgirl skirts, bronc belts, hats, cuffs, spurs and riding boots. Photographs of the cowgirls in action and posing for publicity shots along with original paintings put the items in context. “Together, they graphically illustrate the history of the cowgirl and bring to life her glory days as an unsung hero and genuine icon of the American West,” said Valerie Samoy, Special Staff Assistant Sr.

    Women brought up in the American West were tough, rugged cowhands from ranching families who were expected to work alongside their fathers, brothers, and husbands raising and breeding cattle and horses, Raftery said. Many started riding at age two to three and began competing in local ranching contests. The lure of making as much as $25 per week and escaping the grind of ranch work brought the young women to the rodeo circuit. From 1900 through 1939, women competed alongside men for cash prizes, and exhibition money. They rode broncs, bulls, bull-dogged steers, roped, and performed dangerous trick-riding stunts. 

    Entrance to the Historic Hacienda de la Canoa is free, but a $10 donation is requested to view the exhibit. Donations go directly to the restoration work at the historic property. Visitors also have the chance to tour the ranch and learn more about the people who lived and worked there.

    For more information or to schedule group tours, please contact Valerie Samoy at 520-724-5220.

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