Legends of Cheyenne Frontier Days, Part 3: The Original Cowgirls
Cowgirls have been an important part of Cheyenne Frontier Days ever since 1904, when Bertha Kaepernick wowed audiences in a bronc riding exhibition.
One of the most famous cowgirls to ever compete at CFD is Eloise "Fox" Hastings. At 16, Hastings ran away from home and joined the Irwin Brother's travelling Wild West Show. In addition to bronc riding, she was also a trick rider and the first woman to ever compete the in "bulldogging" steer wrestling competition.
Hastings was married to another CFD legend, Mike Hastings. Although he had won the 1931 steer wrestling contest, his better half was far more famous than her husband.
Another legendary cowgirl was Marie Fitzer Danks. Like Fox Hastings, she too was married to a rodeo star. Clayton Danks was a CFD saddle bronc and steer roping champion and is believed to be the cowboy depicted on Wyoming's inconic Bucking Horse and Rider logo.
In 1908, Mrs. Danks won the Denver Post Ladies Relay at Frontier Days, claiming a larger prize than her husband had won for both of his previous victories.
In those days, husband and wife teams were common on the rodeo circuit. Many of them were well known performers at CFD, including world champion bulldogger Dell Blancett and his wife Bertha, famed trick rider Prairie Rose Henderson and her husband Charles Coleman, Barnie and Goldie St. Claire, Brian and Ruth Roach, Dick Shelton and Reine Hafley, Curly Roberts and Rose Smith, Hugh and Mabel Strickland and "Skeeter Bill" Robbins who was married to 1914 Ladies Relay winner Dorothy Merrell.