Art of the Cowgirl Horsemanship Fellowship’s Journey: Part 1

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I (Savanna) have been excited about the mission of Tammy Pate’s Art of the Cowgirl event since I first heard about it more than a year ago. I attended the first event as a gift from my family and was immediately in awe of the caliber of talent and artistry.

I first rode with Lee Smith when I was about 11, and then a couple more times in the next few years, so I was drawn to her and her horsemanship principles at the event. I applied for the AOC horsemanship fellowship, but I prayed that it would go to the person it would most benefit, who would use the knowledge to do the most good.

I met the first AOC horsemanship fellowship recipient at an AOC clinic with Lee Smith and Tammy, Curt, and Mesa Pate in Montana this summer, and I immediately knew they chose a perfect recipient. I asked Alicia Adamson if she would share what her journey was like. Here is part one of her story.

horsemanship fellowship

In the fall of 2018, I became aware of an event coming up, the Art of the Cowgirl. It seemed really interesting to me, so I followed their facebook page. Some friends and I had wanted to go to the event but were unsure if it was going to work out or not. While following the page, I came across the fellowship opportunity with Lee. I thought wow that would be amazing – my husband, Scott and I had seen Lee at the Legacy of Legends in 2013 and were captivated by her smoothness and skill with a horse. I tried to dismiss the opportunity, but it kept popping into my mind, like God was tapping me on the shoulder saying that I should be applying. I mentioned it to Scott and he figured it was worth a try. When I sat down to put together my application, it felt like the easiest thing in the world. It just flowed out of me as I talked about what I was doing and where I was headed. Now, I thought, if they don’t like what I’m up to then it’s not the right opportunity for me anyway. I had an unusual confidence wash over me when I sent it in…now I had to wait and see. The date they said the announcement would be made came and went and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and wondering who ended up with the opportunity. A couple of days later I had an email saying the announcement had been postponed since they received quite a few applications. There was still hope! I eagerly awaited the new date they had given for the announcement. I made sure my phone was charged, ringer turned up and by my side all day, just in case! Around 6 pm a Montana phone number called and I was nervous and excited to see what they had to say. Sophi Davis called to let me know that I had been selected as the recipient and I didn’t even know what to say. I was beyond excited!

horsemanship fellowship

Bryce and Laurie Galbraith, Lee Smith, Alicia Adamson, Sheryl Morton, and Mark Smith

This happened the week before the Art of the Cowgirl event. By this time, my group of friends and I decided that this would not be our year to attend so we had not made any plans to go. Sophi said that I did not need to attend but they would love if I could make it as they were doing a small ceremony to recognize the fellowship recipients. I figured this was a great excuse for a trip to Phoenix! Scott and I rushed to get our passports and booked some plane tickets. While in Arizona, I can’t describe the amazing hospitality and the awesome people behind the Art of the Cowgirl. This was an event like I have never witnessed before. It was as though I had met people that I could really resonate with, women that were interested in the same things I was and were truly there to support and encourage each other. The talent was also something to see, between the clinicians, presenters and ranch rodeo competitors. All in all, I would describe it as inspiring! While I was there I had the chance to meet the woman behind it all – Tammy Pate, and could see how she created this unique culture – she herself is such a gracious, hardworking, and generous person and this rippled through the event and truly created something amazing. This was also my first chance to meet Lee Smith and her husband Mark. Scott and I really enjoyed getting to know them a little bit and it made me look forward to my time with her that much more. Bruce Campbell was there on behalf of the Peter Campbell Legacy fund, which funded the horsemanship fellowship and for that I am so very grateful.

If you wish to learn more about the fellowship opportunities or attending the second annual event, January 24-26 at Corona Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona, visit the website at

Watch for part two of Alicia’s story.

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training, Photography, Ranch Life, Uncategorized

About Savanna Simmons

I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...

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