National Cowgirl Museum Hall of Fame Day 2 – The Induction Luncheon

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

“Established in 1975, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is the only museum in the world dedicated to honoring women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American West.”

Tuesday November 21st, 2017 we woke up early and got ready for an exciting day ahead. We had traveled from Wyoming to Fort Worth, Texas for this event. The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame 42nd Induction Luncheon was the reason so many people had traveled to Fort Worth, Texas and everyone was excited about it!

There were chartered buses to give the honorees and their guests a ride from the hotel to the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame.

Sitting on the bus by 2008 NCMHOF Honoree- Beverly Sparrowk.

The buses dropped us off at the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame so they could get a group picture of the honorees in the museum but the big ceremony was being held across the street from the “Cowgirl” at The Will Rodgers Memorial Center.

While the group photo was being taken, a special moment happened when 1990 Honoree Shelly Burmeister Mowery had a pair of white boots that had fun story. (In 1980 at the NFR in Oklahoma City a pair of white boots were borrowed from Shelly for a young lady who was going to be singing the national anthem… the young lady was Reba!)

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Group photo of the new 2017 inductees and past honorees that were present for this year’s event.

After the group photo was taken we all walked across the street to the Will Rodgers for the ceremony.

Will Rogers Memorial Complex

Each table has been uniquely designed by businesses and boutiques. It is a great way to advertise their business.

First were opening remarks by event emcees Deborah Ferguson NBC 5 Today Anchor and Red Steagall the Official Cowboy Poet of Texas.

Deborah Ferguson and Red Steagall

Special guest speaker, Mayor Betsy Price, spoke about her roots as a cowgirl. Fort Worth is the largest city in the US that is run by a woman! Mayor Price referenced stories of her growing up as a cowgirl and how that has “helped her negotiate with the good ol’ boys.”

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Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns waiting at the side of the stage together.

As I mentioned in previous blog, my friend, 1977 honoree Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, gives the invocation for the ceremony.

Next was the presentation of the Gloria Lupton Tennison Pioneer Award to Ann D. Romney. Ann has a real love for horses and has used them as therapy for her struggles associated with having MS (multiple sclerosis) and raising funds for its advocacy and research. Ann is an accomplished equestrian and has loved the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding. In 1998, she was diagnosed with MS. Having ridden horses in her youth, she resumed riding as a form of therapy and relaxation to fight the effects of the disease. Her horseback therapy evolved into dressage, in which she has earned top awards nationally as an adult amateur. Making a difference in the lives of people who suffer from MS. Ann serves as the global ambassador for the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

“This year’s remarkable Inductees will be fitting additions to the Hall of Fame,” said Patricia W. Riley, executive director of the Cowgirl. “Currently, we have 228 Honorees— artists and writers, champions and competitive performers, entertainers, ranchers, trailblazers and pioneers.”

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2017 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, Margaret McGinley Dickens
Courtesy the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame/Photo by Rhonda Hole

  • “Margaret McGinley Dickens, Alvarado, Texas: Dickens pioneered the use of horses to facilitate emotional and physical healing of people with disabilities. In 1996, she and Patti Pace co-founded Wings of Hope Equitherapy south of Burleson, Texas, to provide hope and healing through gentle horses and the love of God. More than 1,000 riders from age 3 to 78 — with disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and closed head injuries and war veterans with PTSD — have benefited. Dickens retired from her daily role in 2015 but continues to serve on the Board of Directors.”
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2017 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, Mary Burger 
Courtesy the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame/Photo by Rhonda Hole

  • Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla.: A barrel racer for five decades, Burger, by age 68, had won 11 World Championships in Barrel Racing, 9 American Quarter Horse Association and 2 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association/Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Championships. At 58, she set the record as the oldest barrel racer to win a world title. In 2016, at 68, she was the oldest WPRA and PRCA National Finals Rodeo qualifier and the oldest person to win the WPRA Barrel Racing World Championship.
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2017 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, Reba McEntire 
Courtesy the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame/Photo by Rhonda Hole

  • Reba McEntire, Nashville, Tenn.: The legendary Oklahoma native’s achievements include 35 No. 1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl, 15 American Music Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, 9 People’s Choice Awards, 7 Country Music Association Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, ACM Career Achievement Honor, 50th Anniversary Milestone Award for the Most Awarded ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, first-ever American Country Countdown NASH Icon Award, National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress, 11 movie credits and starring on Broadway in “Annie Get Your Gun” and in the television sitcom “Reba.”
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2017 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, Jaqueline Smith McEntire 
Courtesy the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame/Photo by Rhonda Hole

  • Jacqueline Smith McEntire, Stringtown, Okla.: Besides being Reba McEntire’s mother, Jackie McEntire has been a lifelong leader in public education, serving five school districts in southeastern Oklahoma for almost 20 years as a teacher, secretary and librarian. In 1943 at age 18, she rode her horse to the Tipperary School to teach grades 1‒8. During her 11 years at Kiowa High School starting in 1962 as the librarian and secretary, she was involved in many areas of the school’s administration while raising her four children. She was responsible for the school board’s approval of the Kiowa Cowboy Band, which turned out a number of future music sensations including three of her own, Pake, Susie and Reba. In 2016, Southeastern Oklahoma State University recognized her dedication to education by awarding her an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Public Education and Community Service.
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2017 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, Ashley Collins 
Courtesy the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame/Photo by Rhonda Hole

  • Ashley Collins, Murrieta, Calif.: Over the past 30 years, Collins has risen from homelessness and destitution to become one of the top female contemporary painters, helping the advancement of women in contemporary art. Her powerful, large-scale paintings reflecting the soul of the horse are in top collections worldwide. She has reached back to help thousands of women and children lead better lives through a hands-on approach mostly to small grassroots charities throughout the world.

It was an honor to be at this event with such amazing people.

The meal that was prepared for the event was absolutely delicious. The hosts were all so friendly and it was a grand time had by all in attendance.

I met so many neat people. I am already looking forward to next year!!

NCMHOF Director of Development Emmy Lou Prescott

2006 NCMHOF Honoree Sharon Camarillo

1991 NCMHOF Honoree Jonnie Jonckowski

Top Row- Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Mrs. And Mr. Larry Mahan, Beverly Sparrowk/ Bottom Row- Trina Hadley, Shelly Burmeister Mowery, and Karen Vold

2008 NCMHOF Honoree- Audrey O’Brien Griffin

1992 NCMHOF Honoree- Sheila Kirkpatrick Massar and her husband Ross Massar


After the ceremony many of us went out to eat dinner at the Cattlemen’s Steak House. About half of the group at dinner had already left but we did get a picture of some of us.

Jan Youren, Sheila Kirkpatrick Massar, me, Barbara Van Cleve, Sherri Mell, Cathy Smith, Terri Moyers, Jonnie Jonckowski, Lynne German, Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Rose Alvarez, and Jennifer Smith.

2004 NCMHOF Honoree Sherri Mell

I will soon start posting stories on some of the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame honorees and other people I met while at the “Cowgirl!” Check back with to read all about them!

For more information about the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame follow them on Facebook and check out their website!

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

About Tiffany Schwenke

My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...

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