Do we ever think about what the definition of certain words really mean? For example, take two simple words like cowgirl and essence. When used separately they are quite simple and easy to understand, but what happens when you use them together? What is the true meaning of cowgirl essence and why would that be important as a rodeo queen? To me, these two words combined bring on a whole new meaning. Maybe cowgirl essence is being authentic and passionate in a way no one else can understand. It is the ability to have enough grit to outwork anyone standing in your way. Cowgirl essence can’t be described, it has to be shown. It was definitely show last weekend at a new and special event!
When I heard there was a cowgirl essence exchange I couldn’t help but become intrigued by what that meant. As I looked more into this event called The Cowgirl Gathering, I knew it was something I needed to attend! The inaugural Cowgirl Gathering was held in Fort Worth, Texas at the Cowboy Channel Studio. The weekend consisted of a number of women from the western industry that came together to speak on a whole gamut of topics revolving around the spirit of the American Cowgirl. These women came from all walks of life and different parts of the western industry but all had the same hard working cowgirl heart.
We kicked off the weekend with a round table of five well known women in the industry. Lindy Burch, Sarah Dawson, Stephanie Lynn, Dena Kirkpatrick, and Kim Lindsey all came together to talk about different disciplines of the performance world. One thing that continued to be said by all of them in their separate industries is that the one thing that helped them find success was that they out worked everyone else. It wasn’t always the special horse or the connections that made them champions in their disciplines it was more the hard work that they put in that ultimately paved a way to their success.
My favorite speaker all weekend definitely was Amanda Kimes. She and her husband started Kimes Ranch from the bottom up. They literally both quit their day jobs after watching a pair of jeans being made on T.V. and said, “This is what we want to do.” I appreciated her transparency in how she told the story of their adventure in making a denim jean. She had the whole studio in laughter at times even while she was speaking of all the hardships she went through to just get one prototype sewn together. In spite of all the bumps in the road they never let it deter them from the end goal of owning their own company.
In addition to the engaging speakers there were also female entertainers! We heard some of the most beautiful voices from Macy Dot Neal and Madison Paige. Both are up and coming country singers and songwriters. On top of that, Jessica K. Haas came in for a speed painting performance where she painted an image of Beth Dutton upside down! If you are a Yellowstone fan you can understand when I say the crowd went wild when she flipped the painting around and we discovered who the image portrayed. Cowgirl poetry might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word entertainment, but Amy C. Witt delivered multiple beautiful and truthful poems from her book. All four women did a spectacular job of entertaining and really added to the cowgirl essence of the weekend!
Each speaker mentioned setbacks that this year has brought them. Whether it was cancelled events or missed opportunities because of the pandemic everyone missed out on something or so it seemed. One lady had a different view on it though. LeAnn Hart came to us for our morning Sunday worship. I appreciated LeAnn’s story about a broken flank strap that she couldn’t get over until she realized the bull rider in that particular ride was hurt. She talked about how she had to step back and look at the big picture instead of focusing on the silly things. The lesson here was that the loss isn’t greater than the gain. This hit me pretty hard as I have been really working on focusing on the positive of 2020 instead of the negative. We all struggle with this but in that moment it all made perfect sense. I just loved how her words perfectly flowed together to give everyone a different perspective on such a trying year.
We wrapped up the weekend with a session on mental performance. I am already a firm believer in the mental game of an athlete or anyone who is competing. I have experienced this time and time again in rodeo queen competitions where I realized if my mind wasn’t in it to win it, I definitely didn’t perform my best. Donene hit it home when she said, “Close the gap from where you are to where you want to be.” She spoke a lot about procrastination and how we can hinder our productivity by not taking the first step toward the future. We got up and danced, hooped, and hollered through “45 Minutes To More Confidence” with the author of “Heart of a Champion,” Donene Taylor.
These descriptions only begin to hit all of the amazing content from two full days. On top of everything else, we heard even more on cowgirl history, horse racing, life for a Thoroughbred after racing, modern horsewomen, podcasting, and strategies for a business. I was blown away on how they pulled such a great event together during a pandemic and kept everyone safe in doing so. I can’t wait to go back next year!
Miss Rodeo USA 2020
Brooke’s Bloopers: For the first time this year I have come up short with a funny situation. I can tell you what potentially could have ended in a funny story though. While in the Fort Worth Stockyards I came across a longhorn named Patron. I could have climbed atop this huge creature but instead I decided that my outfit wasn’t really made for straddling livestock. Considering I was wearing a skirt. I chose to take the safest road traveled here and just walk on by. Could you imagine the story this could have been if I would have tried to climb aboard?
Queens Corner: The Cowgirl Gathering was the perfect opportunity for a rodeo queen to attend an event that was a bit out of the ordinary. I urge all the rodeo queens out there to take the time to branch out and find different events to attend. This was exactly the kind of motivational event anyone would need to recharge and continue to represent the western lifestyle in the rodeo and equine industries.