Hall of Fame Cowgirl Stacy Westfall. Photo © Nancy D. Brown
Like me, Stacy Westfall has been obsessed with horses at an early age. She got her first pony when she was six years old and has been learning the language of horses ever since. Even if you are not an equestrian, you may know Stacy from her appearance on the Ellen Show after her YouTube video from the Freestyle Reining Competition, riding without a bridle, went viral. Stacy also became the first female rider to win the Road to the Horse competition. She also has a wildly popular Facebook page, writes a blog, trains horses, is active on Instagram and is a wife and mother to a couple of boys. I confess that I have a girl crush on Stacy. If you envision a successful career working with horses, Stacy walks the talk.
As I mentioned, Barbara Van Cleve was the first person I met during the Cowgirl Spring Roundup at The Resort at Paws Up. She was seated to my left at dinner. A full-time professional photographer, Barbara circled back to her passion of horses and photography after retiring from her teaching career. She became the youngest dean of women in the United States at DePaul University where she also taught photography and English literature. Her roots are firmly planted in Montana where she continues to ride. She is always on the search for the best light to capture her ranch life photography.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to spend as much time with Cathy Smith as I would have liked. She taught a class on beading that was very well received, and the students who created medicine bags learned a lot. While you may not know Cathy personally, you have probably seen her work. She is known for costume design, making all the costumes in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves. Cathy is the epitome of a behind the scenes star, preserving the history of 19th century cowboys and cowgirls, as well as the Plains Indians.
“The Cowgirl Hall of Fame Museum creates inspiration and I hope to pass it on,” Nadine Lipson, Resort at Paws Up co-owner and National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame board member.
“The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience, and independence that helped shape the American West and fosters an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance they inspire.” Those are the attributes of a hall of fame cowgirl as taken from the honoree yearbook that I picked up during my Montana travels.