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True Westdelightful... From contestants to queens, these remarkable women and their life stories are exciting and heartwarming. A true treasure.
Rodeo has always been considered a supremely masculine sport, a rough and tumble display of macho strength and skill. But author Joan Burbick shows us the other side of rodeo: the world of rodeo queens?part cowgirl and part pageant princess?who wave and smile and keep the dream of the ideal Western woman alive.
So who are the women behind the candy-red chaps, Farrah Fawcett curls, and rhinestone tiaras? Burbick traveled the backroads of the rural West for years, trying to find ...
Rodeo has always been considered a supremely masculine sport, a rough and tumble display of macho strength and skill. But author Joan Burbick shows us the other side of rodeo: the world of rodeo queens—part cowgirl and part pageant princess—who wave and smile and keep the dream of the ideal Western woman alive.
So who are the women behind the candy-red chaps, Farrah Fawcett curls, and rhinestone tiaras? Burbick traveled the backroads of the rural West for years, trying to find out. She interviewed dozens of queens, including rodeo royalty from the 1930s and 40s, women who grew up breaking wild horses, branding calves, and witnessing the sad decline of the ranching life. Stories from white and Native American rodeo queens in the 1950s and 1960s, the golden age of rodeo, reveal the conflicts over gender and race that shaped the rodeo and the Cold War politics of small Western towns. Finally, rodeo queens from the 1970s to the present describe a more fiercely commercial rodeo, driven largely by TV-ratings and sponsorships, glitter and hairspray.
Illustrated throughout with wonderful photographs, this rich tapestry of women's voices echoes and challenges our clichés of the rural West. Their combined stories of fulfilled dreams and lost hopes reveal the tenacity of the myth of the American West, a place of muscled men, golden-haired women, relentless beauty and tragic limits.
The rodeo circuit provides another framework for Western legend; barrel-racing cowgirls spent their time away from the arena "polishing white boots and powdering white hats," according to Rodeo Queens and The American Dream. Author Joan Burbick interviews female rodeo stars, starting with the foremothers of the nineteen-thirties. "Buckle bunnies," as they were called, "were on a strict work schedule. Western heritage was serious business."
Farther west lay California, and particularly Southern California, with its stark contrasts of reality and fakery, history and amnesia. "Accept no man's statement that he knows this Country of Lost Borders well," Mary Austin warned in 1909, but more than seventy contributors take a shot in Writing Los Angeles. One of them, Helen Hunt Jackson, described L.A. in 1883 as a city of "century-long summers" -- an earlier version of Truman Capote's assessment: "Snow is on the mountains, yet flowers color the land, a summer sun juxtaposes December's winter sea." In other words, wish you were here.(Lauren Porcaro)
|1||Rodeo Queen Lament||11|
|2||The Last Branding||29|
|3||A Drowned Land||45|
|4||Trusting the Wild||61|
|6||Queen for a Day||101|
|10||A Perfect Image||173|
|11||Dreaming Las Vegas||193|
|The Last Rodeo||205|
|A Note on the Photographs||229|