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And the West is History: Cowgirl Maude Tarr at Durango Round-Up – 1919

The 1919 Durango Fair & Round-Up held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds was billed to be the biggest and best ever. With World War I having just ended, Durango and surrounding towns were ready to celebrate. Newspaper reports said many thousands attended who could not find seats. Organizers brought in well-known rodeo and Western performers such as Little Joe, “Texas” Jack Lewis and “Huckleberry Slim” Johnson. They also booked California Frank’s All-Star Wild West Show that included well-known women performers: trick rider Rena Haffey, and dancing-horse trainer and riding trick shot artist Mamie Francis. Another celebrated cowgirl invited was the woman pictured here, Maude Tarr. Publicized as one of the best riders “that has ever ridden in the west,” newspaper accounts said she “made the thousands of visitors at Cheyenne hold their breath and wonder how a woman could do it.” The promoters advertised that Maude would attempt to ride “The Kaiser” said to be “a bucking brute” and a “devil in the shape of a horse.” During the first performance, the horse easily bucked off cowboy George Mullen. To the great displeasure of the crowd, the owner of the horse refused to allow her to get on saying “women riders spoil bucking horses.” The press however said everyone understood that the owner was concerned that her riding the horse would be a “huge discouragement” to others. She instead successfully displayed her bronco busting skill on an alternate horse. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 98.17.10 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)