art of the cowgirl girls on horses cowgirl magazine
Cowgirls prepare for a ranch rodeo. All photography by Ken Amorosano.……

Tammy Pate held on to this dream: to celebrate, gather, and connect Western women around horses and Western art.  That is just what she did with Art of the Cowgirl, a three-day celebration of the American cowgirl staged at the ever-so-charming Corona Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona.  Not only did Pate, a lifelong cowgirl with a rich family history in ranching, deliver on the concept, she also catapulted her idea onto a huge audience of women who came together, husbands and children in tow, to get in on the celebration. 

Cowgirls prepare to snare their cow in the cowgirl ranch rodeo.

Opening the weekend, the Art of the Cowgirl Legends Reception brought together guests and attendees who were able to connect with artists, clinicians, musicians, and exhibitors with appetizers and live music by Trinity Seely as Western Horseman magazine staff honored Montana Silversmith’s Judy Wagner with their prestigious Woman of the West award.

Montana Silversmiths’ Judy Wagner who was on hand to receive her Western Horseman Woman of the West award.
Singer Lyndsay Butler.

Corona Ranch, with its lush green lawn, central bar, and southwest inspired buildings including their unique round arena and grandstands, was the perfect setting for such an event. 

COWGIRL Magazine’s exhibit banner.
Cowgirls shopping.

Throughout the weekend, clinics and seminars with some of the industry’s most talented artists kept attendees busy.  Among master artists making presentations were saddlemaker Nancy Martiny, rawhide braider and hitcher Teresa Black, engraver and silversmith Amy Raymond, bootmaker Kelly Martin, fine artist Jan Mapes, photographer Constance Jaeggi, horsewoman Lee Smith, and Greeley Hat Works’ Trent Johnson.

Silversmith Ivy McNulty helps a customer with a necklace.
Melissa Dragoo Glissmeyer and Julie Brady for the Cowgirls Historical Foundation.

In Corona Ranch’s round arena, clinicians including Reata Brannaman and Lee Smith taught roping and horsemanship.  Trick-riding demonstrations by the amazing Brandi Phillips, as well as cowdog work with Sharon Edsall, also kept spectators on the edge of their seats.

Reata Brannaman.
Sharon Edsall during her cowdog demonstration.

A carefully curated group of vendors and exhibitors provided a shopping opportunity to the enthusiastic crowds, with everything from high-quality custom hats, handmade jewelry, clothing, saddles, and tack. A central bar proved to be a gathering point in between arena events and engagements, and brought on lively conversation among the nattily dressed cowgirls and boys.

Cowgirls shopping.
Young cowgirls having fun.
Wrangler’s Robin Rich.

The event continued to crescendo with an exhilarating ranch rodeo in which cowgirls roped, tied, and mock-branded cattle under the clock.

Mock branding during the ranch rodeo.

The grand finale was the Elite Horse Sale on Sunday where a select group of horses—brought by some of the handiest women in the ranching industry—were put on display and then sold to the highest bidder.

Founder, Tammy Pate.
Event director, Mesa Pate.

And all this to perpetuate the future of cowgirls is Pate’s Fellowship Program, an original dream of providing an opportunity for emerging Western artists to work with masters to learn and refine their passions.

Art of the Cowgirl 2020 is currently in planning and COWGIRL Magazine has already committed its participation.