Without a doubt, the landscape of the Western lifestyle industry has changed. It has become modernized and digitized to an extent that has not been seen before. Behind the scenes and in front of the audiences, the dominating factor is a force of females. From entertainers to rodeo competitors, and from sole proprietors to business executives, a powerhouse of women is influencing this industry that we know and love. This surge of young women is determining what you see, hear, purchase, and admire, and is emerging as a force to be reckoned with.
COWGIRL Magazine is right in the middle of this force. As part of our mission to promote and empower women in the Western industry, we conceptualized our first annual COWGIRL “30 Under 30” recognition program to spotlight the individuals who are building the future through a passion for the Western lifestyle and who use its cultural values with perseverance and dedication.
Members of the 2020 class of COWGIRL “30 Under 30” were handpicked by our editorial team and invited to be recognized for their achievements and accomplishments. Each individual is one who we believe has shown significant dedication to the Western industry. Honorees had to meet certain criteria and were invited to provide their personal achievements as well as their thoughts on the future for women in our industry.
We are honored to be able to present this outstanding group of Western women and look forward to their contributions to the industry that drives our passion.
Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye
Nashville Recording Artists, Both age 24
Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye, known as the award-winning Nashville recording artists Maddie & Tae, first gained wide attention with the release of their first hit single, “Girl in a Country Song,” and their string of hits has continued to grow. As business partners, the dynamic duo has earned its chops when it comes to the strategy of a successful musical brand. Read Maddie & Tae’s full story in the feature by Wendy Wilkinson.
Future for women: “It is so important to recognize the future of our industry when they are right here in front of you. These young women are all under the age of 30. They are business executives, entrepreneurs, creators, you name it; they are it, and they are making a difference for the future of our Western industry.”
Journalist and CEO of Breaking Records Media, Age 27
Alexis Bloomer is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, and author with extensive knowledge in the media field. Her accomplishments include hosting her own stage show, reporting live from red-carpet events, hosting her own talk show on SIRIUS XM, and more. Now, she interviews professional rodeo athletes and musicians on the Wrangler Network and runs her own media company.
Future for women: “I think the future is bright, as long as we all remember why we work so hard to preserve this industry. This way of life is about so much more than our own success, it is about all of our success. When one of us succeeds or brings a positive light to our world, we all win.”
CEO of Rodeo Quincy, Age 28
Quincy Freeman-Eldridge grew up in rodeo and graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in Agricultural Communications. Post-grad, Eldridge designed lines for Ariat International and Wrangler, and eventually founded the Western brand Rodeo Quincy, which can be found in more than 300 stores across the United States.
Future for women: “It’s an industry that was once ruled by men, but as each year passes, more and more women are bringing something special to the table. I urge women of any age not to be afraid to get involved.”
Western Lifestyle Host at The Cowboy Channel, Age 30
Kirbe Schnoor has always been an advocate for the agriculture industry. Growing up raising Angus cattle and showing livestock, she later took a job in agricultural reporting and worked her way up to hosting a live broadcast show discussing the cattle market. Now she serves as the Western lifestyle reporter and agricultural host for The Cowboy Channel and RFD-TV. She is also hosting RanchHer, a new series that started in January 2020, focusing on women in the Western world.
Future for women: “The future is here and the women of the West are advocating for what they believe in. I understand and share the passion these women have for what they do, I admire their resolve to build careers in a male-dominated industry, and I am just happy to play a small role in sharing their stories!”
Horse Trainer, Stock Contractor, Event Director of Art of the Cowgirl, Age 28
Raised by horse trainers Curt and Tammy Pate, Mesa Pate was instilled a passion for all animals at a young age. At 17 years young, she became involved in the bucking bull industry and had early success with some very talented animals. Fast-forward to the present, and she is still involved heavily in the bucking bull industry, as well as the reined cow horse industry. Pate and her mother produce Art of the Cowgirl, an annual gathering that celebrates cowgirls and their contributions to the Western lifestyle and culture.
Future for women: “I feel like women of the world should take note of how the women in the Western industry are changing things for the better, and how they are accomplishing that with grace, grit, and positivity.”
Photographer and Owner of Kirstie Marie Photography, LLC., Age 29
Kirstie Jones is the owner and lead photographer of the boutique and fine-art equine photography studio Kirstie Marie Photography, LLC. A lifetime horse enthusiast, the Texas-based fine-art equine photographer has experienced firsthand the bond between a horse and a girl and strives to capture that special relationship for each and every client. Jones earned a BBA in Finance from the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, where she rode as a scholarship athlete for the TCU Equestrian Team.
Future for women: “Within the Western industry specifically, women are presented with limitless opportunity to monetize their talent and passions. I am so blessed by the opportunity to work from home, start a family, and raise my daughter in an environment where she is watching her mother live her dream.”
Rodeo Journalist, Age 26
You may know her as the 2014 Team Roping Canada Champion, 2015 Miss Rodeo Canada, or from her work with the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, but for the past two years, Katy Lucas has been the content editor for FloRodeo, where she creates entertaining and exciting content around 150 events livestreamed on FloRodeo’s website. Lucas also operates KT Rodeo Industries INC., where she helps rodeo competitors build skills to market themselves.
Future for women: “She could be a fan, a mom cheering on her kids, a woman competing in rodeo, a journalist covering the sport, or a rodeo queen that has never swung a rope or ran a barrel pattern—any shape or form, a woman is able to be involved. It makes her a part of the future of rodeo.”
Content Creator, West Desperado, Age 28
Shaley Ham is a full-time tax accountant with a love for the Western lifestyle. After getting noticed for her fashion posts on social media, she developed a marketing business based on Western fashion and lifestyle brands. Ham is one of the Western industry’s most sought-after influencer, racking up assignments and deals with brands such as Wrangler and Pendleton.
Future for women: “Many people tend to think of cowboys when they think of the Western way of life, but they forget the hardworking ladies who are working day in and day out to keep generational family ranches operating, or caring for their equine athletes. I think it’s incredible that social media has opened doors for Western women to explore their passions within the industry.”
Jordan Jo Fabrizio
Cowgirl, Roper, Producer, and Assistant Rodeo Coach, Age 29
Jordan Jo Fabrizio made history as the first ever World Champion breakaway roper at Cheyenne Frontier Days 2019. Jordan has a rodeo resume a mile long and has big goals as she represents herself and the sport of rodeo, specifically breakaway roping, with integrity and passion.
Future for women: “I feel that it is the utmost importance for those who are involved in the industry today to build our identity, character, integrity, and leadership to be an example for all of the young ladies that dream of being a part of the industry. I think it is so important, especially in today’s times, to strongly emphasize the history and roots of where we started, and continue to implement and carry on that legacy.”
Entrepreneur and Horsewoman, Age 25
Reata Brannaman grew up on her family ranch raising and training horses. She spent her childhood traveling around the country helping her father Buck Brannaman put on horsemanship clinics and riding every kind of horse imaginable. In high school, Brannaman bought her own stallion and began raising her own line of ranch horses; it was this big step that launched her into the world of marketing and selling ranch horses to the public. While attending Montana State University for her degree in marketing, she began to teach the colt-starting program for the university.
Future for women: “I believe we are lucky in our industry to have so many welcoming and opening organizations and individuals that allow women to work alongside men and excel in the same things. If you’re willing to put the work in, there should never be anything blocking your path to success.”
Public Relations Manager for American Hat Company, Age 25
“I wasn’t made to be a kept woman. I was made to WORK,” says Katie Armstrong, and that is just what she does. The Tarleton State University grad stays busy; she is always on the road, her inbox is always full, and she always has another project on the horizon. Armstrong has always had a strong work ethic—from putting herself through college on scholarships to interning with some of the top names in our industry—and she says that everything she has been working toward has finally paid off.
Future for women: “There’s an abundance of young women who dream of helping our industry evolve and grow; I’m one of them. I just can’t wait to see which ones set themselves apart and work day and night to do so.”
Motivational Speaker, Cowgirl, Age 29
Amberley Snyder is a highly sought-after motivational speaker, who despite losing the use of her legs in an automobile accident 10 years ago, has continued to compete on horseback against all odds. In 2019, the determined horsewomen and entrepreneur was the subject of the biographical Netflix feature film, Walk, Ride. Rodeo.
Future for women: “If I look into the future for our women in the Western industry, my first thought is to be yourself. Our world can sometimes try to influence how we feel or look at ourselves. We can feel pressured to change or be something different. We should be proud of who we are and what we stand for. We are beautiful as the Western women and influencers in our industry. We should continue to value where we have come from and where we will go next!”
Madi Wagner Photography, Age 21
Madi Wagner began her journey as a full-time wedding photographer two years ago. Since then, she has captured weddings and other memories for well-respected people in the Western lifestyle industry, including the Murray family, Matt and Cierra Triplett, and Jess and Hailey Lockwood.
Future for women: “The future of the women in the Western industry is exciting. I respect all of the women stepping up who can walk the walk and talk the talk.”
Reigning World Champion Barrel Racer, Age 25
Hailey Kinsel-Lockwood is a record-breaking, back-to-back World Champion barrel racer with two World Champion titles in 2018 and 2019, two arena records (one being held at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo), and a 2017 The American Barrel Racing Champion title. From a business perspective, she is covering all bases, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics (Finance and Real Estate option) from Texas A&M University and garnering more than $800,000 in career winnings.
Future for women: “My long-term goal is to have my own breeding and training operation that will come at the end of rodeoing. I want to have a strong business plan for that, be able to make money doing that, and be smart about it.”
Professional Barrel Racer, Age 25
Ivy Conrado-Saebens was born into the barrel-horse business. Traveling the world with her futurity-horse-trainer parents, Conrado-Saebens developed a passion for horses at a very young age. Though she took time off from barrel racing to compete in volleyball in the Junior Olympics four times, she could not deny her one true love. She turned her passion into a career and is now a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Qualifier, the 2019 Reserve World Champion, and the 2019 NFR Average champion with more than $718,000 in career earnings and multiple WNFR Round wins under her belt.
Future for women: “The future for women in the Western industry on the edge of absolutely historic greatness.”
Assistant Editor and Digital Editor at the Team Roping Journal, Age 25
Kaitlin Gustave discovered her love for team roping at the age of 16 and never looked back. The young editor—a roper in her own right—graduated with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from West Texas A&M University where she competed on the rodeo team in team and breakaway roping. It was an opportunity to intern for Spin to Win Rodeo Magazine (now Team Roping Journal) that showed her she could turn her passion for the sport into a career.
Future for women: “I truly believe that as long as you have a passion for the industry and what you do, there are no limits. I hope that I can have a hand in helping grow the role that women play in the Western industry and inspire young women to always follow their dreams.”
Trick Rider, Trick Roper, and Western Performer, Age 29
Brandi Phillips has served as the featured performer and lead trainer of the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls, known worldwide for their Western performing arts including trick riding and trick roping. To date, they have traveled to 18 countries and across the United States to perform at some of the most prestigious rodeos and events in the world.
Future for women: “I believe women have a real part in the Western industry, especially with breakaway roping being added to pro competition. It’s just getting started.”
Event Marketing Coordinator at The Cowboy Channel, Age 27
Taylor Gilkey has played various roles within the Western industry and currently serves as the event marketing coordinator at The Cowboy Channel. Whether it’s teaching interns how to cover rodeo by way of social media, coordinating fashion shows, or photographing horses, her passion for the Western way of life knows no bounds, and that is truly the foundation of her success.
Future for women: “I think the future for women in this industry is a bright shining star. There are so many influencers and ways to influence ‘our people.’ The younger generation is stepping up to the plate and making this industry something people can be proud to say they’re a part of.”
Author, Entrepreneur, Singer-Songwriter, Cowgirl, Age 27
Adrian Brannan is a Billboard chart-topping singer-songwriter who is equally at home in the branding pen, onstage, or on a bucking horse. Brannan encourages women around the world through her weekly #DearCowgirl letters and through her recently released book, Dear Cowgirl: Letters to Women. Hailing from an off-grid cabin in the mountains, Brannan splits her time between touring, writing, performing, chopping wood, and taking care of her own small bunch of cows.
Future for women: “It’s incredible to see how an industry that has always been shaped by strong women in many different roles continues to grow and shift to keep up with an ever-changing world. Whether she is caking cows, fixing fence, raising little cowhands, or designing fashion that will be worn down the runway, there is nothing she cannot do. She is you and she is me and she is beautifully unconfined by the box the rest of the world seeks to put her in.”
Olivia Starling Townsend
Western Model, Breakaway Roper, and Sales Representative, Age 20
Olivia Starling Townsend started as a brand ambassador for American Hat Co., and has developed a widespread personal brand since then. In addition to her work with American Hat Co., Townsend works as a brand ambassador and sales representative for BEX Sunglasses, NRS, and Miss Macie Boots, and was the 2019 face of Kimes Ranch Jeans.
Future for women: “The talent and drive of our women seem unparalleled. From fashion designers to NFR contestants we are a hard working, self motivated and very grounded. With so many boss babes with amazing stories as moms, business owners and competitors within the industry it is inspiring and allows for so much hope for individual growth at any stage of life!”
Horsewoman, Age 26
Madison Shambaugh, nicknamed “Mustang Maddy” from her work with wild horses, teaches compassionate horse owners to connect with their horses and solve behavioral issues without force through her Horse-Human Connection Academy (HCA). Shambaugh is passionate about advocating for training methods that are based on compassion, understanding, science, innovation, and mindfulness.
Future for women: “The women who I have the honor of working with are incredibly sensitive, intuitive, and empathetic when it comes to working with their horses. The future for women in the Western industry—particularly as it pertains to horses—is burning bright with potential, as women are learning to lead with their hearts.”
Digital Marketing Manager & Fashion Editor of COWGIRL Magazine, Age 23
Samantha Crowley graduated from Albright College with a B.A. in Fashion Merchandising and dreamed of working at a magazine. As the Fashion Editor for COWGIRL Magazine, she uses her degree to its fullest potential, styling fashion shoots, reporting on trends, and building relationships with some of the most important brands in our industry.
Future for women: “The future for women in the Western industry is brighter than ever. I think there is so much on the horizon for Western women, especially with the growing popularity of breakaway roping.”
Founder & Creator of McFarland Productions, Age 30
Enamored with the cowboy lifestyle, Natalie McFarland turned her lifelong interests and passions into a career when she founded McFarland Productions, a marketing company rooted in the Western industry. McFarland loves that her work takes her all over the world, traveling to ranches and locations while telling stories about amazing people and companies in the Western lifestyle.
Future for women: “Women have always played key roles in the ranching and Western lifestyle and their roles have only expanded on the ranch, in the arena and in the Western business world. All it takes to be a leader is an ‘I’ll show you’ attitude when someone doubts you.”
Digital Content Manager of COWGIRL Magazine, Age 24
Jenna Link is the Digital Content Manager for COWGIRL Magazine and feels fortunate that a career and a passion have come together in a position that allows her to travel around the country, working in the industry that raised her. When she’s not doing COWGIRL things, you can usually find her on the back of a horse, running barrels, or roping steers, and heading to the next rodeo.
Future for women: “Whether you are a competing cowgirl, a rancher, a fashion influencer, artist, creator, you-name-it, there is room for you at our table. The Western world is full of badass women who are passionate about what they do and they want others and our industry to thrive.”
Stock Contractor, Age 25
Paige Stout has raised bucking bulls alongside her family for over 15 years. When she was 10 years old, she bought her first bull and started in the youth futurities. After a big win in her final year of competition, she set her eyes on the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). Within a few months, she was invited to haul five of her very best bulls to the PBR in St. Louis, MO. Stout has been a stock contractor for the PBR for seven years and has been honored to have at least one of her bulls selected for the PBR World Finals in five of those years. Stout earned a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing from Texas Tech University and also works as a registered nurse.
Future for women: “Through many generations of hardworking, dedicated, independent women paving the way in the Western lifestyle, women today feel empowered and honored to be involved in the Western lifestyle and feel the importance of leaving their mark for the future generations.”
CEO/Owner of Denim & Velvet Marketing + Design, Age 28
Self-taught photographer Janzen Tew noticed the absence of a central hub for boutiques and brand owners to source everything from their logo and product photography to consulting and multi-media management, which led her to the creation of Denim & Velvet, a leading marketing and design company in the Western industry.
Future for women: “I think that the future of the women in the Western industry is powerful. They are using tools and knowledge found outside of our industry, evolving it and making it grow. It’s powerful and exciting to see the direction it is headed.”
Producer of Western Sports Roundup and Athlete Relations Manager, The Cowboy Channel, Age 22
Through Karlee Peterson’s daily TV show, Western Sports Roundup, she shares the news and updates of the Western world, along with never-before-heard stories of some of the biggest names in our industry.
Future for women: “Revolutionary. Western women have utilized individuals’ talents, skills, and passion to build a community of vibrant, brilliant goal-getters. The past barriers between the culture of city and Western now represent opportunity for all walks of life. Women are using these opportunities to truly revolutionize the ‘New West.’”
Stock Contractor, Age 20
Fallon Wentz was born into the bucking-bull business and has helped her family raise, haul, and flank their bulls at PBR and PRCA events. Her family’s bulls have gone to the PBR World Finals for the past nine years, and to the NFR for the past three years. Apart from the bucking-bull scene, Wentz is a dedicated college student with a passion for Western fashion.
Future for women: “I predict more women will honor the Western industry because of its diverse and deep-rooted history. Western women are empowering and inspirational trailblazers who instill themselves in their Western styles and beliefs while also being supportive of others in the industry.”
Student and Breakaway Roper, Age 17
Mentored by her father, saddle-bronc rider Mike Outhier, Madison started her rodeo journey before she could walk. Her rodeo journey led to her becoming the first breakaway roping champion at RFD-TV’s The American in 2019, lighting a path for the burgeoning timed event that is breaking barriers for women in professional rodeo. Outhier and her family raise their own horses on their ranch in Utopia, Texas.
Future for women: “The future of the women in the Western industry is so bright and is showing so much potential. I believe the involvement of women in rodeo is exponentially growing and I was blessed to be a part of it in the first Women’s Breakaway Roping at The American.”
Creative Director of Peyote Bird Designs, Age 28
Amanda Alexander is a traveler, a storyteller, and a lover of artisan jewelry. She is the creative director of Peyote Bird Designs, a Santa Fe-based wholesale jewelry company specializing in native and American artisan jewelry. In her role, Alexander has migrated the Peyote Bird brand from private label to a leading industry standard. She has studied abroad in Costa Rica, Columbia, and Italy, and graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Marketing.
Future for women: “I am proud to work in the Western industry because there are so many inspiring female role models to collaborate with and learn from. I am proud to see how much of the constant creativity this industry has to offer starts with the women who run it!”
Recipients of COWGIRL 30 Under 30 2020 will be recognized in an on-stage and jumbotron presentation courtesy of The Cowboy Channel. The part live/part video presentation will take place on Saturday, March 7, prior to the main performance of RFD-TV’s The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. See the details HERE: