First place winner, Kelsey Love Thomas and Elvira.……

Photos and story by Ken Amorosano

Art of the Cowgirl, a three-day gathering that celebrates cowgirl artisans and their contributions to the Western lifestyle and culture, initiated another “first” when it hosted the World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition, held this past January at Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Phoenix, Arizona.

Holly Irish and Stylin Time.
Kaleigh King and Scooting Jule Lee.

Structured similarly to the American Quarter Horse Association’s former event Battle in the Saddle, World’s Greatest Horsewoman focused on one horse and one rider, testing their skills and versatility with the same bit in four exhilarating phases of competition–herd work, rein work, steer stopping, and cow work.  The event was open to 25 female competitors and proved to be the highlight of the early evening performances, where spectators packed the grandstands and enthusiastically cheered on the final ten competitors.

Morgan Jolene Holmes and Reys Star Cat.
First place winner, Kelsey Love Thomas and Elvira.
Colee Charlesworth and Smart Sugar Star.
Jymme Dominguez and Nics Highbrow.

From the business perspective, the top five horse and rider duos competed for cash, prizes, and the chance to compete at the prestigious National Reined Cow Horse Association’s World’s Greatest Horseman, held February in Fort Worth, Texas.

For the spectators it was nothing short of raw horsepower led by some of the most talented horsewomen in the Western sports arena.

Benta Lee and Playboys R Magic.
Bobby-Jean Jones Colyer and Givmesom Moonshine.

“For a lot of horsewomen, horsemanship is their art, and they’re interested in reined cow horse because it embraces ranching,” says Art of the Cowgirl Event Director Mesa Pate. “They may not have the opportunity to compete due to finances and the long distance to travel to shows.  The World’s Greatest Horsewoman is a unique way to tip our hat and show respect to working ranch cowgirls and the horses they’ve trained.  We look forward to developing a longstanding relationship with NRCHA, because there are a lot of ranching men and women trying to get to a high level in their horsemanship and compete at reined cow horse events.”

Holly Irish and Stylin Time.
Nicole Westfall and Surely A Pepto Nic.
Jymme Dominguez and Nics Highbrow.
Holly Irish and Stylin Time.
Kate Buchannan and Lucky Cee Blair.

COWGIRL is a proud sponsor of the artfully curated cowgirl culture event and was on hand with camera to share in the some of the amazing images presented by the talented horsewomen who more than impressed the enthusiastic audience.