2014 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductees

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Shirley Lucas Jauregui – Oklahoma/California

Shirley Lucas Jauregui dreamed of owning and riding a horse while growing up on the edge of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Under the charm and fascination with Tad Lucas and Vivian White’s performance at a local rodeo, she knew it wasn’t if she would become a trick rider; it was when. Jauregui and her sister, Sharon, landed their first trick riding appearance at the 1948 Lakeside Rodeo followed by the Sheriff’s Rodeo at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The sister act juggled their nationally-known act, performing at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, the Cow Palace, and Albuquerque, with movie contact work, doubling for movie industry names such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Shirley Jones, Betty Hutton, and Grace Kelly, just to name a few. They also had their hand in designing the latest western fashions for women by working with brands such as Wrangler. Shirley spent her life outside of the arena giving back to the Western way of life and community. She has been a steadfast supporter of youth organizations such as 4-H and FFA, and served as the president of the Nevada County Beef Breeders Association. She was named California’s Cattlewoman of the Year in 1996, and received the Tad Lucas Memorial Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 2008. Jauregui retired to her ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas near Penn Valley, Calif., where her family moved in 1966. Her legacy continues with her two children – Dan, a former NIRA tie-down calf roping champion, and Michele, an accomplished horsewoman and trainer in Kentucky.

 

May Owen, M.D. – Texas (1891 - 1988)

Dr. May Owen committed to a career in medicine at the age of nine when she discovered her true passion was helping others. Her first patients were animals on her family’s farm in Falls County, Texas. She attended high school in Fort Worth, Texas, and received her undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University. The first woman to enroll in Louisville Medical College in Kentucky, she earned her medical degree in 1921, and continued studies at Mayo Clinic and Bellevue Hospital in New York City. In 1936, Texas Christian University awarded Owen with an honorary doctor of science degree for discovering the danger of surgical glove powder. Among her many accomplishments and accolades in the medical field, Owen was named by the Medical Woman Association Medical Woman of the Year in 1955 and received the George T. Caldwell Award in 1958, which is the highest honor the Texas Society of Pathologists can bestow upon its members. Owen also contributed to the world of veterinary medicine by assisting with the development of a rabies vaccine and the discovery of diabetes in sheep when fed molasses cake. She was elected an honorary member of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1963. In 1986, the May Owen Trust Fund was established to provide financial assistance to medical students. Owen passed away in 1988, but her legacy and commitment to helping those around her continue to inspire and change the medical frontier.

 

Frances Kavanaugh Hecker – California (1915 - 2009)

Known as the “Cowgirl of the Typewriter,” Frances Kavanaugh Hecker was one of the few women writing western screenplays in Hollywood, a primarily male-dominated profession. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up around ranching in Houston which gave her what she called “the feeling of Westerns,” before moving to Los Angeles with her parents in 1940. She started scriptwriting for producer/director/writer Robert Tansey at Monogram Pictures after he discovered her writing ability in Max Reinhardt’s drama workshop. Her credits began with the Driftin’ Kid in 1941, and over the next ten years, worked on over 30 films starring the likes of Tom Keene, Lash LaRue, Eddie Dean, Ken Maynard, Bob Steele, and Hoot Gibson. She also worked for Disney, Goldwyn, KABC Studios and Four Star Productions. For her influential contributions to western cinema, Kavanaugh Hecker has been honored by the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, the Western Film Fair, Reel Cowboy’s Awards, and the Southern California Motion Picture Council. While she died in 2009, her story rides on every time these films play.

 

Jean Cates and Sue Cunningham – Texas

Tasty traditions have always been served up in Jean Cates and Sue Cunningham’s family. Born in Turkey, Texas, the sisters learned what it meant to be real cowboy cooks thanks to their father, who became an established chuckwagon cook in the Texas Panhandle. When he died in 1984, the sisters teamed up to carry on the family tradition and began the C-Bar-C Chuckwagon. They competed in their first cook-off in the early 1990s and made history in 1992 when they walked away with the winnings at the Western Heritage Classic Cook-off in Abilene, Texas, as the first women team to claim the top honor. The team has gone on to win all major chuckwagon cook-offs. The sisters have published three cowboy cuisine cookbooks. In 1996, they were awarded the American Cowboy Culture Award presented by the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration. They were also named Chuckwagon of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists. Chuckwagons being noted as a time-honored tradition in the America West, the sisters have continued to also uphold ranching and rodeo traditions throughout their lives and established legacies for their families to continue.