Into the Arena

Here is where you’ll find all the action highlighting the graceful athleticism of America’s champion cowgirls. Hear their first-person accounts of life in the arena, from great rides and daring deeds to the difficulties of being on the road.

“Greatest Rides” captures the thrill of arena events in sight and sound. See Tad Lucas, hailed as the world’s best female rodeo performer, trick-riding at the Deadwood Rodeo. Watch jockey Julie Krone’s win at the Belmont Stakes, just one of her more than 3,500 trips to the winner’s circle. Champion after champion treat you to some of the greatest rides in history in the gallery’s central “arena” made of three large projection screens that resemble a rodeo-chute gate. Two magnificent saddles – Julie Krone’s racing horse saddle and National Cutting Horse Association Rider Hall of Famer Sheila Welch’s cutting horse saddle – complete the experience.

Browse our array of rodeo memorabilia. From programs to badges to photographs, you’ll enjoy seeing these colorful keepsakes spanning a range of styles and time periods.

Our “Arena Style” reveals rodeo fashions as unique as the cowgirls who wore them. Dazzling outfits and no-frills garments move on a mechanized rack towards a viwing window where they’re showcased one at a time. Touch a flatscreen panel and you’ll get additional details about the rodeo stars who wore them.

Learn about life on the rodeo circuit in our interactive computer exhibit featuring one-on-one interviews with rodeo announcer Pam Minick, barrel racer Kappy Allen and other famous cowgirls. Hear them describe the perils of the rodeo and the hardships of being on the road.

Wonder what it’s like to ride a bronc? Saddle up on ours – a lifesize model modified from training bulls used by rodeo riders. Don’t worry, you won’t be thrown off, but you will get to download a 10-second “movie” of yourself looking like a real rodeo champion. We’ll capture your ride on video and composite it with old-style rodeo footage. After your ride, a ticket prints out with a unique password. Visit our website after noon the next day and download your one-of-a-kind movie to your computer. If you “ride the bronc” over the weekend, please retrieve your ride on Monday. Visit our BronkRide page!

No matter where you turn, you’ll see plenty to remind you of women who thrived on challenge and competition: rare photographs, posters, costume pieces and trunk-like cases filled with artifacts. Take your time. The more you look, the more you’ll see.