The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Announces 2016 Inductees

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Four Cowgirls to be Honored at the October 27 Induction Luncheon in Fort Worth, Texas

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (June 28, 2016) – The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame the only museum in the world dedicated to honoring women of the American West who have displayed extraordinary courage in their trailblazing efforts – is proud to announce the 2016 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductees, who will be honored at the 41st annual induction ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Round Up Inn in Fort Worth, Texas. This year’s inductee class includes a Western sculptor and painter from Colorado, an Arizona rancher and philanthropist, Hereford cattle rancher dedicated to preserving Jewish history in Texas, and a skilled trick rider from California.

The 2016 inductees are:

  • Veryl Goodnight: Goodnight has dedicated her life to exploring the relationships of pioneer women to wildlife and the West through bronze sculptures and oil paintings. As a wildlife rehabilitator, Goodnight has always been close to the natural world. As an artist she has utilized that knowledge to bring authenticity to her work on over 200 sculptures and 20 monuments. Her award-winning pieces have been displayed throughout the country at museums, zoos, universities, presidential libraries, and in places as far-reaching as Beijing and Botswana. Her most famous piece, “The Day the Wall Came Down,” is a larger-than-life bronze statue depicting five horses leaping over the crumbled Berlin Wall. It currently sits outside the Allied Museum in Berlin with matching castings placed outside the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas and at the entrance to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters building in Langley, Virginia.
  • Marilyn Williams Harris: As the co-manager of historic Sands Ranch for the last 20 years, Harris has made protecting wildlife habitats, repairing ecosystems, and preserving Arizona’s western landscapes a priority. Through her work with non-profits, Harris has raised millions of dollars for a variety of organizations ranging from the Arizona Horse Lover’s Foundation to the Barrow Neurological Foundation. Harris’ passion is horses and was the 2008 National Reined Cow Horse Association World Champion and National Champion in the Novice Non-Pro Bridle category. In 2012, she received the Arizona Cutting Horse Association Rookie of the Year Award. Harris uses her diverse array of skills and talents to fulfill her mission of preserving Arizona for future generations by leaving it in better condition than she found it.
  • Frances Rosenthal Kallison (1908-2004): Kallison was born in Forth Worth, Texas, but spent most of her adult life in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband at their Diamond K Ranch and general store. The Diamond K Ranch was known for their award-winning Polled Hereford cattle as well as hosting Wild West barbecues through the USO for soldiers. In 1947, she helped found the Ladies’ Auxiliary to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, a precision horseback riding and mounted drill team, which performed for everything from charity events to cameos in John Wayne movies. Kallison also had a passion for researching and documenting Jewish history in Texas, and contributed many scholarly articles to publications. She co-founded the Texas Jewish Historical Society, and oversaw the creation of an exhibit on Western Jews at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Pat North Ommert: A skilled trick rider, Roman rider and jumper, and horse racer, Ommert toured the world with Wild West shows. She acted as a stunt double in Hollywood movies such as the 1954 picture, “A Star is Born,” and landed contracts for performances at Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden. After she retired from trick riding, Ommert and her husband, a veterinarian, opened California’s first private equine hospital and the Los Caballos Farm, a center for resting and rehabilitating horses. Ommert was the recipient of the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. She has become a legend through her riding, and her invaluable advocacy to keep California’s horse trails and open spaces preserved will benefit cowgirls in generations to come.

The National Cowgirl Hall of Fame selection process is rigorous and lengthy. Out of a competitive list, which consistently grows with each new nomination, only four or five successful candidates per calendar year are honored with the prestigious distinction of becoming a National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee. The Hall of Fame is grouped into several categories including: artists and writers, champions and competitive performers, contributors to the cowgirl legacy, entertainers, ranchers (stewards of land and livestock), and trailblazers and pioneers. Since 1975, over 220 women have been inducted.

“These four remarkable women join a legendary group of existing Honorees at the Museum,” said Patricia Riley, Executive Director, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. “We are delighted to welcome these cowgirls from Colorado, Arizona, Texas and California, and look forward to sharing their stories with the world.”

The Induction luncheon and ceremony is the largest event for the Hall of Fame, and draws approximately 700-1,000 attendees each year. The event will kick off at 10:00 a.m. with the opening of vendor booths and a champagne reception followed by the induction luncheon and ceremony. For ticket information, please contact Emmy Lou Prescott at emmylou@cowgirl.net or call 817-509-8965.

For more news about the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, visit www.cowgirl.net, and follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NCMHOF, Twitter at www.twitter.com/cowgirlmuseum, Instagram at  www.instagram.com/cowgirlmuseum, Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/cowgirlmuseum, and YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/cowgirlmuseum.

About the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience, and independence that helped shape the American West, and fosters an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance they inspire. The Hall of Fame’s purpose is twofold: to preserve the history and impact of Western women living from the mid-1800s to present day, and to foster an appreciation for their ideals and spirit of self-reliance. These women are the legacy of legends — artists and writers, champions and competitive performers, contributors to the cowgirl legacy, entertainers, ranchers (stewards of land and livestock), and trailblazers and pioneers. The Museum is considered an invaluable national educational resource for its exhibits, research library, rare photograph collection, and award-winning distance-learning programs for grades K-12 and adults.

Located at 1720 Gendy Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107, the Cowgirl is open Monday (Memorial Day to Labor Day) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for children ages 3 to 12 and senior citizens (60+) and $10 for adults (ages 13+). For more information, please visit www.cowgirl.net or call 817-476-FAME (3263).

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