The featured entertainment at the Lincoln County Fair and Rodeo in Panaca this year is an appearance by the famous Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls, Aug. 11-12 in the rodeo arena.
Riata Ranch is a real place located about 90 miles north northeast of Bakersfield, at Three Rivers, Calif.
The all-female international trick riding, trick roping and Roman riding troupe has appeared at rodeos and events around the world such as the Wrangler National Finals in Las Vegas, Reno Rodeo, Pendleton Round Up, Salinas, Calif, Dodge City, Kansas, and many more.
They have traveled to 18 countries on four continents building their reputation as world class performers, including a performance before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the observance of her 60 years on the English throne in 2012, with a few of the members even being invited to have tea and a personal visit with the queen.
Riata Ranch provides a basic and thorough equine education and horsemanship for youth. It’s a unique concept that teaches valuable life-lessons of hard work, discipline, pride and respect from the back of a horse of which to date 3,500 students have been able to experience. It is chronicled in a book about the program, titled “Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls – Life Lessons Learned on the Back of a Horse.”
Created in 1957 by the late Tommy Maier as a riding school, today Riata Ranch is under the direction of Jennifer Walch Nicholson, who has been with Riata Ranch for nearly 40 years. She was one of the original four trick riding performers in the late 1970s, an international team leader through the 1980s and 90s, and serves now as one of the administrative staff.
Many young girls dream of the thrill and challenge of riding a horse in a world class performance. Riata Ranch has facilitated that opportunity to literally thousands of young people since 1957 using the values and traditions of the American Western Heritage to build character through disciplined instruction.
The Riata program has been a standard bearer in the equestrian industry for the last five decades and the polished young women whose lives have been positively impacted are testimonials to the importance of the lessons taught both in and out of the arena.
During the 1970’s Riata was home to state and national youth champions in horse shows and Jr. Rodeo competitions. Riata Ranch also had over 25 horse show and rodeo queens including the title of Miss Rodeo America. Riata strives to teach proper etiquette along with good manners and citizenship skills which proved to be a boost when it came to Riata Ranch students in the arena of competition.
The team will be coming to Panaca from appearances at the Cheyenne Frontier Days, July 21-24 in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the Days of ’76, July 25-29 in Deadwood, South Dakota.
They will perform August 11-12 at 5:30 p.m. in the rodeo arena. The Lincoln County Fair and Rodeo Committee is honored to have them appear at the fair.