34″ x 26″ x 17″
Limited Edition of 10 Bronze
Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, Ridgedale, MO ~ Permanent Collection
Let Curt tell you about this piece!
This is a very special and unusual part of the history of early rodeo. This piece is about a woman named Lulu Parr who was one of the pioneer women in rodeo. She was very flamboyant and it was a great challenge to try and capture her spirit in this piece. One of the things that set her apart from the other women of that era was, she would ride buffalo in exhibitions at the early rodeos. So Lulu Parr really did ride bucking buffalo. The other challenge was that there are no photos of her or any other woman riding buffalo. There are only written accounts and one poster featuring her on a buffalo. That was it for image references! It took a lot of digging to get the information on what she wore and how the buffalo was rigged when she rode. With the help of many people it all came together!
Lulu was known for her abilities on bucking horses. She was crowned “Champion Lady Bucking Horse Rider of the World.” Lulu always wore her big brimmed hat at a bit of an angle. This spoke of her confident cowgirl, “I can do anything” attitude. Her clothing is modeled from an actual outfit. A collector was good enough to give me photos of her outfit. It features beaded horses and stars. Her split leather riding skirt has fringe and brass studs along the bottom of the hem. She is wearing a beaded holster with a 45 caliber pistol. This pistol was given to her by Buffalo Bill Cody when she rode for his Wild West Show. One of the most remarkable features is her beaded lace up boots. They had various Indian designs on them and really gave her a striking look. Her leather gauntlets are beaded.
She has a big smile on her face as she looks down watching the head of the buffalo. When riding bucking stock, watching the head is important. This helps you know which way the animal might go next! She was always the show woman and had a long career in rodeo. As with so many of that time she did not make a lot of money and had her struggles. She died in Medway, Ohio in 1955 of a stroke. She had been taking care of her sister in law who was partially paralyzed. It was said that at the time of her death there were so many souvenirs in the house you couldn’t get around in it.
This piece is a tribute to an early rodeo woman. It will serve to preserve a part of her history for future generations. She and the buffalo are the original “The Wild and the Woolly”.