Imagine this: Someone on horseback gathering cattle on a ranch.
What does that person look like?
There’s a good chance you thought of a cowboy.
You probably didn’t picture a cowgirl, but women have played an essential role on local ranches for many years.
“Women have always worked hard and I think they’ve always been the backbone of ranching,” said Alicia Bowen, a sixth generation cattle rancher.
They’re tough by nature.
“It’s not ‘oh you’re a girl and you can’t do it. It’s you’re a girl! You can do it,'” said Erin Rogers, a member of Kern County CattleWomen.
They can ride, rope and work cattle with the best of them.
“If you’re a hard worker, you’re a hard worker and that’s all that matters,” said Jennifer Thomas, a fifth generation cattle rancher.
They’re respected and valued, an essential part of any successful ranch.
“It’s a unit. It’s not an all-man existence out here and the women help just as much as the men do,” said Shelia Bowen, a member of Kern County Cattlewomen.
They’re Kern County CattleWomen and they’re proud of the work they do.
“If someone called me a cowgirl, I would consider it a really great honor because it means that I put in the effort and earned the respect of people around me,” said Lora Rogers, a fourth generation cattle rancher.
They were raised for this, to be strong and capable women.
“It’s been a blessing to be able to see how hard my aunts and my grandma can work. I mean my grandma Brenna throws a trap better than way more men than I know right now. She’s the real deal. Also at the same time she’s not afraid to wake up in the morning and go fix fence if she has to,” said Stormy Baxley, a sixth generation cattle rancher.
It is the life they choose and love.
“There’s not a better life in the whole world in my opinion. I love living on the ranch. I love working beside my husband and I’ve learned so much from him and from his folks and sisters. They truly understand the land and the cattle and are such good stewards that it’s a pleasure to learn from them and to raise our children. They joy for me has been raising our children on this cattle ranch,” Shelia Bowen said.
Their hope is to keep their way of life alive.
To promote and preserve their industry.
And to one day make the women who came before them proud.
“I have been very blessed to have been around strong women who have been great role models to me and I hope that some day I can just live up and make them proud,” Stormy Baxley said.
Kern County CattleWomen will host a Cowbelle Ball Saturday, Feb. 24, to raise money for local scholarships.
For more information click here: www.kerncattlewomen.org
To watch their Sunrise interview, click here: KCCW Cowbelle Ball