03/01/09 — Who's the toughest cowgirl in Wayne?

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Who's the toughest cowgirl in Wayne?

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 1, 2009 2:00 AM

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Whoever competes in the adult category of "Who's the Toughest Cowgirl in Wayne County?" will face Jana Foote, programs director for the Stepping Stones therapeutic riding stables. The contest is a fundraiser for the stable to purchase new adaptive saddles for its riders.

PIKEVILLE -- Who's the toughest cowgirl in Wayne County?

Judges are going to decide on March 28 at the first women's rodeo fundraiser at the Stepping Stone therapeutic horse riding stables on Capps Bridge Road.

Programs Director Jana Foote is looking for 50 cowgirls to sign up for the rodeo designed to raise money to buy a $3,000 adaptive saddle for children and young adults with chronic disabilities. Because of a quick-release belt and a two-way adjustable back, the saddle can be custom fit to meet the rider's special needs. Miss Foote said the saddle is so specialized it has to be specially ordered, handmade and shipped from Horseshoe Bend, Ark. And there is a waiting list, she said.

The rodeo will be held at the Stepping Stone Stables located at 1194 Capps Bridge Road near Pikeville from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Cowgirls don't have to live in Wayne County, and they don't have to be experienced rodeo riders to participate in the fundraiser.

"We want old cowgirls and young cowgirls. There's no age limit," Miss Foote said.

Riders can bring their own horse, or Stepping Stone Stables will provide one.

"We'll find you one. We've got plenty of horses," she said. "We're all going to be publicly humiliated by our horses."

Each cowgirl competes in 12 of 13 events including some events that are not on horseback.

One of the events is riding a mechanical bull that has been donated for the event. Audience members will also be able to ride the bull at certain times for $3.

All events are adapted for the rider's skill and courage level.

The field is limited to 50 cowgirls in four divisions, which consist of Green Horn: riders 12 and younger; Youth: age 13 to 17,; Adult: age 22 to 30; and Mature: 30 and older.

Miss Foote said she is the girl to beat in the age 30 and up division. In the under 12 division, her 11-year-old daughter, J.J., is the rider to beat.

"The youth will be a run for the money," Miss Foote said. "There are a lot of good riders in that division."

Miss Foote said 13-year-old Haley Martin is the rider to beat in the youth division.

"She can ride anything. She's fearless. She scares me. She tries things I don't want to try."

Another tough competitor is going to be 16-year-old Elizabethe Weeks. She rides a horse Miss Foote has dubbed "The Intimidator."

For the experienced and the not so experienced but brave cowgirls of Wayne County, the registration fee is $35. Each rider then gathers 10 sponsors willing to donate $10 each. Riders are not required to raise more than $100 in donations.

"Some girls said their churches wanted to sponsor the entire $100," Miss Foote said. "This is all about raising money for that saddle for the kids at Edgewood School. They can really use it. Other provider agencies can use it, too."

At least 10 of the cowgirls who have already signed up are riders with disabilities.

"You wouldn't know it," Miss Foote said. "We have a bunch of kids out here who can benefit from the saddle."

For information, call Miss Foote at 394-6269.