Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honorees
Having grown up riding English style, Sandy Collier took a job on a California cattle ranch where she learned to break and work wild mustang horses. She then started her own training business and went on to compete, becoming the only woman to win the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity. Author of Reining Essentials, she continues to train and serves as an NRCHA judge. Among her many accolades is the Western Lifetime Achievement Award.
Deborah Fellows was raised on a ranch in northern Idaho and grew up with a passion for horses and an avid interest in art. Her father and brother won world championships in professional rodeo, and Fellows traveled the circuit as a barrel racer. She won the title of Miss Rodeo Washington and was runner-up for Miss Rodeo America. Fellows won several competitions to create veteran memorials, including the Inland Northwest Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Montana State Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Washington State Korean Memorial. Fellows is also well-known for her horse portraiture and countless other memorials, monuments and sculptures. She was elected to lifetime membership in the National Sculpture Society in 2009, the same year she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Fellows has long been inspired by pioneer women and ranch figures and has made important statements through her work about these heroes of the West.
Patricia E. Kelly
A former U.S. marine, an award-winning community leader and an equestrian trailblazer, Patricia E. Kelly has been at the helm of the Connecticut-based nonprofit organization Ebony Horsewomen for more than 30 years. Started in 1984 for female equestrians, Ebony Horsewomen now serves more than 300 young people annually, creating a safe space for local youth to receive mentorship and personal development. Kelly has been a trained equestrian instructor for almost 40 years, as well as a certified master urban riding instructor and equine husbandry instructor. Kelly has been recognized for her efforts many times, most recently as one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2014 and as one of Aetna’s Champions for Change. She was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2015.
Barbara Van Cleve
Barbara Van Cleve’s photographs realistically portray ranch life in the modern West. Raised on her family’s Montana ranch, she learned ranch life as a participant, with photography as an avocation. Van Cleve became the youngest dean of women in the United States at DePaul University in Chicago and taught English literature and photography at the school. Van Cleve moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1980 to concentrate on photography full-time, and she had her first major exhibition in 1985. In 1995, her book Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women was published, and she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Van Cleve has more than 50 solo photography exhibits to her name and a lifetime of experience in the West and on ranches.