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Fannie Sperry Steele
March 27, 1887 – February 11, 1983

Fannie Sperry Steele is portrayed by Becky
Fannie 3.jpg
Fannie 1.jpg

According to Wikipedia, Fanny Sperry was born in Montana on March 27, 1887, and at the age of 17, she was Women's Bucking Horse Champion of Montana, and Lady Bucking Horse Champion of the World at the first Calgary Stampede in 1912 and again in 1913.  Her winnings at that time were $1000 cash (worth $13,000 today), a $300 gold belt buckle, and a saddle with hand tooled roses.  


Fanny Sperry married her cowboy husband Bill Steele in 1913, according to Wikipedia, and she was so skilled with a rifle, she would often shoot cigars out of her husband's mouth.  Sperry Steele and her husband toured with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Shows, and Fanny was the first woman to obtain an outfitters license in the state of Montana. (Wikipedia, 2018)  She continued riding on into her 80’s, and she was the first woman inducted into both the Rodeo Hall of Fame, and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. (Wikipedia, 2018) 


Pinterest indicates that Fanny was well known for her trademark calfskin split riding skirts.  She was also known as being  “a fashion icon for her ‘divided’ skirts with a front panel that allowed her to ride astride and keep a ladylike appearance…always a consideration, especially when ‘sticking to the saddle like a cocklebur’ atop the infamous “Midnight” in Madison Square Garden.” (My West-Image of the Day, Dec 29, 2012)


How does Fannie Sperry Steele’s life resonate with me?  In 1912 my Great Grandfather Russel McFaul, responded to Guy Weadick’s call for cowboys to ride in the first Calgary Stampede Parade.  Russel somehow traveled to Calgary from the Leslieville area, and then rode his horse in the parade.  We have no proof, but it’s possible he may have actually met Fannie Sperry at that time.

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