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Rodeo Queens: and the American Dream

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Illustrated throughout with wonderful photographs, this rich tapestry of women's voices echoes and challenges our clichs of the rural West. Their combined stories of fulfilled dreams and lost hopes reveal the tenacity of the myth of the American West, a place of muscled men, golden-haired women, relentless beauty and tragic limits. ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2002 by PublicAffairs (first published 2002)
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Petra Shana Tova - to a happy & sweet new year
This is an excellent read. A really fascinating look at an American subculture that explores some of the more unknown facets of racism - the desire of Native American women to also be Rodeo Queens. Their non-acceptance for the most part by the white majority led them to establish their own competitions.

Interviewed, mostly years later, these rodeo queens of all colours and flavours, come across as a set of strong, lovely women and the rodeo queen circuit with its mixture of skill, beauty and yee
Shonna Froebel
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I put this on my reading list quite a few years ago, and finally bought a used copy to cross it off that TBR list. It was even more interesting than I thought it would be. Joan noticed that her local paper in Idaho showed all the past rodeo queens for the Lewiston Rodeo in a special annual section. She began to wonder about them and about how they looked at that time in their lives looking back.
She interviewed many rodeo queens and princesses and her book covers not just the rodeo royalty and th
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Starting the book I was prepared for a world of glitz and glamour. The story of Rodeo Queens over the ages. But what I got was so much more.

Rodeo Queens and the American Dream offers insight into the 'real' American West and the rodeo world of today and yesterday, from the perspective of women who lived it. However, the role rodeo played is different for each queen, and there are definite changes over time.

Burbick's account brings reality to a head. The West and the rodeo are not one and the s
Sara C
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
biographies/interviews of several women who were rodeo queens mainly back in the 50's as I recall. Read this book at WSU for a class on literature of the American West. This class/book investigated the myths of the American West and tried to contextualize it with the harsh realities of living in the West. Joan Burbick was a professor at WSU and retired shortly after I read this book. ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe it's my fault for expecting too much from the book. I give it 3 stars for how it, like rodeos, and sports in general, have all gone the way of big business and the dominate (W.A.S.P.) culture. Back in small NW towns in the '40s, becoming a rodeo queen was about being pretty AND having some riding skills. Many towns used the rodeos as money-making enterprises funded by the city town fathers (big ranchers and local businesses) who took the opportunity to have queens and court princesses elec ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cult-studies
Burbick talks to former rodeo queens and present day contestants about this iconic Western America tradition, and researches newspaper archives. In doing so she exposes the myth of the west and how that is so tied to what being American is supposed to mean. There is no room for diversity, in this myth, grown increasingly separate from the ranching way of life as that way of life disappeared. Though the early queens actually rode the countryside where they lived, on horses that worked cattle, pre ...more
Sep 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book looks at rodeo queens of the rural American West and their changing role over the decades. Starting off as a hard-working and hard-riding lady of the ring, who's skills with a horse were all-important, the rodeo queen has devolved into a gaudy show pony who's main qualification is her ability to sell sell sell. I liked this book, but it made me sad. ...more
Suzie Quint
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rodeo
The first 200 pages of this were very interesting, but then the author got on her soap box and inserted herself and it was no hard task to know that she thought the rodeo circuit had become a money-grubbing pageant that had nothing to do with anything, and everything from there on was about slamming the rodeo.
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot from this book written by a Washington State history professor. It also had a great bibliography at the end.
Jun 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was a really interesting read. I didn't know anything about this topic before reading this book, so it was a good learning opportunity for me. Accessible and easy to read. ...more
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