Thursday, September 1, 2011

Faye Blackstone: Real American Cowgirl

For those of you who didn't know, or weren't able to meet Faye Blackstone missed out on a lot. If there was one person I would have loved to get to know better, it was Ms. Faye. I was blessed enough to meet her at a Florida Cattlemen Association quarterly meeting, and it was almost like meeting a celebrity. Everyone knew her name, and she was my ideal real Florida cowgirl: pleasant, but tough as nails.

I am writing a different sort of blog today, one that I have been trying to plan out in my mind ever since I heard that Ms. Blackstone had passed away. I was deeply saddened by this news. My heart goes out to her family and friends, because I know that they must miss her deeply. The world lost another great woman, and I wanted to dedicate a blog all to her.

Faye Blackstone is remembered for many things. When I first heard of her, I was enraptured by the idea that she was actually a member of the National Cowgirl Museum, and that she was in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame! I don't know if there is a cooler award or title out there! Faye was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1982. According to the National Cowgirl museum website (, "Faye taught herself to trick ride to break the boredom to and from school". She is credited with inventing several trick riding maneuvers, and she is also known for marrying a Texas cowboy named Vick Blackstone. They rodeo'd together for around 13 years, and settled in Florida after making a huge impression on the rodeo industry.

While gathering information and pictures to put in this blog post, I found an AWESOME article on this wonderful woman. Feel free to read all about this incredible lady.
Faye was featured in this article, and I found myself near tears reading the whole time. She was definitely not short on spunk, and did not let something as silly as age slow her down. Her life was an epic tale of traveling, trick riding, and making friends from all around. My favorite quote comes at the end of the article: "I'm too mean to give up," she says. "Now don't you go puttin' that in the paper."

This article was a well-written tribute to Faye, and in my opinion, she has been honored after her passing by a number of sources. Our local paper featured her in a great story fashion, exactly how she should be remembered.

Women today strike me as so confusing. Half of the time, you never know who is loyal, and who could turn on you at any second. Southern women hold themselves to a higher standard. If you have a problem, stop complaining, and do something about it. Growing up, we are told to look after ourselves, and be independent. I wish more women were like Faye. Humble but always able to hold attention, elegant but approachable, creative and intuitive, independent, and gracious.

Ms. Faye passed away due to complications from cancer, according to the Bradenton Herald. Born and raised in Nebraska, she moved to Manatee County in 1951, where she lived with Vick until he passed away about 15 years prior due to a heart attack. One of the coolest things I read in this article was that she helped jumpstart the career of Reba McEntire by getting her to perform at the Manatee County Fair in 1978. I'm from Manatee County, so something like that is pretty surreal.

I am so honored to have met Faye Blackstone, and I will continue to appreciate all that she has done for Cowgirls. If you are looking for a real cowgirl, the buck stops with Faye.