America’s First Cowgirl: Lucille Mulhall
Lucille Mulhall was already a skilled roper at age 8.
The following is quoted from the book jacket of America’s First Cowgirl Lucille Mulhall, by Beth Day, Published by Julian Messner, Inc., 1955. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 55-9850.
“World’s Champion Roper — America’s Greatest Horsewoman — Queen of the Range — and the only woman who ever roped steers competitively with men — Lucille Mulhall held the top spot in contests and vaudeville for twenty years. Will Rogers, friend and teacher, called her the world’s greatest rider.
“Born in the saddle, Lucille was the spirited daughter of Colonel Zach Mulhall, an Oklahoma ranch owner. Unlike her sisters, she wasn’t interested in dolls and sewing or piano lessons but preferred branding yearlings and roping wolves and jack-rabbits and steers; training her small, sure-footed ponies; practicing the trick riding that was to make her famous all over the country.
“While still in her early teens, Lucille was the top cowboy performer in the West. Extremely feminine, soft spoken, and well educated, she seemed a paradox, for she was so steel-muscled she could beat strong and talented men at their own games. She could have been a society belle, but she loved the rough, dangerous life and cowboying was in her blood. Had she been a man, she would have been content to work on a ranch, but as a woman she was a novelty and the only way she could make use of her singular talents was in show business. The term cowgirl was invented to describe her when she took the East by storm in her first appearance at Madison Square Garden (in 1905).”
“From the time Lucille was booked for New York, the newspapers had been attempting to describe the phenomenon that was Lucille Mulhall. They had struggled with such ridiculous descriptions as ‘Female Conqueror of Beef and Horn’ and ‘Lassoer in Lingerie’ to the simpler, more realistic ‘Cowboy Girl’ and ‘Ranch Queen.’
“Finally one of them managed to coin a word which would describe the life and talents of any girl who could rope and ride and do ranch work alongside men. The word was ‘cowgirl.’ It was invented to describe Lucille, and it has since become a part of our language.”
“Early accounts have suggested that hornless or polled cattle were introduced to Ireland and Britain from Scandinavia by Viking settlers (Wilson 1909). However, this theory is contradicted by the presence of polled cattle in the Irish archaeological record prior to the appearance of the Vikings (McCormick 1987).” DNA analyas of cattle from Viking Dublin 1999, D. E.MacHugh and others, P. 100.
The purpose of this project was to explore the ancient breed history of Britain’s Park Cattle and clarify the relationship between the ancient horned White Park of today and the ancient polled White Park of today (now referred to as British White). In 1918 the Park Cattle Society was formed in the United Kingdom and a herd book formally established which recorded both horned and polled ancient white park cattle of both black and red points. In 1946, breeders of ancient polled Park Cattle separated from the Park Cattle Society and formed the British White Cattle Society – thereafter the ‘polled’ park cattle were known by the distinguishing breed name – British White.
As a breeder of polled British White cattle I’ve often been asked “What is the difference between the White Park and the British White?” I couldn’t answer and found myself stumbling, as I knew Britain’s White Park Cattle Society quite oddly declares no relationship to the polled British White, yet the information currently available in essays and articles on the polled British White and the horned White Park reflects much of the same lore and legend.
They share this lore and legend because both varieties of park cattle were present in the British Isles since ‘time immemorial’. In Wild, White Cattle” (p.36) by James Edmund Harting (c.1880), it is clear that at the onset of the Middle Ages there were polled herds, horned herds with a variety of shape and length, and herds with both red and black color points. The distinguishing trait today that separates the two varieties is the presence of horns, and secondary to horns would be the disposition of the animal, and those same traits have existed for hundreds of years — the difference today is our 21st century need to peg this wonderful bovine into two distinct breeds. It’s interesting to compare the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s (a UK charity supported national conservation society) descriptions of the two breeds. It strikes one that they are careful not to step on the toes of the horned White Park Cattle Society, likely because one of their most influential members has strong connections with the White Park Cattle Society. Conspicuously absent is any mention in the White Park breed description of the original founding Park Cattle Society that dates back to 1918 that encompassed all white park cattle, polled or horned, within the United Kingdom.
As well, there is no mention given to the introgression of English Longhorn and Welsh Black genetics into horned White Park herds; and certainly no mention that prior to the 1940’s owners of horned herds made use of polled white park (British White) bulls to improve their herds. The following is an excerpt from the Conclusion section of Jessica Hemmings’ excellent 2002 research article which would appear to lay to rest the claims of horned White Park Cattle, whether docile or wild, of being of ancient aurochsen origin which we are to believe makes them a breed of greater antiquity than that of the polled British White:
“. . . .The public literature distributed by the Chillingham Wild Cattle Association deliberately fosters this sense of mystery, as does the Association’s reluctance to accept the findings of recent zoological studies which indicate that the animals (Chillingham park cattle) are the feral descendants of ordinary domestic stock. Nobody claims that they come from the fairy mounds any longer, but arguing that they are the direct descendants of “the gigantic wild white bull of Caesar’s time, and of the monstrous bovine wonders of the Palaeolithic and neolithic ages” (Wallace 1907, 29) seems thematically similar. Where the origin is obscure, it is easy to imagine it to be remarkable. . .”
Within the existing horned White Park herds in the UK, there are apparently animals of both wild and tame disposition. However, the horned Chillingham herd of White Park cattle is considered to be representative of the true feral (wild) white park animal, and DNA testing is said to show these Chillingham animals as distinct from any other European breed. However, per Hemmings 2002 research:
“. . .Although both the late president and the patron have quoted genetic work done on the cattle to support their arguments, the zoological reports in fact make it quite clear that the Chillingham herd does not have any special relationship to the aurochs whatsoever (Hall 1982-3, 96; 1991, 540).”
The Chillingham cattle continue to live in their native habitat and the introduction of new blood is said to be minimal to non-existent. Unfortunately, many historians and breeders key in on this falsely supported DNA report and presume that all horned white park cattle are proven distinct from the polled British White. I believe this is an error of enormous consequence perpetuated by Britain’s White Park Cattle Society for their own disserving purposes that will one day be corrected. There is no public data that identifies the lineage of the British White animals that were used for the basis of these tests, but most assuredly in my opinion the horned White Park animal (s) that was tested was a cow or bull of the most exceedingly closed Chillingham genetics and bears no relationship to the fat and docile appearing horned White Park animals to be found more commonly in Britain, which even a novice can ascertain as having a distinct kinship with Britain’s and the USA’s polled British White cattle.
Exploring different references to the British White, I was surprised to learn that there are Galloway’s that are white with black points, and considering the genetic dominance of the pattern of white with black (or red) points. . .
“Although there is strong evidence that the White Galloway and White Park patterns are due to the tyrosinase gene, the mutation does not occur in the coding portion of the gene and therefore no DNA test has been developed. This temperature sensitive expression of pigment, like that of the Siamese cat, is inherited as a dominant. If a rancher breeds 7 non-white cows and obtains 7 white calves, there is a 99% chance that the sire is homozygous for this trait.” DNA Tests for Cattle – Dr. Sheila Schmutz
. . . .of the polled British White (pre 1946 White Park) markings it could be easily surmised that at some point in time the British White was bred into the Galloway, and I would instinctively surmise this occurred well before the modern days of 1960. I would have thought the odd white Galloway would be found more closely linked to the British White judging from simply the look of these ancient polled cattle and their docile nature and the dominance of the white park markings once introduced into a breed, this White Galloway breeder appears to concur.
“As can be clearly seen, the breeders of these cattle were engaged in a continual struggle to maintain numbers, and from time to time the blood of other breeds was introduced in order to avoid problems associated with in-breeding and to achieve the desired type. (The article on page 7 of the 1998 British White Breed Journal by Mr J Cator gives a full account of these outside sources used between 1840 and 1918 in the Woodbastwick herd).” (source: British White Cattle Society – UK)
The polled variety of the white park cattle was considered superior by this elder cattleman of the UK in the early 20th century. The excellence “since time immemorial” of the polled white park cattle referred to by this gentleman continues today. . .
Sir Claud Alexander, owner of the Faygate herd, writing in the 1912 “Amateur Menagerie Club” Year Book says:”I would, however, strongly advise anyone who may think of forming a herd to go to the polled variety for his foundation stock, for they have been kept from time immemorial for their milk and beef producing qualities, and right well do they justify their existence… The Somerford cows are excellent milkers and one of mine averages five gallons a day when in full profit. In addition to this they are big heavy beasts and give a good return from the butcher when their milking days are over…. Mr Quinton Gurney’s herd at Northrepps Hall is a thoroughly practical one, for on it devolves the task of keeping the town of Cromer supplied with milk. At Woodbastwick too, some grand milkers are to be found, and here great attention is paid to beef producing powers, as the records of the local fat stock shows frequently testify… If anyone who reads these notes and feels inclined to form a herd will communicate with me, I shall be pleased to supply any information that may be required.”
What I find most interesting is the casual inference that the polled variety has better milk and beef producing qualities and has from “time immemorial”. The domesticated white park cattle (British White) from the days of the Druids should have better milk and beef producing qualities than the wild variety of the horned Ancient White Park.
A few years after the excerpt above was printed, the Park Cattle Society was formed in the UK in 1918, which encompassed both horned and polled examples of the breed. In 1946 the group split and the polled white “Park Cattle” animal became formally known as a British White and the British White Cattle Society in the UK was established. Through their efforts the polled British White has risen from numbers so low as to be listed a rare breed, to it’s status now as a minority breed. Their numbers will continue to grow as this beautiful, docile animal becomes more broadly known across the world as the breed that delivers all that an owner can wish for in health, longevity, fertility, milk, and beef.
Extract FROM JOHN O’GROATS TO LAND’S END, SEVENTH WEEK’S JOURNEY, Oct. 3 to Nov. 5 1871. “We now bade good-bye to the River Dove, leaving it to carry its share of the Pennine Range waters to the Trent, and walked up the hill leading out of the town towards Abbots Bromley. We soon reached a lonely and densely wooded country with Bagot’s Wood to the left, containing trees of enormous age and size, remnants of the original forest of Needwood, while to the right was Chartley Park, embracing about a thousand acres of land enclosed from the same forest by the Earl of Derby, about the year 1248. In this park was still to be seen the famous herd of wild cattle, whose ancestors were known to have been driven into the park when it was enclosed. These animals resisted being handled by men, and arranged themselves in a semi-circle on the approach of an intruder. The cattle were perfectly white, excepting their extremities, their ears, muzzles, and hoofs being black, and their long spreading horns were also tipped with black. Chartley was granted by William Rufus to Hugh Lupus, first Earl of Chester, whose descendant, Ranulph, a Crusader, on his return from the Holy War, built Beeston Castle in Cheshire, with protecting walls and towers, after the model of those at Constantinople. He also built the Castle at Chartley about the same period, A.D. 1220, remarkable as having been the last place of imprisonment for the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, as she was taken from there in 1586 to be executed at Fotheringhay.”
The World’s Rankest Bull: Since October of 2009, no professional bull rider has been able to stay on Bushwacker for eight seconds. At a recent P.B.R. event in Pueblo, Colorado, the riders explained why he’s so tough to ride.
By JOE SPRING
Published: July 19, 2011
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Dustin Elliott, a 145-pound professional cowboy, popped into the chute and felt energized by the lights above and the 1,600-pound bull beneath him. He wrapped a rope around his right hand, twisted right to left four times, then bounced up and down three times. The bull, meanwhile, looked casually to the left and waited.
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Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
Bushwacker stands atop the Professional Bull Riders list of the world’s rankest — or toughest to ride — bulls.
“He’s got a real cool arrogance to himself and then when the gate opens he just explodes,” Shorty Gorham, a bullfighter, said of Bushwacker, who usually bucks most pros in three seconds or so. “But leading up until then you would think he’s just some farm pet that didn’t have an ounce of buck in him.”
Since October 2009, no cowboy has ridden Bushwacker for even eight seconds, the minimum needed to earn a score, and the average is 3.01. In 2010, he jumped, kicked and spun his way to more than $335,000 from American Bucking Bull Inc., which awards prize money to bulls. With an average score of 46.01 out of 50, he stands atop the Professional Bull Riders list of the world’s rankest — or toughest to ride — bulls. But it’s not the numbers that have the cowboys tweaked.
“He’s a smart bull,” the rider Robson Palermo said. “Every time he leaves the chute he got something for you.”
With a relaxed swagger in cramped quarters, hops that should not originate from hooves, and a stable of freakish, syncopated moves that have left riders flummoxed, Bushwacker sometimes appears more ballerina than bovine. In Springfield, Mo., last year, he bucked the rookie of the year, Silvano Alves, headfirst into the dirt, swung rump over muzzle, landed on his right-front foot, and Eskimo-kissed the ground.
Hours before his encounter with Elliott in the United States Air Force Invitational in late May, as the sun rose over his pen in Pueblo, Colo., Bushwacker champed a mix of hay, grain, vitamins and minerals. His trainer, Kent Cox, laid out the feed so the bull would dine at least 12 hours before bucking.
“You can’t eat a big old bowl of spaghetti and go run a marathon,” Cox said.
On days when the bull riding starts at 2 p.m., Cox rises at 2 a.m., ignoring the headaches that have plagued him since he took a horn to the right side of the face while riding a one-ton bull in 1997. The impact shattered his cheekbone, eye socket and nasal cavity. He had five operations to install 13 plates in his head.
A year and a half later, he got back on a bull. He could still ride, but he had lost the desire. He transferred his energy into training bulls.
Cox has had great success with Bushwacker, who took home the single biggest check when he won the $250,000 A.B.B.I. Classic Championship during the Professional Bull Riders finals last October. Money also comes from breeding. Earlier this year, a collector took sperm from Bushwacker. It sells for more than $2,000 a straw. The average bull can fill 150 straws per collection.
To help owners pair potential mates, the A.B.B.I. tracks the lineage of every premier dam and sire and the bucking success of their offspring. And though Bushwacker’s line sounds as if it came from the police blotter in a seedy Southwestern drag, it is rodeo royalty. Diamond’s Ghost sired his mother, Lady Luck. Oscar’s Velvet sired his father, Reindeer Dippin’, an ornery bull who went unridden in the P.B.R. three separate years.
“When Bushwacker was a baby he was mean — he’d hook my horse,” said his co-owner Julio Moreno. “Kent’s got him to where, you know, he could eat of your hand now.”
At noon, Bushwacker lay in his pen. He is caramel, except for the tilted white H on his face, the “1 3 6” scar branded to his left rump and white horns cut off into nubs.
Cox helped two cowboys and a cowgirl herd bulls into a truck. His wife, Gina, watched from a deck behind the pens.
“I call him the bull whisperer,” she said. “He lives, breathes and eats bulls, and if you don’t moo, he doesn’t care about you.”
Gina Cox grew up in a rodeo family in Illinois. On weekends, she helps out as a P.B.R. secretary.
“I consider the finals in Las Vegas our vacation,” she said. “And that’s maybe two hours of sleep every night.”
She laughed and ran her right hand over her left forearm, a $65,000 digital prosthetic. In 2004, she lost the arm in a car wreck.
“That was the one time he never left my side — for two weeks,” she said of her husband. “And probably the only time he was away from the bulls for that long.”
As Cox helped guide four other bulls to the trailer, Bushwacker looked out through the fence.
“You know that bull loves his job,” Gina Cox said. “Because when that trailer leaves and he’s not on it, you can tell he’s upset.”
She worries about her husband. He has had at least 13 concussions and often enters the pens to train the bulls with only two blue heeler cattle dogs at his side. He has been knocked down more than once.
As Cox swung open the gate to Bushwacker’s pen, the bull stood still and twitched his right ear into a cup. Cox walked in. Bushwacker trotted out. Soon he was on the truck and off to the arena.
The haul was a short one, comparatively. Cox drives Bushwacker from his home in Dublin, Tex., to more than a dozen events around the country.
After an hour-and-a-half nap at the hotel, Cox showed up behind the Colorado State Fair Events Center at 7. Pyrotechnics went off inside. Bushwacker waited amid a sea of fencing, swinging tails and tilting horns.
Cox went inside and clanked up steps to the platform behind the chutes. Chaw dripped off a grate that creaked under the weight of paunched contractors and square-jawed cowboys.
Cox flanked the 28th and 29th bulls, steadied riders in the chute by holding their shoulders and drawled with cowboys. The gate slammed open. Clumps of dirt flew up into the scrum of hats.
Shortly after 9 p.m., after more than 40 bulls had gone out, Bushwacker ambled into the chute. Cox stood over his still flank. The opening piano from Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” blared from the speakers. Elliott finished squirming and nodded vigorously. The gate opened.
Bushwacker short-hopped into the arena. Drool flew out of his mouth and whirled over Elliott’s head. Bushwacker bounded more than two feet into the air, kicked his hind legs up, and drove his front legs into the ground. Instead of waiting for his back legs to touch dirt, as most bulls do, he sprung off his front feet immediately.
This is Bushwacker’s signature move, and it is as effective in its offbeat athleticism as a point guard executing a crossover dribble to ditch a defender. Elliott came forward and lost the weight of his feet underneath him.
Possibly sensing the rider’s weight shift, Bushwacker staccato-hopped to the right. He accelerated into five successive spinning jumps. His tail whipped his own rump with emphatic snaps. Elliott flew to the right and hit the dirt. The clock showed 6.57 seconds.
Bushwacker kicked out of the arena and into the night. He stopped at the last gate and waited for the next truck. Inside, after the last ride of the night, Kent and Gina Cox walked over to Elliott.
“There’s nobody that we’d be prouder to have ride him first,” Gina said. “That’s for dang sure.”
Then Kent Cox put his arm on his wife’s back and left the arena smiling.
“This is what we work all week long to come do, and the results are here,” he said. “He did his job, and, yeah.”
|3.||Valdiron de Oliveira||$209,858.33||$15,779.40||$7,946.19||$233,583.92||-$39,776.51|
|7.||J. B. Mauney||$82,488.33||$60,353.75||$0.00||$142,842.08||-$130,518.35|
|24.||Renato Nunes view injuries||$70,036.67||$0.00||$0.00||$70,036.67||-$203,323.77|
|32.||Ty Pozzobon view injuries||$5,300.00||$7,299.90||$29,546.68||$42,146.58||-$231,213.86|