PITTSBURG — After 20,453 highway miles, 18,316 photographs, 2,197 videoclips and 4,760 hours of editing, Pittsburg State University student Lindsey Walls completed a documentary about cowgirl culture, which is set to premiere on Wednesday.
Her documentary called, “The Cowgirl Culture: Being a Cowgirl in the 21st Century,” reflects on it’s own name, what it is like to be a cowgirl — including barrel racing and the rodeo scene.
The film will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Miller Theater at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. Some of the featured riders will be at the showing to greet and answer questions.
Walls grew up in northeast Oklahoma in a small town called Welch. Her family was in the cattle ranching and farming business. She said horses were always in her life so it is not surprising that she made a documentary about riding horses.
The documentary is part of her graduate project, a creative project option for graduate students in the Department of Communication.
The film will focus on five cowgirls, including a local cowgirl — three-year-old Callie Cleland who lives near Arma and rides a black draft horse and a gray quarter horse.
“The cool thing is, she is fierce when it comes to horses,” Walls said.
Two of the featured cowgirls from Oklahoma, Teresa Bruce and Tabby Pierce, are a mother-granddaughter duo who have a passion for barrel racing.
“Teresa Bruce is 61 and just last year got back into barrel racing after 40 years,” Walls said.
“She now travels racing barrels with her 14-year-old granddaughter, Tabby Pierce.”
Texas cowgirls Sawyer Burmeister and Shelly Mowery are another duo, a mother and daughter pair of cutting horse riders.
“They even compete against each other,” Walls said.
Racing and rodeo competitions can cost several thousand dollars between entry fees, traveling and lodging and more, making the need for sponsors an issue for many cowgirls, Walls said.
Walls said she equates the cowgirl culture to the pioneer spirit in the Old West.
“These women are resilient,”she said. “They really stick together and support one another, and will do anything to help each other — even those they are competing against.”
Walls thanked Millers Mpix for the prints of each of the cowgirls, which will be on display.
She also said she would like to thank the professors at the PSU Department of Communications who helped make the documentary possible.
“So many people contributed to the effort,” she said.
Walls said she hopes her work, current and future, will be used as a database of American women’s culture. She said the documentary will be in a film festival in this coming year.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.