Cowgirls of the West honor Grigsby
Cheyenne – Lifetime horse breeder and trainer Lorraine Grigsby of Cheyenne is the 2009 honoree of the Cowgirls of the West organization in Cheyenne.
Involved with the group since its beginning, Grigsby says it formed in 1995. Of the annual honoree, she says, “They look for someone interested in the history of Cheyenne that has helped to support it in many ways, such as raising horses or helping in the museum and helping support the Cowgirls of the West organization.”
“In the past they have picked someone who’s no longer living – someone who gave a great deal of effort to helping colonize the West and bring civilization here and make it a better place,” says Grigsby. “We go back and we like and study history, which includes programs every month on the history of how this part of the country was settled and how it came to where it is today.”
“I didn’t grow up on a ranch, but I got my first horse at age seven and I’ve had them ever since,” she says, noting that she’s raised Thoroughbreds for the track, registered Quarter Horses and American Saddlebreds, which she says she loved.
Grigsby was born in Milwaukee, Wisc. when her father was in medical school. “He brought us out here right after his graduation because he wanted to be near fishing, hunting, open spaces and good living. I love Wyoming,” she says.
Of the Cowgirls of the West, Grigsby says the group participates in the Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) parade each year. In addition to a float they run an antique car that carries the honoree of the year.
At a luncheon on July 20 she says 567 people attended the silent auction, raffle and style show. The group also has a store and museum downtown. “People came this year from Canada, Australia and New York,” she says of this year’s event.
Throughout the year the Cowgirls of the West helps with Denim and Diamonds, which raises money for local municipal hospitals, and Laramie events. At CFD they also organize a kids’ costume competition, with 100 entries in 2009.
“I still have horses, and I now live on an acreage outside of Cheyenne with six left,” she says. Currently she has one Thoroughbred and the remainder are Quarter Horses. “My Thoroughbreds have always had the bloodlines of Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Native Dancer, and in my Quarter Horses I like Impressive, Hollywood Dun It, Hollywood Gold and Zan Par Bar.”
Because she enjoys training young horses the most, Grigsby says she keeps her foals until they’re three or four and fully trained. “I like a really gentle, easily-handled horse for everybody, and for that you have to start when they’re just born.”
Of living in the West and in Cheyenne, she says, “I like the blue skies and the people, because they’re really patriotic Americans. They really believe in this country and Cheyenne is known as volunteer city. People volunteer for everything, they’re good neighbors and there’s a lot of history here. We have many organizations that pursue history. It’s just a great place to live and raise kids.”
Of Cowgirls of the West, she says, “It’s a wonderful organization, and if you have one in your own town, it’s worthwhile, because you meet the nicest people.”
Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.