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Art of the Cowgirl: Montana fellowship gathering offers venue for women of the West to expand knowledge and skills

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On June 2-4, female artists, silversmiths, braiders, saddle makers and horsewomen from around the nation will converge in Big Timber, Mont. for Art of the Cowgirl’s Fellowship Fundraising Event to celebrate Western lifestyle and culture, raise funds to support emerging artists and expand their knowledge and skills via fellowships in their fields.

Art of the
Cowgirl Fellowship 

According to their website, fellowship lies at the core mission of Art of the Cowgirl, and the fellowship program is dedicated to encouraging and furthering arts and trades amongst women in the West to both celebrate and continue tradition while also inspiring innovation. 

“By establishing mentorship and investing in up-and-coming artists, we will foster creativity and preserve traditional art and functional gear,” reads the website. “In providing this opportunity, our hope is age, location and lack of funds will no longer be a limiting factor for those interested in pursuing art and artistic trades.”

The website further notes the fellowship provides Western artists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with some of the most talented makers across the country in everything from horsemanship to leather carving and photography to cowdog training. 

Schedule of Events

The Fellowship Fundraising Event will consist of hands-on workshops and riding clinics, dinner and a dance, as well as a ranch rodeo. All proceeds from the event will go toward Art of the Cowgirl’s Fellowship Program. 

The three-day event will kick off on June 2 with a horsemanship video clinic by Lee Smith, a Solid in the Saddle clinic with Dr. Aleisha Shirley and a class on cinch building with Tia Watson.

A dinner will take place at 6 p.m., followed by a dance with live music from Little Jane and the Pistol Whips.

On June 3, individuals can attend a cowdog clinic with Laura Stimatze, a beading class with Melanie Kimpton-Wyant, a rawhide braiding class with Bill Ferreira, a chink building class with Chelsea Samzama and a leather carving class with Nancy Martiny. 

They will also have another opportunity to attend the Solid in the Saddle and horsemanship video clinics with Shirley and Smith, respectively.

A youth dummy roping, ranch rodeo and trade party are scheduled for the evening.

The event will wrap up with another horsemanship video clinic, cowdog clinic, beading class, rawhide braiding class, chink building class and leather carving class. 

A photography retreat with Kimberly Beer and Phyllis Burchett will also run the course of the event, although it will begin a day earlier on June 1. 

Event registration

Registration is required by interested individuals in order to participate in any clinic, workshop or competition, and tickets are required for the dinner and dance on June 2. 

Registration information for individual clinics and workshops can be found at Entries for the ranch rodeo are also available at this link. 

Entry fees for the rodeo are $700, and at least one woman is required per team. 

The rodeo will include four events – ranch horse, team doctoring, team branding and team roping. Rules for each of these events can also be found at the Art of the Cowgirl website. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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