American Cowgirl

Honoring the Spirit of Women and Horses

The American Cowgirl Project

June 30th, 2008

Welcome to The American Cowgirl Project

Jamie WilliamsAmerican Cowgirl celebrates the women who helped shape the American West and continue to keep that spirit alive today. We are telling the stories and preserving the legacy of these courageous, trailblazing women for future generations through a feature film, a fine art book, and a traveling museum exhibit.

The Encore Western Channel recently produced a video featuring project creator Jamie Williams, which aired nationwide 50 times. We received thousands of emails from all over the world and confirmed there is an enormous audience of women, girls and their families waiting for this inspiring film – waiting to hear the stories and learn the lessons of today’s American Cowgirl.

The Roots of American Cowgirl – Jamie’s Story

I grew up across the street from a cotton patch in Lubbock, Texas, the same town that gave us Buddy Holly. I loved the lifestyle, people and the animals of my West Texas home.

I guess you could say I have come from a long line of strong Texas women. My Mom, an incredible woman, was a single mother who worked three jobs to support my sister and me. No matter how tired she was at the end of the day, she always made time to play with us, read to us and play the piano at bedtime.

My “Granny” was also a big influence in my life. She had the best sense of humor and always made everything right in the world. These two women taught my sister and me good old-fashioned values.

GrannyMomSistersKat and Jamie

I remember telling Mom I wished I had been born a boy, because “Boys get to play football and win trophies. What do girls get to do?” She answered, “Girls can do anything they want. You could be an astronaut, a doctor, an artist, anything at all.” “Really?” I asked.  What if I want to be the President of the United States?” She answered, “If you are willing to work hard to earn it and you believe in yourself and never give up, then yes, you could even be the President of the United States. When I was your age, women didn’t have all the opportunities that you have now. So, just decide what you want to do and go for it.”

Sharing the Stories

My mother’s words were the beginning of a wonderful journey that has brought me to where I am today. I’ve been a commercial photographer for about 20 years, and call Tucson, Arizona home. If you’d like to see my commercial work please visit thatgirlproductions.com

In my travels, I noticed that the cowboy was well documented but the cowgirl had been overlooked. Where were the stories of their struggles and triumphs; their contribution to American history? Filled with the resolve planted in me by the strong women who raised me, I decided my next project would be to photograph cowgirls for a fine art book. I started researching cowgirls and went out to interview and photograph them at their ranches.

These women always welcomed me with open arms. I was amazed at their hospitality and generosity. I recorded the interviews on a video camera to make it easier to transcribe quotes for the book. Viewing the video footage, I thought, “Gee, this would make an interesting film.” And the idea of the documentary was born.

As We Go Forward

We are featuring five cowgirls in the film and photographing cowgirls from our nation’s 50 states for the book. I have been asked if we will be able to find enough cowgirls to do this project. Finding these incredible women has been easy; how to include them all will be a wonderful challenge! We are determined to finish this project and share it with the world. In doing so, we will:

  • Honor the American Cowgirl and preserve all the great, untold stories.
  • Inspire others with these exceptional stories.
  • Give girls and women more positive role models to look up to.
  • Show people that no matter what; if they have a dream in their heart they can do anything.

What can you do? Keep sending your inspirational messages, stories and photos. Go to the “Get Involved” page and join the grassroots effort to help make this important film. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has given their support and encouragement as I’ve been developing this project. Mom was right, you really can do anything you want if you just keep believing.

Sincerely,
Jamie Williams

Jamie Williams on location

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