More About the Girls of the West Program
Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Ambassadors
The title of “Girl of the West” was chosen because the girls are considered “Ambassadors” for the rodeo and not “Rodeo Queens.” The first Girl of the West, Dawn Norris, was chosen in 1922. The first competitions were decided by popular vote via write-in ballots available from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Gazette. The contestant receiving the most votes would be named “Girl of the West” for the rodeo. Her duties involved simply being at the rodeo and participating in the grand entry. The competition has evolved to include speech, interview, horsemanship, personality, and appearance. Their duties today include giving a promotional speech at service clubs and promotional events, giving interviews on both TV and radio, and making appearances at our military installations, and at parades and rodeos throughout the Front Range and the Pikes Peak region.
What It Means to Be a Girl of the West
The Girl of the West represents the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo during her reign. She promotes the Pikes Peak region and the rodeo by making numerous appearances within the region and out of town. She is always accompanied by her aide and an escort.
Who Is the Girl of the West?
The Girl of the West and her aide are young women who represent the West through their horsemanship ability. They symbolize the youth of our region who wish to further promote the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, and in so doing, promote the western way of life and the ideal western-type American girl. They represent a long tradition of young women who have represented the rodeo as queen since 1922. It offers them the experience of meeting many people through public appearances at the numerous civic organizations, military installations, and other rodeos and parades in the state.
Corliss Palmer is a volunteer for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. As such, she has a unique occupation, escorting and scheduling over 150 appearances each summer for the Girls of the West. The trio mostly travels around the Front Range of Colorado promoting the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. They visit all five military installations in the Colorado Springs area, speak at many service clubs, ride in parades and rodeo grand entries, and many other opportunities, including TV and radio interviews.
Corliss also chooses the fabrics and styles of the outfits the girls wear, which are made by a custom seamstress. She then arranges for professional portraits to be taken and writes the seven-minute speech the girls give. Arranging for all the appearances is quite time-consuming: emailing many contacts and calling many others. Then making up the schedule for everyone to have, including all the details for what, when, where, who.
She ended a 30-year career with Western Horseman magazine, as Advertising Director of the World’s Largest Horse Publication, in January 2002. Since then, she has held her present position with the Girls of the West for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.
For more information, contact: Corliss Palmer