Six years ago Magnolia residents Valerie Cranford and her sister Kathleen Hammers, started a small equestrian drill team because they loved to ride and wanted others to have the chance to enjoy their horses. Dubbed the Lone Star Cowgirls, the team originally consisted of four members. Cranford choreographed routines for the riders and their mounts, while Hammers designed and sewed their western-style outfits.
Today, the Lone Star Cowgirls number 12 members and their flashy paint horses are well-known to local rodeo fans. They perform at shows, rodeos and parades all over Texas, and are invited to participate in many more outside the state.
"We try to keep the events to about 20 per year," said Cranford. "We just can't get to more than that easily, and travel gets too expensive."
Costs are important to the team, as they have a tradition of raising money for worthy causes. This year they raised money to support the Homes for Our Troops endeavor, which recently provided a veteran Marine with a home in Pinehurst.
The team performed at the area Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) finals Oct. 12 and 13 in Angleton. Oct. 21 and 22 they put on a show at the Antique Auto Club of America (AACA) Glidden Tour in Brenham. Originally developed at the start of the 20th century by the American Automobile Association, the Glidden Tour road rallies promoted auto acceptance and auto-friendly legislation. The Glidden Tour was reborn in 1948 as a rally for antique cars.
Coming up, the team will participate in the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association (PAFRA) rodeo finals in Midland Nov. 23 through 25 and in both the Tomball and Magnolia holiday parades.
"We are especially proud of our participation with PAFRA," said Cranford. "We always strive to support our military members and their families, and PAFRA is an organization dedicated to rodeo participants connected to the United States military. Some PAFRA contestants are actively stationed on military bases overseas and still make it to the finals rodeo almost every year."
The Lone Star Cowgirls have been performing at PAFRA for several years.
The team practices at the Montgomery County/Magnolia Community Horse Club Arena every Sunday evening that they are not putting on a performance.