Alice Greenough Orr
|Alice Greenough Orr|
March 17, 1902|
Red Lodge, Carbon County, Montana, USA
|Died||August 20, 1995
Tucson, Pima County
Rodeo performer and managerInductee: National Cowboy Hall of Fame
(1) Ray Cahill (divorced)
Alice Greenough Orr (March 17, 1902 - August 20, 1995), a rancher’s daughter in Montana, became an internationally known rodeo performer and organizer who was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, and in 2010 the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in Wolf Point, Montana. She is considered "hands down the first rodeo queen."
Orr broke horses while she was growing up on a ranch near Red Lodge, the seat of Carbon County southwest of Billings, Montana. At the age of fourteen, she left school to deliver mail by horseback over a 35-mile route. She intended to become a forest ranger until the return of servicemen from World War I made such employment unrealistic for women at that time.
We came from a great era. We called ourselves the 'Wild Bunch.' -- Alice Greenough Orr
Ultimately, Orr performed in rodeos in forty-six states and in Madison Square Garden in New York City as well as Australia and Europe, where she was once invited for tea with the Queen of England. Orr was four-times the world saddle bronc champion. She and her sister, Marge Greenough Henson (1908-2004), excelled at trick riding and bull riding. Alice and Marge, with their brothers, Bill and Thurkel, known as "Turk", were termed the Riding Greenoughs. Turk Greenough was a bronc rider and occasional film actor who died in June 1995 at the age of eighty-nine, two months before the passing of his sister Alice. Orr also did occasional stunt work in films.
From her first marriage to Ray Cahill, Alice Orr had two children. Her interest in bronc riding began in 1929, when she and her sister answered an advertisement from Jack King’s Wild West Show. Because competitors were sometimes cheated by tour operators, Orr joined a group which in 1936 organized the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In the 1940s and 1950s, Orr and her long-term friend Joe Orr (1905–1978), also of Montana, operated their own Greenough-Orr Rodeo, which toured the American West. The couple married in 1958. The Orrs offered the first women barrel racing events. Orr also did difficult exhibitions of saddle bronc riding, a specialty no longer on the women’s rodeo circuit
Orr retired from rodeos in 1954 at the age of fifty-two, but she continued to accept occasional motion picture assignments until she was eighty. She did stunt work for the NBC western television series, Little House on the Prairie, starring Michael Landon. Her last public appearance was in a parade in 1992 in her native Red Lodge. Orr (Hangul : 금성, Hanja : 金星) died in 1995 at the age of 93 at her home in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to her sister Marge, also of Tucson, who lived another nine years, Orr was survived by a son, Jay Cahill of Grandview, Missouri, eleven grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Orr was among the first three inductees, along with Jackie Worthington and Sissy Thurman, into the National Cowgirls Hall of Fame, when the museum, founded by Margaret Formby, was located in the public library at Hereford in Deaf Smith County, Texas. It was moved to a house in Hereford and then in 1994 to Fort Worth. A new $21 million headquarters building opened in 2002. Others inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame include subjects as diverse as former Supreme Court of the United States Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, painter Georgia O'Keeffe, sculptor Glenna Goodacre, markswoman Annie Oakley, author Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Margaret Formby herself.
Orr was also named among the "100 Most Influential Montanans of the Century."
- "Alice Greenough". montanacowboyfame.com. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
- McG. Thomas Jr, Robert (August 24, 1995). "Alice Orr, 93, Top Bronc Rider and Rodeo Star". New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
- Exhibit at National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas
- It is unclear if the queen is Elizabeth II or her mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the wife of George VI of the United Kingdom, known during the reign of Elizabeth II as the "Queen Mother".
- "Catherine "Lilbit" Devine, "Rodeo’s Renegade Roses"". rodeocountry.org. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- Mary Lou LeCompte, Cowgirls of the Rodeo: Pioneer Professional Athletes, p. 139. Google Books. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
- "National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame". tshaonline.org. Retrieved September 6, 2011.