Year of the Cowgirl Highlighted By Inductions At Kansas Cowboy Hall Of Fame

Reluctant to admit it, the very best cowboys still agree some of the top handlers of cattle on horseback are of the female gender: cowgirls

Only appropriate, cowgirls have been officially recognized.

Five cowgirls were inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Saturday at Dodge City.

Flint Hills cowgirls dominated that unique recognition program as part of the Year of the Cowgirl events at the Hall.

“Each inductee has contributed significantly to the Western heritage lifestyle and preservation of the cowboy culture in Kansas. They personify cowboy ideals of integrity, honesty, and self-sufficiency,” said Karen Pankratz, curator at the Boot Hill Museum, where cowgirls’ photos will be permanently displayed.

Kathie Bell, museum collections curator, announced  the inductees: Margie Roberts Hart, Strong City, rodeo cowgirl; Jane Koger, Matfield Green, rancher; Joyce Thierer, Emporia, historian; Vicki Johnson, Holcomb, working cowgirl; and Martina McBride, Sharon, entertainer.

Margie Roberts Hart

Margie Roberts Hart
Margie Roberts Hart

Margie Roberts Hart was born to Emmett and Clara Roberts in 1916. The Roberts family started the Flint Hills Rodeo at Strong City in 1937.

Margie grew up helping her dad and brothers break horses.

At 13, Margie became a bronc rider for the Clyde Miller Wild West Show. She originated “the dive” as a trick rider.

Riding in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Margie won the ladies bronc riding championship in 1940.

Competing in saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding, at one time or another, Margie also rode at Madison Square Garden in New York.

She’s a sister of world champion cowboys Gerald Roberts and Ken Roberts.

An inductee into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Margie also trained race horses and operated a dude ranch, passing away in 1982.

Jane Koger

Jane Koger
Jane Koger

Jane Koger was born into a ranching family at Emporia in1953, a daughter of Betty and Evan Koger.

Raised in Cottonwood Falls, she is a fourth generation rancher on her mother’s side in Chase County. Today, all five Koger siblings have Kansas ranching interests.

Since 1983, Jane has operated the Homestead Ranch, which was originally homesteaded by her great-grandparents.

The Matfield Green cow-calf operation is owned with her sister Kay Lauer.

Pasture burning research is being done in Jane’s never-ending quest to try new things and “think outside the cow.”

A program called Prairie Woman Adventures Retreat is offered by Jane for women to participate in hands-on ranching, and to connect with beef consumers.

Still believing in the “Code of the West,” Jane lives in a hay bale house.

Joyce Thierer

Joyce Thierer
Joyce Thierer

Joyce Thierer is of the fifth generation of a Flint Hills farming family.

Her parents, Lowell and Myrtle Thierer, lived near Volland when she was born in 1949.

First-person interpretations from her grandfather Thierer about her great-great grandmother, Mary Fix, who came to Kansas in 1856, inspired Joyce.

With several degrees headed by a doctorate in American history from Kansas State University, Joyce has earned a long list of awards.

She has developed academic and history presentations including the “Ride into History,” a first-person program Joyce performs with Ann Birney.

A grant was received to restore the native prairie on land Joyce inherited, and the project merited grassland conservation recognition.

As a speaker bureau member, Joyce is the author of “Telling History:  A Manual for First Person Narratives.”

Vicki Johnson

Vicki Johnson
Vicki Johnson

Vicki Johnson, the oldest of five girls, was born in1950, to LeRoy and Ruby Lohman at Lakin.

She spent her childhood and early adult life helping her family farm 5,000 acres and raise Shorthorn cattle near Kendall.

Vicki was heavily involved in the Peppy Workers 4-H Club in livestock and horse projects. She was the Kearny County Rodeo Queen.

Acquiring a journalism degree from Garden City Community College, life changes took her back to roots in the cattle industry.

Now working for Irsik and Doll Feed Yard, Vicki, mentor to women in the cattle feeding industry, has seen many changes in the business over 41 years.

Also a sports coach and cheerleading sponsor, Vicki and her husband, Steve, have two grown children, Marcus and Marci, and three grandchildren.

Martina McBride

Martina McBride
Martina McBride

Martina Mariea Schiff was born to Daryl and Jeanne Schiff at Sharon in 1966.

Her father, a farmer and carpenter, introduced Martina to country music at a young age, singing with his band at nine.

Martin formed a band, Lotus, and married the studio John McBride in 1988. They moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to launch country music careers.

Recording 13 studio albums and several concert compilations, Martina had her first number one hit: “Wild Angels” in 1996.

Her first Female Vocalist of the Year award came in 1999, followed by three more, 2002, 2003 and 2004, while being nominated 17 times.

Active in charitable causes, Martina has played a larger part in writing songs on her albums.

Martina and husband John have three daughters, Delaney, Emma and Ava.