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Jane Mayo
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From the Tulsa World, April 15, 1961 and Tulsa Tribune June 29 1961. Reprinted with permission. Submitted by Rusty Lang.

ONCE AILING COWGIRL SADDLED WITH SUCCESS by Joseph H. Carter

OKEMAH (UPI) _ Pretty Jane Mayo found life, health and a handsome living riding horseback.

The world champion cowgirl, 24, was stricken by a rare blood disease when she was a tot. Doctors predicted she would die before she was 5.W.H. Mayo, her father, bought tiny Jane, a gentle horse - Old Buck. The sickly tot learned to ride. And the fresh air and sunshine she soaked in while atop the horse brought her back to health.

Today, the shapely lass rides a handsome horse named V's Sandy at breakneck speeds in barrel races at rodeos across the continent. She won $30,000 atop V's Sandy.

Miss Mayo, who looks much too dainty to ride in a western rodeo, said she would rather rope and bulldog calves than ride in the barrel races. She even has ridden wild bucking broncs in some rodeos.

She credits Sandy with victories while barrel racing and roping. "A city boy could do better in a race on Sandy than I could do on an untrained horse," she said.

For the past two years Miss Mayo easily has won the world's championship for girls barrel racing. In 1959 she was elected the all-around cowgirl, but a technicality cost her the title the following year.

During her career, six years as a professional and five years as an amateur, she has entered most competitive events. She said the bruises are often and many. Once, she broke a leg.

"The hardest part of professional rodeo work,' she said, "is the long drive between shows," She drives 60,000 miles a year. Her gasoline bill some months is $300.

"I pull my own horse," she said.

"Everything I've got is in him."

Although she likes dancing and water skiing, but dislikes cowboy boots, she said that horses are the most important thing in her life. She is writing a book on how to train a horse for barrel racing.

"I guess that any man I marry will just have to love horses," she said. "My parents tried to get me interested in the fright business - but I couldn't sit still."

The Mayos own a 900-acre ranch 15 miles north of Okemah. They raise Brahma and black Angus-cross cattle and horses and do a little farming. Jane and her father together own the noted thoroughbred stallion Ariel Ace.

Jane started contesting at Okemah junior rodeos. In 1955 she graduated from Okemah High School and became a member of the Girls Rodeo Association and got her first really good horse. In 1957 and 58 Jane was the GRA champion team roper. After she acquired V's Sandy, she has to date, won more than 100 trophies in addition to the money.

The citizens of Okemah are planning a high tribute to her April 23, as the climax of the annual Okemah Pioneer celebration and rodeo.

April 23 will be "Jane Mayo Day" in Okemah.

This page was last updated on 10/12/11

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