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The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame announces 2017 inductees, award winner

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame will induct five women at its 42nd Annual Induction Luncheon and Ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

Inductees include Reba McEntire, Jacqueline Smith McEntire, Mary Burger, Ashley Collins and Margaret McGinley Dickens.

These women were chosen “because their lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American West,” according to a company news release.

Additionally, the museum will be presenting the Gloria Lupton Tennison Pioneer Award for the first time since 2012.

Ann D. Romney will receive the award, which is presented to an individual who has “pioneered new approaches to public service in the areas of business, law, sports, the arts or humanitarian causes,” the release stated.

Individual tickets for the event will go on sale Monday, Oct. 9. Red Steagall, entertainer, and Deborah Ferguson, NBC 5 Today Anchor, will co-host the event for the about 1,000 expected attendees. There will be a champagne reception a festive bazaar of Western clothing, accessories and gifts, and more.

Here’s information on each inductee and the award winner from the release.

Reba McEntire, Nashville, Tennessee: The successful career of this multimedia entertainment mogul and mom spans across music, television, film, theater and retail. The legendary Oklahoma native’s achievements include 35 No. 1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl, 15 American Music Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, 9 People’s Choice Awards, 7 Country Music Association Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, ACM Career Achievement Honor, 50th Anniversary Milestone Award for the Most Awarded ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, first-ever American Country Countdown NASH Icon Award, National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress, 11 movie credits and starring on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun and in the television sitcom Reba.

Jacqueline Smith McEntire, Stringtown, Oklahoma: Besides being Reba McEntire’s mother, Jackie McEntire has been a lifelong leader in public education. Jackie McEntire served five school districts in southeastern Oklahoma for almost 20 years as a teacher, secretary and librarian. In 1943 at age 18, she began her teaching career riding her horse to the Tipperary School to teach grades 1-8. During her 11 years at Kiowa High School starting in 1962 as the librarian and secretary, she was involved in many areas of the school’s administration while raising her four children. She was solely responsible for the school board’s approval of the Kiowa Cowboy Band, which turned out a number of future music sensations including three of her own – Pake, Susie, and Reba. In 2016, Southeastern Oklahoma State University recognized McEntire’s lifelong dedication to education by awarding her an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Public Education and Community Service.

Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma: A barrel racer for five decades, Burger, by age 68, had won 11 World Championships in Barrel Racing, 9 American Quarter Horse Association and 2 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association/Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Championships. As a child, she overcame the debilitating Perthes Disease by riding a pony. By her late 20s, she was one of the first world champion barrel racers. In 1974, she won both the Inaugural World Champion Junior Barrel Racing title and the Inaugural World Champion Junior Pole Bending title for the AQHA. At 58, she set the record as the oldest barrel racer to win a world title. In 2016, at 68, she was the oldest WPRA and PRCA National Finals Rodeo qualifier and the oldest person to win the WPRA Barrel Racing World Championship.

Ashley Collins, Murrieta, Calif.: Over the past 30 years, Collins has made the journey from homelessness and destitution to becoming one of the top female contemporary painters of our time, helping the advancement of women in contemporary art. She is recognized for her powerful, large-scale paintings reflecting the soul of the horse, found in top private and public collections worldwide. She has reached back to help thousands of women and children lead better lives through a hands-on approach mostly to small grassroots charities such as Sunrise Orphanage and Life Hope Sewing Schools in Cambodia, Camp Rainbow Gold for Children with Cancer in Idaho and Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. Her continuing work with International Medical Corps and the Smile Train has brought both vaccines and smiles to thousands of women and children in poorer regions of our world.

Margaret McGinley Dickens, Alvarado, Texas: Dickens pioneered the use of horses to facilitate healing — both emotional and physical — of people with disabilities. In 1996, she and Patti Pace co-founded Wings of Hope Equitherapy south of Burleson, Texas, to provide hope and healing through gentle horses and the love of God. More than 1,000 riders from age 3 to 78 have benefited — children, adults and war veterans with disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, closed head injuries and PTSD. Under Dickens’ direction, Wings of Hope became a Premier Accredited Center of PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International. All Wings of Hope instructors are PATH certified and have extensive experience with horses and riders with disabilities. Dickens retired from her daily role in 2015 but continues to serve on the Board of Directors.

“This year’s remarkable Inductees will be fitting additions to the Hall of Fame,” said Patricia W. Riley, executive director of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. “Currently, we have 228 Honorees — artists and writers, champions and competitive performers, entertainers, ranchers, trailblazers and pioneers.”

Gloria Lupton Tennison Pioneer Award

Ann D. Romney of Salt Lake City, Utah, will receive the Gloria Lupton Tennison Pioneer Award for raising awareness of multiple sclerosis (MS) and raising funds for its advocacy and research. The accomplished equestrienne champions the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding. In 1998, she was diagnosed with MS. Having ridden horses in her youth, she resumed riding as a form of therapy and relaxation to fight the effects of the disease. Her horseback therapy evolved into dressage, a sport in which she has earned top awards nationally as an adult amateur. Determined to make a difference in the lives of people who suffer from MS, she serves as the global ambassador for the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. The center’s research provides hope for over 50 million people worldwide who suffer from MS, Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s and brain tumors.

“We are all inspired by Ann Romney’s innovative approach in using horseback riding to fight her MS and by her work to find a cure for the disease,” Riley said.

The Gloria Lupton Tennison Pioneer Award, established in 1999, is presented on occasion to recognize an individual who has pioneered new approaches to public service in the areas of business, law, sports, the arts or humanitarian causes. Previous recipients include Anne Armstrong, Nancy Lee Bass, Nancy Brinker, Laura W. Bush, Lynne V. Cheney and Ruth Carter Stevenson.

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