Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on March 17th, 2015

Connie Reeves: At age 101, the world's oldest cowgirl.

Connie Reeves
Connie Reeves  

Deep in the heart of central Texas is the vast ranching region known as the Hill Country.

Connie and her husband Jack Reeves, a former rodeo star, were Hill Country ranchers who for many years managed former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson's 10,000 acre ranch.

What is a rancher?

He is a veterinarian birthing, healing and neutering and caring for and feeding all the animals that inhabit that ranch.

He manages ranch hands, and is a blacksmith, a plumber, a carpenter, welder, mechanic and a laborer.

He rides the range to heard grazing animals and to fix fencing, and he bails hay, repairs troughs, milks cows, mucks barns and barnyards and performs endless other chores.

As a cowgirl, Connie assisted Jack in many of those functions, sometimes being in the saddle for hours at a time, and in addition, she kept the books and ran their household.

But that's not all.

Starting in 1936 before meeting Jack, she became a summer camp riding instructor at prominent Camp Waldemar, teaching girls to ride horses.

Connie taught there each summer for 67 years, until she passed away at the age of 101 in 2003. She taught more than 30,000 girls to ride.

Connie Reeves
Connie Reeves  

So who was this remarkable lady?

Connie was born Constance Douglas in 1901 in Eagle Pass, Texas on the Mexican border. As a girl, she swam in the Rio Grande and playfully rode horses with the cowboys, having received her first horse from her grandfather when she was just 5 years old.

Connie graduated from Texas Women's University and enrolled in law school at the University of Texas, one of the first women accepted into that law school.

But Connie's heart was in teaching and ultimately she became a high school teacher.

Connie met Jack at Camp Waldemar and they married in 1942, when she was over 40, which meant they never had children. But their marriage continued for 38 years, until Jack's passing in 1980.

Being a cowgirl, even as she grew old, horses remained an important part of Connie's life, as she rode in parades and for pleasure, and continued to teach riding.

"I still ride alone," 100 year old Connie told National Public Radio in a 2002 interview. "Sometimes I'll just get on the horse and go down to the river. We'll just ride up and watch a little baby fawn nursing or watch the birds in a nest.

"As long as I'm alive, I'm going to be trying to ride a horse." And Connie joyfully did.

Editor's Note: The primary source for this piece was "I Married a Cowboy," a book published by Connie in 1995.To see and hear her, click here.

To learn more click here, here, and here. To learn about Camp Waldemar, click here.

In the next KazanToday: At age 107, one of the oldest CEO's in history.

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