From the early 1920s to the mid-1930s, trick and fancy rider Bonnie Gray and her company were recognized as some of the best rodeo performers in the country. The famous, all-around cowgirl solidified her place in the profession as an expert in the “under-the-belly-crawl” stunt. Riding fast into the arena atop her horse, King Tut, Bonnie would drop down on the near side of the horse, feed herself headfirst between the animal’s galloping legs, reach through, haul herself up the offside, and jump back into the saddle again. Audiences from Manhattan to Cheyenne were dazzled by the skill and daring it took to execute the death-defying trick.
Bonnie Jean Gray was a natural athlete. Born in 1891 in Kettle Falls, Washington, she learned to ride on her family’s ranch. She was also an accomplished pianist, and attended the University of Idaho where she majored in music and participated in a variety of sports including track and tennis.
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July - August 2020