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Remarkable Saddle Record As Long As Her Lariat,
Riding Bronchos and Roping Steers Like a Man

The Atlanta Constitution Sun, 18 Oct 1903

Seventeen-year-old Texas maid with a record of 34 seconds
in lassoing, throwing and tying cattle
TEXAS takes off its hat, with chivalrous proprietary pride, to a slim little 17-year-old lass who lives in the saddle, and whose record with lariat and cattle-herd is the equal of any cowboy's in the Lone Star State.

You would not have a very comfortable time of it in Texas, particularly in the El Paso portion of Texas, if you were rash enough to dispute anybody's statement down that way that Miss Lucille Mulhall is Queen of the Range.

She has earned the title, wears it with delightful modesty, and is the idol of the cowboys throughout the country.

At seventeen she has the unique distinction of being the only professional woman ropist in the world, with sparkling jewels, by way of medal testimony, to bear witness to the fact. She has won these medals fairly and squarely in roping contests with the most skillful knights of the spur and lariat in Texas.

All men admire her grace, her courage, and her dexterity, and all women envy her the possession of her equestrian accomplishments. They admire and envy her the more because they know that her pretty head cannot be turned by praise, nor her frank, girlish, ingenuous and honest nature spoiled by the attention that she receives.

She is, in brief, a most remarkable young woman, with an environment that from earliest childhood has tended to develop sturiness of character and physical endurance. And she owns a whole herd of cattle - more than 2,000, to be numerically precise - that she has lassoed, thrown, tied, roped and branded with her own two small, steel-muscled hands.

It is not to be wondered at that Texas, to a man, is proud of pretty Lucille Mulhall. It is neither in the least surprising that the Texas trails are literally alive with manly hearts in manly breasts that she can have her choice of any day. But little Miss Lucille is not bothering her independent young head - as yet - about matrimonial problems. She is too much in love with lariat sport to give serious attention to her cavaliers. Meds are dearer to her just now than proposals of marriage.

To lasso a steer running at full speed, throw and tie the struggling animal, is not easy work for strong men who have spent most of their lives in the saddle. When a pretty, modest young woman rides with the same recklessness, casts a lariat with the same skill, throws a frantic steer and ties him with the same dexterity, it is no wonder the world applauds.

Because the clever contestant had previously made so distinguished a record, and because Texas people enjoy the novelty of watching a woman in the roping areana, there was unusual excitement in the crowd that had assembled to witness the "tryout" of cowboy prowess. But fate proved unkind to the young girl on this occasion. She had her turn at bad luck - the sort of bad luck that is bound to overtake the oldest veterans in the saddle - but the sympathy of the spectators was with her, and their knowledge of her daring feats in the past made them generous. Although Miss Mulhall did not capture a prize this time she was the sensation of the day.

Mounted on a horse somewhat larger than the ordinary cow ponies, the young woman entered the arena accompanied by her father and brother, who were interested and anxious spectators of her skill.

The fair contestant looked the queen she is. Divided skirts were her riding habit; a jaunty hat partially covered the fluffy blond curly hair which hung to her shoulders. Miss Mulhall does not ride in prim military style, but with the easy, relaxed grace of cattle men. No favors were shown her. The stakes were high and it was everybody for himself.

When it came Miss Mulhall's time to show her skill a big wild steer was turned into the park and chased in a lively manner across the "dead line," about 100 yards distant from the roper.

The little "Queen" was after him like a flash the instant the flag fell, with hat off and curls flying in the wind.

In a few seconds horse and rider were at the side of the fleeing animal. Off went the rope from the saddle. Beautifully the lariat circled in the air, held by a strong young arm, and cut it west with a significant whirr.

"She has him!" screamed the audience.

"Bad luck!" exclaimed the host of admiring cowboys. "Try him again!"

Sure enough, the rope had only settled over one horn. The lariat was skillfully loosened, recoiled and the chase began anew.

The horse was spurred to the side of the thoroughly terrified steer and again the lariat whirled in the air high above the rider's head.

On and on went the pursued and his pursuers. The young roper was waiting a favorable opportunity - she must have good position of the animal's head. The circles of the rope cut more rapidly and out it darted - only to settle once more over one horn. Again it was disengaged.

Nothing daunted at such ill luck, the plucky ropist coiled her lariat again while riding furiously after the steer.

It was a race for life. The steer darted into a small band of cattle at the furhermost end of the park. Miss Mulhall was right after him, dexterously "cutting him out" of the herd. This time the poor animal struck out for the opposite side of the park, with horse and rider in hot pursuit.

Clouds of dust almost obscured the trio as the race continued. The audience cheered lustily. The cowboys were anxious. Betting ran high. Soon the horse and his rider were neck and neck with the pantting steer.

Again the lariat cut sweeping circles in the clouds of dust. Faster and faster it went until it shot out and settled over both horns of the victim. There was a quick dash of twenty yard or more at right angles of the captive. The noble horse braced himself for the shock, and down went the steer, almost turning a complete somersault.

Instantly the young ropist sprang from her horse, which now stood well braced, with forelegs stiffened to hold the rope taut, and ran to the prostrate beast. Unfortunately it reocvered from the shock and scrambled to its feet before she reached it. Miss Mulhall swung herself into the saddle, another dash at right angles was made, and the steer was again thrown heavily to the ground, kicking up great clouds of dust.

Once more the rope was taut. Miss Mulhall disappeared from the saddle and again ran to the fallen captive. There was a magic twist and tie of the rope about the animal's hind legs, a kicking foreleg was mysteriously looped to them, and up went the young woman's hand as a signal that the deed was done.

"Two minutes and forty seconds," the timekeeper shouted.

Many of the queen's subjects galloped out to escort her to the judges' stand. Shouts of applause greeted the dust begrimed, hatless maiden as she rode up the arena, weary but smiling.

Two minutes and forty seconds is not expert time in roping contests, but considering the accidents with which she had to contend it was good time. Some of her competitors with less bad luck did no better.

There is always an element of danger in roping cattle. The steer may persistently keep in awkward position for the placing of the lariat, a rope may break, the horse may fall or become tangled in the rope.

Sometimes, if the strain is unevenly distributed, both horse and rider may be thrown over by the shock. This is especially likely to happen in throwing very large steers. Fortunately such an accident seldom occurs, but when it does the horse and his rider may receive serious injuries. A sudden swerve of the steer may also put to naught the roper's skill.

Many skeptics have declared that no women could perform such feats of strength and skill as roping steers. These were not cattlemen, however.

Miss Mulhall thoroughly demonstrated the art. She has a record of thirty-four seconds, which is as good as that of the average expert roper, if not better.

Few women would have the courage to attempt roping, even if they had the strength and skill, as considerable danger accompanies such reckless riding.

Miss Mulhall is the only woman ropist in the world recorded in cattleland. She is not the least masculine in appearance. So very girlishis she in looks and in manner that one would scarcely credit her with more than sixteen years.

The plucky maid of the mountains was born and brought up, a veritable child of nature, on a ranch in Oklahoma. Instead of a baby's rattle she heard the tinkle of spurs. Her cradle was the saddle. She cannot recall a time when she could not ride a horse.

When she was ten years old no boy of her age could excel her in horsemanship and in knowledge of the art of roping. So ambitious was she to become a real cowgirl that her father contracted to give her all the calves she could lasso, throw, tie and brand in a certain number of minutes. He kept to his word, she kept to her ambition, with the result that to-day Miss Mulhall is owner of a band of 2,000 cattle.

She can pick up a hat from the ground while dashing by at full speed, as gracefully as any vaquero.

She easily lassoes galloping horsemen. In fact, she performs all of the trick sknown to the men of the plains who are acknowledged experts in horsemanship.

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