All Inductees

Jackie Worthington

Empty Saddles

Jackie Worthingten was a talented musician and a graduate of Texas State College for Women. But her dream was to be a cowgirl and she would be instrumental in the formation of women’s rodeo and become one of its greatest champions. She grew up on her parent’s ranch near Jacksboro, Texas where she rode everything from the milk cows to the broodmares. Her sister, Ada Worthington, also showed an interest in rodeo and together they helped build a sport for future cowgirls.

Despite standing only four feet eight inches, Worthington stood tall in the arena when she was riding a bucking horse or bull. She was also a leader in the development of women’s rodeo and the founding of the Girl’s Rodeo Association. A group of ladies got together on February 28, 1948, in San Angelo, Texas, and formed the organization that would be the sanctioning body for women’s rodeo. Working on the same basis are the Rodeo Cowboys Association, the GRA used a point system to choose event champions and an all-around champion each year.

Worthington was elected to be the first president of the GRA and became a spokesman for women’s rodeo. The first season for the new association was 1948 and Worthington won the bareback and bull riding world championships. She went on to win six world all-around championships, four world bareback riding titles, seven world bull riding titles, one world ribbon roping title and five world cutting horse championships. At the time cutting was one of the events sanctioned at women’s rodeos.

She ended her rodeo career with 23 world championships, which at the time was a record in the sport of rodeo, men’s or women’s. Under the leadership of Worthington, women’s rodeo became a respected sport. In 1955 she signed agreement with RCA president Bill Linderman that all women’s events held at RCA rodeos must be sanctioned by the GRA.

When Worthington retired from rodeo she returned to Jacksboro to manage the family ranch. In 1975 she was one of the first three women to be inducted in to the newly formed Cowgirl Hall of Fame, at that time located in Hereford, Texas. Worthingion passed away in 1987.