Ellenor Marie Regini (Sissy) Thurman was born March 29, 1934 in Galveston, Texas. She began riding horses at the age of five, and running barrels at age eleven. Married in 1952, she and her husband rodeoed for a living and were members of the SRA. Later she joined the professional rodeo ranks as a member of the GRA, in which she was a director until her death.
Sissy started barrel racing on a sorrel mare named May and won on her in the SRA. She then rode a black gelding named Cadillac. At the same time, her husband roped on this horse. Cadillac made their living for almost ten years.
Her next horse was a mare named Tilly. Sissy trained all of her own horses. She set a record for fastest time ever run in the Oklahoma City Finals rodeo, and held the record for fastest time in National Finals barrel racing. At the time of her death, she was in second place for the title of World’s Champion barrel racer.
Sissy Thurman died in an automobile accident on October 2, 1968 in Hope, Arkansas. She was one of the first to be inducted in the Hall of Fame at Hereford, Texas.