All Inductees

Tad Lucas

Empty Saddles

Barbara Inez (Tad) Barnes Lucas was born on September 1, 1902, in Cody, Nebraska, and was part of a large family with 23 siblings. At an early age, she began breaking ranch horses, riding calves then steers, often competing with the neighboring Sioux Indians. Her first rodeo competition was at the Gordon, Nebraska Fair in 1917, riding steers. She was taught the art of trick riding by a fellow competitor, Reine Hafley.

In 1924, she joined the Tex Austin show group who performed in London, England. Just prior to departure, she married fellow rodeo rider, Buck Lucas. It was in England where Tad made her debut in trick riding which she would become most famous for in the rodeo arena.

Upon their return from England to Ft. Worth, Texas, Tad and Buck began their own rodeo production company yet she continued to compete across the United States. Major wins at Cheyenne, Wyoming; Boston, Massachusetts, New York City, New York; Chicago, Illinois, and Ft. Worth, Texas would be awarded to her in the relay racing, bronc riding, and trick and fancy riding for the next 15 years.

Along with her excellent riding ability, Tad was also instrumental in changing the cowgirl fashion scene as she introduced wearing wooly chaps in the bronc riding competition. She also designed and sewed flared bottom pants and bolero jackets for herself and other competitors. As her career as a trick rider flourished, she could be found with her own style of lace-up leather soled shoes and with the redesigned competition saddle which was white in color for better visibility.

From the 1920s-1933 trick riding was a competitive event but later changed to exhibition only where Tad continued to perform. While performing at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, a badly broken arm which required several operations and bone grafts, but it didn’t keep her down for long. Although for several years thereafter, she did wear a cast while competing. She also taught her daughter Mitzi the art of trick riding, and they often performed together. Throughout the 1940s and into the late 1950s, she competed and did exhibition performances across the United States, Australia, and Belgium. Tad was one of few women to perform as a rodeo clown in professional rodeos Denver, Colorado, and Kansas City, Kansas.

As a founding member of the Girls Rodeo Association in the late 1940s, she continued to serve in many capacities until her retirement at the age of 80.

Tad was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame previously in Hereford, Texas-now in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1978, and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, CO in 1979, as well as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. She was one of the founding members of the Rodeo Historical Society in 1966.

Tad left this world in Ft. Worth, Texas, February 3, 1990, at the age of 87 years.