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Cowboy museum recognizes local trick rider

Many years ago Shirley Lucas-Jauregui and her late sister, Sharon, dreamed big of being trick riders in the professional rodeo circuit.

In October, Jauregui, 84, of Penn Valley will travel to Oklahoma City to accept the Tad Lucas Award at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for her life’s achievement as a trick rider.

“It will be quite a climax to my life,” Jauregui said.



As young women, the sisters and their mother, Karmon Lucas, moved from their home state of Oklahoma to ride in professional rodeos across the West and later to Southern California, where they won acclaim as stunt women in Hollywood movies and television series.

Trick riding is “very athletic and fearless activity on horseback,” explained daughter Michele Jauregui-Blasi, who lives in Kentucky.




“They drag from off the saddle, off the back of a horse. All this is done with a horse running as fast as it can run. It’s like gymnastics on horses,” Jauregui-Blasi said.

During that other life, the elder Jauregui doubled for stars including Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, Shirley Jones and Betty Hutton in “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Yet such notoriety never swelled Jauregui’s head, a friend said.

“She is probably one of the most humble people in the world,” said Nancy Peirce, also of the Penn Valley area.

“People who have led what the rest of us think as a glamorous, high-profile life, they don’t want that to be who they are,” Peirce added.

Honoring women in the field

At 32, Jauregui married her husband, Bob, and the couple settled in Nevada County, where they raised their two children Michele and Dan on a Penn Valley ranch.

Jauregui gave up her exciting life in the motion picture business when she began a family. She began putting her energy into her community in the form of being a 4-H leader and a member of the Nevada County Fair board.

Participation in the county fair has remained important. This year, Jauregui won the Cowboy Cobbler contest, one of 25 entries she contributed.

“I can’t accept that I’m 84,” she said.

Tad Lucas, namesake of the award Jauregui will receive and no relation to the Juaregui family, is known as the First Lady of rodeo. The youngest of 24 children, Lucas began riding colts with her brothers when she was 7. She went on to ride in numerous rodeos and Wild West shows throughout the United States and Mexico.

Before her death, she established the Tad Lucas Memorial award to honor women who excel in the Western Heritage field.

A photo of Jauregui will be placed in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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