Women Of the Wild West

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Martha Birkett

Media & Horses

I was born a farm girl with a big imagination.  A professional ‘dreamer’ as they would say.  As I grew and so did my imagination………I joined a theatre group and loved it immensely.  Loved portraying the lives of many different women on stage.  I took to the sport of target shooting and trap shooting before my twenties and grew quite a liking to it.  When my life brought me west to Alberta, I took up mindful hunting to be able to raise my children on wild meat, whilst living in the bush.  A usual daily activity was to fire off several successful rounds at a distant paper target or rocks of different sizes when the papers got too boring.  Trap shooting was a lot of fun for me as well.  When the idea came about in 2007 to start a women’s group called Women of the Wild West………..Annie Oakley was the fitting character for me.  So many parallels.  Even had my costume made from a professional costume designer in Toronto, who made the clothing for the movie ‘Annie Gitcher Gun’. I banded together with a few other women (who I dare say, have a wild side like me) and the group was created.  My passion for horses, historical wild women and children charities, landed our first event.  Giddy Up for Wishes……..a ride that saw me on horseback from Ottawa to Cochrane to raise funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation.  Women of the Wild West were instrumental in the fundraising efforts.  Time we get back in the saddle, or walk the pavement to bring these amazing characters back to life.

Leanne Landers

I grew up in a time when it was cool to have hand made clothes.  My mom sewed matching outfits for my dolls and Barbies.  She taught me how to sew at age 10, it came natural to me.  

You name it, I could sew it, even made a living doing it.  

Then I saw a poster at a barn that I was delivering brand new hand made horse blankets to.  The poster read that the "Women of the Wild West" were looking for women  to join their group.  I called...they said just show up and we'll dress you up!  That is when I fell in love with period costumes and made it my goal to make my costume as authentic as possible.  I have a knack for it...love it...its like I lived it at one time and am living it again with this group!!

Characters & Costumes

Admin & Parades

Bryanne Doyle

I have always dreamed that one day I would be in the Stampede Parade. As a little girl my Gramma would bring us to her office in Gulf Canada Square and watch the people, horses and floats go by.  I would stand, head pressed to the class to hear the sounds and see the magic as it floated by.

Life can debilitate us to where fear dictates what we do...am I good enough...can I do this...do I fit in??  So when approached to become a Wildie, my answer was a very cautious yes.  As a plus size woman, body discrimination is something that I have faced on many occasions.  Being shamed and put down for the size of your waist is a very real and very damaging thing.  It is no easy task to walk onto a stage where you are being watched by 200,000 people. You don't know what they are going to say about your double chins or what pictures of you will be posted on line.

 

You see, body-shamers don't care about where you are in life, what you've faced, survived or are trying to survive.  They don't see what you can do, offer or have accomplished.  It doesn't matter.  All they see is fat.  Fat, lazy, eat too much, ugly and on and on and on.  Worse now is that they head to social media, posting the pictures that we are deathly afraid of , opening us up to the world to be laughed at...and what for?

 

This widely accepted and tolerated form of discrimination has detrimental side effects like, depression, substance abuse, self loathing and suicide in men, women and children.      

So I took a deep breath...held the hands of my sisters and I jumped.  I jumped for all the moments that I've missed because I thought what will people think?  I jumped for all the times I've sat on the sidelines, watching the fun go by.  I jumped to show my daughter she can do anything.  I jumped so that little girl with her head pressed to the glass could have her dream...because it SHOULDN'T matter what colour, race, gender, or SIZE you are...you are worth it, you do fit in and you CAN DO IT!