Tall in the Saddle: Cowgirls, Ranch Women and Rodeo Gals
Ann Meredith

December 20, 2007 - March 17, 2008
SFAC Gallery, San Francisco City Hall

Tall in the Saddle marks the culmination of over seventeen years of artist Ann P. Meredith’s dedication to documenting the achievements of remarkable women determined to preserve their heritage and break new ground in the arenas of ranching and rodeo.
Tall in the Saddle: Cowgirls, Ranch Women & Rodeo Gals was a solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Ann P. Meredith as part of the SFAC Gallery's ongoing Art at City Hall program. Visitors encountered 75 black and white fine art documentary-style photographs depicting cowgirls in a variety of scenarios including competing in rodeo events, working the land and relaxing at home on the ranch. Presented in tandem with the photographs will be Meredith’s documentary film of the same title that riotously reflects the cowgirls of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) filmed at the Annual Sierra Stampede at the Rio Linda Show Grounds in Sacramento, California in 1999.

"Long before Annie Proulx's short story became Brokeback Mountain, Ann Meredith was chasing down the truth behind the fiction at our very first Sierra Stampede in Sacramento in 1999," says Matt Bowers, former Director of the IGRA Capital Crossroads’ Sierra Stampede.

While women are only allowed to compete in the barrel racing category in Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association-sanctioned rodeos, it is an important distinction that the IGRA and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association allow women to compete in all their featured events (which include bronc and bull riding, chute dogging, steer wrestling and more). Meredith not only captures the thrill of rodeo events and the flamboyant character of these pioneering women, she also documents a subversive slant on what dominant/popular culture would perceive as the cowboy’s domain – the West.

The women depicted in the exhibition hail from Alameda, Arroyo Grande, Bakersfield, Brentwood, Clayton, Glendale, Hayward, Inverness/Tomales Bay, Lakewood, Moss Landing, Norco, Orange, Pedley, Pacifica, Rio Linda, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Standish, Susanville and Woodacre in California, as well as Phoenix, Arizona, Hot Springs, Arkansas, Blackfoot, Idaho, Whitefish, Montana, Battle Mountain, Reno, Fallon and Winnemucca, Nevada, Weehawken, New Jersey, Cimarron, Raton, Roe, Folsom, Sapello and Willard New Mexico, New York City, Hereford, Texas, Riverton, Delta and West Jordan, Utah and Falls Church, Virginia.

For Tall in the Saddle Meredith worked with The Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Hereford, Texas; the International Gay & Lesbian Rodeo Association in Sacramento and The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association in Kingman, Arizona. Tall in the Saddle is supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission, Swordfish Productions, Grants for the Arts & the Zellerbach Family Foundation.