MONTROSE, Colo. -- Anna Lee Aldred, the first woman in the United States to receive a jockey's license and a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, died June 12 at Valley Manor Nursing Home, the nursing home said. She was 85.
She was born in this western Colorado town on April 19, 1921, and began riding horses at an early age. She competed at amateur tracks in Colorado and Wyoming and won her first pony race at age 6 in Montrose, according to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.
She received her professional jockey's license in 1939, when she was 18, from California's Agua Caliente Racetrack. The license, a small wooden badge, is now on display at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
She retired from racing by 1945 and opened a riding school in California. She then spent five years performing as a rodeo trick rider, sometimes standing atop the saddle or hanging by her foot from the side of a running horse.
Mrs. Aldred continued to ride until she was 80, appearing in rodeo ceremonies.