Chances are good that Eloise Fox ran away from a convent at the age of 16 in 1914 because of either a sexy cowboy or a chance to break out of the “woman’s world.” But whatever, she would become Fox Hastings—one of America’s first female athletes, one of rodeo’s early superstars and the most photographed cowgirl of the 1920s.
Her husband, Paul Raymond “Mike” Hastings was a noted bulldogger and introduced his wife to the rodeo, which was a world unto itself compared to opportunities for women elsewhere in society at that time. Here they got paid better than the waitresses, clerks or school marms that were their other options, they got to travel and they had a level of excitement few women ever experienced. Eloise changed her name to Fox Hastings and the press loved her–she quickly showed her talents as saddle bronc rider and rodeo trick rider. But the highlight of her career was as one of the only women to ever wrestle steers. She made her debut as a bulldogger in 1924 and became to the press, “cowgirl extraordinary.” In 1987 she was induced into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 2011, she was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.