Cowgirls of all ages rode into the Cultural District at Fort Worth on Feb. 22 to break ground for the $21 million National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. The Coleman County Cowgirls rode in the parade. Each participant in the parade represented one of the 153 inductees into the Hall of Fame. Berva Dawn Taylor of Doole, longtime supporter of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, rode with the Coleman County Cowgirls as their special guest. The horsewomen formed a parade and rode to the ground-breaking site just south of the Museum of Science and History. Speeches and dirt-turning followed at the ceremony, which drew several hundred spectators. Pam Minick, a chairwoman of the museum campaign and a 2000 inductee, said the message was that you don’t have to ride a horse or push cattle to be a cowgirl. More than about horses and cattle, it’s about a “can-do spirit” that is displayed in many ways. The past and future of the cowgirl were represented in the parade by 99 year-old Connie Reeves of Kerrville and four year-old Summer Gay, granddaughter of Neal and Kay Gay. Reeves said a real cowgirl always saddles her own horse; she is responsible for how everything in her life turns out and doesn’t blame others for her problems. Jessie, the yodeling cowgirl from “Toy Story 2” rode in the parade. Jessie has been placed in the Hall of Fame to represent the presence of the cowgirl in contemporary movies. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson spoke during the ceremony. She recalled stories of her great-grandmother, a Texas pioneer woman. She said the museum was important to chronicle the achievements of the women that helped establish the American frontier. The 153 inductees include not only cowgirls, but also entertainers, authors, artists, bootmakers, historians, photographers, teachers and pioneers. There are honorees from 30 states. They include Annie Oakley, Dale Evans, Sacagawea, Willa Cather, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Georgia O’Keefe and Patsy Cline. The original museum began in Hereford in 1975. Margaret Formby started it in the basement of the Deaf Smith County Library. The new facility in Fort Worth will feature five gallery areas, meeting areas, a theater, a children’s area, an area to display traveling art shows and exhibits from other museums, a research library, a catering kitchen and retail store. About 90 percent of the money to build the 33,000 square foot building has already been raised through corporate and other major sponsors. It’s scheduled to open in summer 2002. Donations to the museum and hall of fame can be made by calling 1-800-476-FAME or visit their web site at www.cowgirl.net.