Cowboy Girl documents the life of a great cowboy who happened to be a girl.

"Gender does not define ability, " are words Sammy lives by and is more important than ever.

Cowboy Girl A Project of Documentaries

The Legend of Sammy Thurman Brackenbury

Outspoken and honest, Sammy Thurman Brackenbury shares the importance of her extraordinary accomplishments in the rodeo arena juxtaposed with the struggles of her personal life. Sharing the true story of a woman who lives life on her own terms and refuses to allow gender to define her is of the utmost importance these days. Superficial characters in "reality" television are significantly impacting our children and much of society while we slowly lose the inspiring stories of authentic American heroes like Sammy.

One of the main goals of Cowboy Girl will be to have Sammy inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, but producing a quality film that is worthy of exposure is expensive and can not happen without your help. According to PBS, most documentary films have production budgets that range from $300,000 to over one million dollars. Cowboy Girl has partnered with talented individuals and From the Heart Productions -- allowing us to produce this film at a much lower rate. Please consider a tax-deductible donation.


Lisa Michelle -- Writer / Producer

"I spent a good portion of my life on the rodeo trail competing in barrel racing across the west before becoming an award-winning writer. Sammy Thurman Brackenbury was not of my era, but I had heard the stories. Stories that made me laugh, but admire a woman I didn't know. Nearly twenty years later, I drove from my home in the Sierra Nevada to Sammy's place in the southern California desert. I needed to be sure that making this film was a mountain Sammy and I wanted to climb together. I turned the camera on and within five minutes of talking to Sammy I knew that I had to make this film."

Lisa Michelle is an award-winning writer who calls the Sierra Nevada her home. As a freelance writer her work appears in She Explores, Range, Performance Horse Journal, Sierra, Tahoe Weekly, and others. Her latest film Common Ground examines the struggles of bullying from both sides and is currently on the festival circuit.

Manuel Crosby -- Director / Cinematography

Manuel Crosby is a filmmaker based in Northern California. As a cinematographer and editor, he works on a wide variety of projects including short and feature narrative films, documentaries, and commercials. Also, Manuel has written and directed multiple short films, the latest being the western "Dead Man's Locket" which is currently winning awards on the festival circuit.


Sam Fancher may have wanted a boy when Sammy was born, but he raised his daughter as he would his son. At a time when girls wore dresses and played with dolls, Sammy was helping her family gather wild mustangs in the Arizona desert.

Her extraordinary abilities with a horse and a rope became apparent when she began roping calves and eventually competing against men in the team roping event. Sammy is one of very few woman to ever win money at a major rodeo in a roping event. She was barred from competition since the Rodeo Cowboys Association did not allow women to compete.

"Sammy was the best hazer going." Claimed Jack Roddy and Harley May, both world champion steer wrestlers. In the rodeo arena a good hazer keeps a running steer in position for a steer wrestler to slide off his horse and "bulldog" the animal to the ground. A hazer can make all the difference between winning and losing and Sammy was one of the best until a 1968 rule forbid women from hazing.

While on her way to winning the 1965 barrel racing world title, Sammy walked away from a promising movie career. Fame and fortune could not deter her from rodeo competition and qualifying for twelve consecutive National Finals Rodeos.

$5,000 Raised
6% towards $78,500 Goal

Supported by 22 Donations:

  • Antoinette G.
    I Gave $200
  • Dianne H.
    I Gave $50
    Friends for over50 years
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $50
    This documentary needs to be made
  • Debbie G.
    I Gave $200
    This story needs telling. Sammy is a one of a kind legend. Beauty and talent. Our past Rodeo history needs documented and told for all to see.
  • Cassidy V.
    I Gave $100
    Would love to see this get made!
  • Carl R.
    I Gave $100
    Good luck with the film. I am sure it will be great.
  • Julie & Vince  M.
    I Gave $1,000
    This is the story of a strong and interesting character that just happens to be a woman!!! We can't wait to see the finished product.
  • Jane S.
    This is going to be a great story about a great lady!
  • Maureen B.
    I Gave $100
    Bout time
  • Silhouette
  • Corolynn  V.
    I Gave $100
    It is the unusual life of a more than interesting woman that will be told with honesty and authenticity by Lisa Michelle and her crew.
  • Ned and Thayus  L.
    I Gave $100
  • Kathy & Steve  B.
    I Gave $100
    They don’t make them like this anymore #Handy❤️
  • Susan C.
    I Gave $250
    I love films that give women their voice!
  • Mary D.
    I Gave $100
    I cannot wait to see the finished product.
  • Tom and Laurie K.
    I Gave $100
    We are all cowboys at heart. What a great story that needs too be told!
  • Savanna K.
    I Gave $50
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $500
    This is a worthy and important story that must be told!