Minnie Lou Ottinger Bradley was born December 15, 1931 to Thomas and Zulema Young Ottinger in western Oklahoma. At an early age, she showed a strong interest in livestock as she grew up on the family wheat farm. She joined the 4-H Club and actively participated, although the Future Farmers of America (FFA) was then limited to male members. While in 4-H, she exhibited Angus cattle, sheep and swine. At age ten, she won a blue ribbon at the Oklahoma State Fair for sheep raised on her ranch. After graduating from high school in Hydro, Oklahoma she enrolled at Oklahoma State University, first chartered as Oklahoma Territorial Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1890 and then commonly known as Oklahoma A&M. She was the first female student to enroll in animal science, graduating in 1953 and minoring in agricultural journalism.
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Ann Richards was the 45th Governor of Texas, succeeding Governor Bill Clements. She was born Dorothy Ann Willis on September 1, 1933 to Robert Cecil and Mildred Iona Warren Willis. She grew up in the Lacy Lakeview area, just north of Waco, Texas. Her father worked as a truck driver for a pharmaceutical company. During World War II, the family briefly moved to San Diego, California before returning to live once more in Waco, Texas. She attended and graduated from Waco High School in downtown Waco. Her family was not wealthy, but she took piano and elocution lessons. Once when she was a senior at Waco High, she and classmate Marilyn Reese played a piano duet and took third place in a city-wide musical talent contest. Foreshadowing her later political career, Ann also was on the high school debate team and was selected to be a representative to Girls State, an American Legion Auxiliary leadership organization that mirrors each state’s government. She was attracted by the process and was selected as a representative to Girls Nation, a group select individuals from from among the Girls State representatives. Richards entered Baylor University in Waco after high school graduation on a debate scholarship. The future governor married her high school boyfriend, David Read Richards, in 1953 during her junior year in college, and Ann went on to graduate from Baylor University in Speech and Government the following year.
Christine Nix was hired in 1994 and became an officer with the Texas Rangers after serving in the military and as a police officer in Temple before moving to another state. She later returned to Texas, moving to Austin. She happened to live near the Texas Department of Safety office which helped to spark her interest in returning to law enforcement.
Sara Augusta Tilghman Hughes was a pioneer in the legal profession. She was born in 1896 in Baltimore, Maryland to James Cooke and Elizabeth Haughton Tilghman. Her father was a shipping clerk in the dry goods business. She grew up in Baltimore where she attended Western Female High School, Salem Academy in North Carolina and then Goucher College, graduating in 1917 with a degree in biology. After graduating from college, she taught school for two years before enrolling in night law school classes at George Washington School of Law. During the day, she worked as a police officer in Washington, D. C. and she received her law degree in 1922.
On Sunday, October 23, 1960, the Texas Prison Rodeo performance in Huntsville was slated to have a personal appearance by actor John Wayne, in Texas to promote the release of his film “The Alamo” in Houston the following week. Scheduled to appear with Wayne was pop singer Frankie Avalon, who had been cast as the character known as “Smitty” in the film. Wayne’s production was only the fourth of fifty-one film or television projects that Avalon appeared in, but he was at a peak of his career in pop music. The previous year, his recording “Venus” was Number 1 for five weeks. Between 1958 and 1962 between two and three dozen of his recordings hit the Billboard chart. The rodeo arena was expected to be filled to capacity at around 30,000.
Cyd Charisse was born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas on March 8, 1921 to Ernest Enos and Lela Norwood Finklea. Ernest was a well known Amarillo jeweler of French descent, though he was born in Texas. Ernest was the proprietor of E. E. Finklea Jewelers at 410 South Polk Street in downtown Amarillo. Finklea’s billed itself as “The Jewelry Store of the Panhandle.” The name Cyd is a respelling of the nickname her brother gave her when he could not pronounce “sister” and she adopted it as her stage name. The last name Charisse was actually her married name.