KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
April 29, 2022
By Natalie Cook Clark
The historic Katy Cowgirls are more than a mounted drill team Katy has grown to love, they raise leaders and servants dedicated to lifting up the team and the City of Katy. For almost 80 years they have supported local charities along with their performances. Now they are an official non-profit.
All photos courtesy Anita Mancini.
More than Cowgirls
Since 1943 the Katy Cowgirls has brought together Katy ISD students and the love for their horses as they represent their hometown, state, and country in local events. The mounted drill team creates leaders and passionate servants as these young women do so much more than ride horses and wave flags.
“We create responsible humans who earn their place in our community and the World,” says Katy Cowgirl Director Anita Mancini.
The Katy Cowgirls makes up of 24-26 Katy ISD area students and currently have girls 6-18 years of age.
“I love getting to learn leadership, teamwork, and responsibility all while making lifelong friends doing what we all love,” says Katy High School Senior Faith Mancini. “Of course, hearing the crowd scream for you while you are running out of the arena.”
Faith Mancini is this year’s Co-Line Captain. She is also the granddaughter of Director Anita Mancini.
A Director for Over 20 Years
Anita Mancini has been the director since 2002.
When Mancini took over as the director in 2002, the Katy Cowgirls were practicing once a year before their one performance at the Katy Rodeo. Now they have around 52 practices and 5-8 performances a year (including parades.) They also do 3-4 community events. Events include performing/competing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which they do every other year.
Katy Rodeo is what everyone looks forward to. “It’s in front of their peers and their time to shine,” says Mancini. It’s that show that Katy knows the Katy Cowgirls for their performance and they compete in junior barrel racing.
Faith Mancini is the only rider to win barrel racing 2 years in a row. She’s been riding with the Katy Cowgirls since she was 8 years old. Her first drill was just after her first horse passed away and she rode her grandmother’s big horse.
The Katy Cowgirls also work the Special Rodeo before the Katy Rodeo. “You’ve never seen a grown man cry like the Katy Cowgirl dads when you see a special needs child on a horse,” says Mancini.
“I love making others happy and seeing them smile when we perform,” says Kylee Wingfield
Watch Them Ride
After 22 years of leading the Katy Cowgirls she had planned to retire but a pandemic had other plans.
“I was going to retire this year but along came COVID,” says Anita Mancini. “I wasn’t able to train the new directors.”
The Katy Cowgirls are so much more than a show group. During the pandemic was a perfect time to show their service.
“We did this amazing pony parade at the nursing home,” says Mancini. “They altered the girls in a beautiful way seeing the elderly faces through the windows.”
Their annual cookie bake sale has grown in popularity over the years as they bake chocolate chip cookies from their own secret recipe. They pick a charity each year and split the profits from the bake sale. Then they spend a day with that charity. Last year they raised $4,800 for Stuff the Sleigh.
Becoming a Non-Profit
This year the Katy Cowgirls became a non-profit. “I know I’m leaving and by making the Cowgirls a non-profit it allows me to preserve the girls and protect what we’ve creating. They will have the ability to grow,” says Mancini, who will continue to serve the group from the board.
Working as a Team The Katy Cowgirls accept girls in the Katy ISD area of all skill levels, which Mancini says distinguishes the group from other team sports. ““We are a learning and teaching team,” explains Mancini. “They can be an alternate as long as they can walk, trot, and almost lope.”
But Katy Cowgirls must be more than equestrian athletes.
“We require our members to be good stewards and servants in the Katy community in addition to being good teammates,” says Mancini. “When you add in the responsibility of an animal, a living and breathing creature, it creates a responsible human being.”
They are a team and a family. The Katy Cowgirls combines a passion for a shared interest with service. For nearly 80 years they have served the Katy community.
“I like the friends I have made and seeing the kids faces light up when they see us ride and touch the horses during prayer,” says Georgia Eisner.
“I love gaining confidence in myself as a rider and a person,” says Katie Head.