The Catalena Cowgirls are a part of the Sammy Catalena Rodeo Company, which has existed since 1975. In 1990, Sammy Catalena decided to add flash, color and pageantry to his rodeo productions, particularly for the National Anthem Salute.
Over the next 2 years, Sammy Catalena collected a number of paint horses and recruited a team of women that would travel to all of his rodeo productions. They developed complex performances under the direction of Pete Catalena and by 1995 the Cowgirls had become a well-known sensation in the state of Texas. Not only did other rodeo producers begin taking notice and extended invitations for the Cowgirls to perform at their rodeos but so did major event promoters who wanted the Cowgirls to make their events come alive.
The Catalena Cowgirls have appeared at the biggest rodeos across Texas, including the Texas Circuit Finals, the Southwestern Exposition and Ft. Worth Livestock Show, and the Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo. From 1996 until 2004, they opened every Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, averaging 20 consecutive performances in Houston each year and totaling 180 performances at the richest regular season rodeo in the world. And when the Sammy Catalena Rodeo Company put on a Wild West Show on the islands of Aruba and Curacao, the Catalena Cowgirls were there.
Other events include performances for the World Championship Bull Riding Series, the 2001 Olympic Torch Ceremony, and the World Energy Conference. The state of Illinois has invited the Cowgirls to several events including the International Exposition. They were so impressed with the team that Sangamon County proclaimed April 18th as Catalena Cowgirl Day.
And it’s not just the Cowgirls who are requested for these events. The well-known paint horses the Cowgirls have trained are used around the state for special events on their own such as the APHA-sponsored Wild West show at Six Flags Over Texas each summer.
The Catalena Cowgirls have set the standard for rodeo entertainment. They are well-known in most equine circles. While they originated along the lines of a traditional Drill Team, over time the performances became more complex and the venues more diverse, making the Catalena Cowgirls truly unique. They have appeared on the covers of the American Quarter Horse Journal, Texas Horse Talk magazine and numerous newspapers across the country including the Houston Chronicle. They have been featured in the American Paint Horse Journal, Western Horseman, Cowboy Sports and Entertainment, the Debra Duncan Show and Good Morning America.