Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Dean, Bernice  Search this
Dean, Frank  Search this
Physical Description:
leather (overall material)
metal (overall material)
brass (overall material)
felt (overall material)
rope (overall material)
overall: 28 1/2 in; 72.39 cm
Object Name:
Date made:
ca 1946
Description (Brief):
Woman's white leather trick riding saddle with red and green trim used by Bernice Dean, well known and accomplished "Wild West" rodeo and trick rider. Long thin pommel and double "handle" at back. Frank Dean handmade this trick saddle for his wife after he could not find a saddle maker without a two year backlog. He had made saddles previously but never a trick saddle. The cut-outs were his design as he knew Bernice loved flowers.
Frank and Bernice Dean toured the rodeo circuit for 45 years beginning in the 1930s. They performed all over the world in wild west shows, rodeos, motion pictures, circuses, vaudeville and night clubs until Bernice's death in 1980 and Frank's passing in 1985. They were featured in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and were both Guinness World Record holders. According to Frank, Bernice was "the most versatile of all the Cowgirls." She was proficient at shooting, rope spinning, trick riding, whip popping, horse training and showing, juggling and balancing on a rolling globe, knife throwing, roman riding, bronc riding and relay riding.
Rodeo  Search this
Professional  Search this
Sports  Search this
Women  Search this
Credit Line:
Frank Dean
ID Number:
Accession number:
Catalog number:
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Data Source:
National Museum of American History