Back When They Bucked with Dallas Hunt George

by Ruth Nicolaus

Because of her grandfather, Dallas Hunt George began a lifelong love of horses, rodeo and rodeo queening.
Born in Lincoln, Neb. in 1938, the now-Arizona resident served as the first Miss Rodeo Nebraska in 1956 and then as the 1957 Miss Rodeo America, at age eighteen.
But eight years prior, she could be found crying as she walked back to the family farm, after having been thrown off her half-Shetland/half-Tennessee Walker pony.
Her great-grandfather owned the first livery stable in Lincoln, and his son, Guy Hunt, her “Gramp,” loved horses.
When she showed an interest at age three, they became inseparable, “attached at the hip,” she remembers.
He would take her to horse sales over the weekend, and he’d bring home a horse. She rode for him, everything from Arabs to Tennessee Walkers to horses off the track. And when he got her the pony, he told her when she learned to ride it, he’d get her a better horse.
He did. At age sixteen, she got an “upgrade” to the quarter horse Wyoming Badger, a son of the AQHA Hall of Fame horse Grey Badger II. Dallas showed Badger at the American Royal and Denver’s National Western Stock Show, earning an AQHA championship in 1958.
She also competed in high school and regional rodeos, barrel racing and pole bending, and in 1955, was crowned Miss Burwell (Neb.) Rodeo, the Nebraska High School Rodeo Queen and the National High School Rodeo Queen.
The next year, 1956, she was to go back to Harrison, Neb., as the reigning state high school and national high school queen, but Gramp had a different idea.
He and Dallas went to Burwell, Neb., for the first ever Miss Rodeo Nebraska pageant, which she won.
Gramp had even bigger plans for his horse-crazy granddaughter. There was to be a fledgling Miss Rodeo America pageant in Chicago, with cowgirls qualifying by winning their district. (This was the days prior to the present MRA organization.) Cowgirls didn’t have to be state queens to run; but they had to win their district contest to advance. Dallas’ district pageant was held at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, which she won.
Ak-Sar-Ben’s district contest was similar in some ways to today’s pageant, but had its differences. It still involved horsemanship, personality and appearance, but it included a barrel racing component. Cowgirls rode their own horse for the first round of barrels, then drew from the other candidates’ horses for the second round.
Dallas took Badger, who was 15.3 hands and “drop dead gorgeous,” but he could be a handful. “You had to ride him correctly or he might decide to dump you off,” she remembered.
Badger’s “naughty” side came out; another queen drew him for the barrel race and he misbehaved.
She also remembers, from the Miss Rodeo America contest in Chicago, a paint horse who had been snake bitten on his lower lip, which gave him a funny look. The first cowgirl who drew him for the barrels couldn’t get the sour horse away from the others. That night, Dallas told her Gramp her luck would be that she’d draw the paint the next day, and she did. But he behaved better for her. “He was perfect for me,” she said.
She won the 1957 Miss Rodeo America title, and was put to work right away, heading to Denver for the Stock Show, where she also had the chance to run barrels as a Girls Rodeo Association member.
She remembers traveling about 100,000 miles that year, making appearances at Denver, Helldorado Days in Las Vegas, the Lions Rodeo in Pomona, Calif., a three-week series in West Yellowstone, Belle Fourche, S.D., the Diamond Spur Rodeo in Spokane, the Iowa State and Kentucky State Fairs, and more.
Gramp got a new nickname as he chaperoned Dallas that year: the Eye. He kept an eye on Dallas and the other rodeo queens. “I was only eighteen,” Dallas said. “There was no way he was going to let those cowboys get to me,” she laughed.
Dallas turned over her crown at the Cow Palace, where her best friend and fellow Nebraskan Lolly Cameron Klug competed. Lolly finished in the top five for the Miss Rodeo America title; the pageant was just one adventure the two women would share over their lifetimes.
Dallas’ rodeo queening was over; she had graduated from Lincoln (Neb.) High School in 1956 and had put in three semesters at the University of Nebraska.
Then she became a flight attendant for United, but only for a year, because in 1959, she married, and in those days, flight attendants couldn’t be married.
After her marriage failed, Dallas, who lived in Scottsdale with her two children, went back to college in the early 1970s. She became a veterinary technician, and married one of the veterinarians, Larry George, in the office where she worked. They married in 1974.
During her first marriage and as a single mother, there was no time or money for horses or rodeo.
But when Gramp passed, he left her money in his will to buy a horse and a trailer and start back up, and she did just that. She bought a thoroughbred mare and did dressage and jumping. Then she got two quarter horses, Cactus Moon Star, “BJ,” and TJ Plum Classy, “Classy,” a little roan mare with white socks. She worked with Cynthia Canterbury and her husband, Red, and went to the AQHA World Show, qualifying for the Amateur Trail and Open Trail and finishing eleventh in the world at Amateur Trail.
Dallas also had a gray mare, Zippers Tight Jeans, “Gracy,” who she raised and with whom she won an Open Superior Trail Award in the AQHA. On Gracy, she qualified in 2003 and 2004 for the Select World Trail in Trail.
Her fourth horse, Pleasure on Impulse, “Promise,” earned Register of Merit in western pleasure, trail, showmanship and performance halter, finishing in the top fifteen at the 2010 Select World in performance halter. Promise also carried Dallas’ granddaughters to many championships.
She’s retired from the show pen, “because judges look at eighty-year-old ladies differently than fifty-year-old ladies,” she quipped.
On the thirtieth anniversary of her crowning as Miss Rodeo America, at the insistence of her friend, Lolly, Dallas attended the convention in Las Vegas.
The women were put to work as volunteers with the MRA “store,” selling programs, memorabilia, and event tickets. Every year, from 1987 through 2021, she and Lolly ran the store. As time went on, it grew to include Wrangler clothing and products. “We went from three tables (of merchandise) to racks,” Dallas remembers. They decorated the store, and in the past few years, began selling roses for the pageant contestants.
The store was a way to meet lots of people: parents and family members of contestants, and fellow volunteers. “We were there every day,” she remembers. “I loved it. I got to meet everybody, the parents, the grandparents. It wasn’t a job, it was a labor of love.”
Dallas and Lolly were a good team. At the MRA convention, they roomed together and worked together. “Every night, we’d go to our room and do our spreadsheet, spread out our books, and make our deposit,” she remembered. “We’d laugh and have fun.” Dallas said Lolly was the “brilliant” one, and she was the go-fer.
The two women, friends since their youth, are “attached at the hip,” Dallas said. “They laugh at us and call us the Bobbsey twins.”
Dallas volunteered with the Miss Rodeo Arizona pageant for years, was a member of the association and served as president. She’s a lifetime member of the Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association and the American Quarter Horse Association. She and Lolly have both judged state queen contests, from California to Missouri, and from Florida to Washington.
Last year, after the women’s 65 years of service with the Miss Rodeo America organization, Dallas and Lolly were recognized during the coronation ceremony on December 5. “They treated us like queens,” Dallas said, “for the whole week. They turned the two of us out to pasture in grand fashion.” The women got a standing ovation for their years of service.
She and Larry blended their families: her son, Burr (Janiece) Shields and daughter, Cathy (Michael) Cushing, and Larry’s daughters, Cyndi (Drew) Callahan and Debbie (Roger) Benson. She has eight grandchildren: girls Ashlie, Mandie, Jynsen, Kyndra, Cory, Sarah and Maddie, and a boy, MJ. Jynsen, Kyndra and Cory showed horses with their “Grammy,” riding her horses, with Jynsen and Kyndra winning a combined nine buckles showing Promise. She has two great-grandchildren, a boy, Brody, and a girl, Savannah.
Her husband, Larry, passed away in October of 2020.
Lolly loves her best friend. “She’s a chip off the old block, from her granddad,” she said. “She’s just truthful and wholesome. What you see is what you get when you talk to Dallas. She’s the most precious person there is in the world today.”
Dallas loves her MRA family as much as she loves her non-rodeo family. “The nucleus of that organization genuinely cares about each other,” she said. “I don’t know how else to say it, but rodeo is a family.”
Rodeo exemplifies the Christian life, of which Dallas is a believer. “I love the Lord, and that’s one thing I love about rodeo, too, the prayers beforehand, the national anthem.
“I’ve been very blessed.”
Dallas is a 2014 inductee in the Miss Rodeo America Hall of Fame; Lolly was inducted in 2015.

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