Saddle Bronc Rider
Born in 1883 at Cleveland, Ohio, Bertha Kaepernik grew up on a Colorado ranch and began riding at age five. Often contesting on an equal basis with men, she pioneered women’s competition and came to be called “the most famous woman rider in rodeo.”
Bertha Kaepernik entered rodeo at Cheyenne in 1904. As a bronc rider and Roman racer (standing astraddle on a pair of horses) she had few peers. During four decades she won numerous bucking horse championships (three times at Pendleton between 1911 and 1914) as well as performing with the Pawnee Bill and 101 Ranch Wild West Shows. Following active competition, she became a rodeo pickup rider.
In 1909 Bertha married Dell Blancett, a rodeo bulldogger, and served often as his arena “hazer.” Widowed during World War I, she competed alone until retiring in 1919. She worked as a guide in Yosemite National Park for several years, and occasionally served in California rodeos as a “pickup man.” Bertha Blancett died in California in 1979 at age 96.