Lady Trick and Fancy Rider
Exhibition Bronc Rider
Calf and Steer Roper
Born in Switzerland in 1919, Emma Burge emigrated with her family in 1928 to a ranch in California. There began her love of horses, and by age 17, she had commenced competing in local rodeos. She learned trick riding from Trixie McCormick and saddle-bronc riding from Rex Gaunt, and she performed for several years with the Rowell Ranch Rodeo out of Hayward..
During the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Burge performed and competed around the far West, including the major venues at Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Pendleton. In 1939 Emma placed third in a steer-roping contest against male contenders, and in 1942 she captured cowgirl bronc-riding honors at Ogden, Utah, leaving second place to the celebrated Alice Greenough. At just five feet tall and weighing but 98 pounds, rodeo hands called her “Pee Wee,” but all readily admitted that Emma had the daring, aggressive spirit of an arena champion.
An early distaff member of the Cowboys Turtle Association (CTA), Burge hung up her rodeo spurs in 1946 at the Pendleton Roundup. She married Joe Ott, a rancher from California’s San Joaquin Valley, and devoted the next 30 years to family and a nursing career. Emma “Pee Wee” Burge passed from the arena in 2011.