All-Around Champion Cowgirl, 1928-1930
Born Barbara Barnes in 1902, Tad Lucas was raised around Cody, Nebraska, and started racing horses in her youth. She entered her first rodeo in 1917 (taking first in steer riding) and within a few years was a rising star among female performers.
A racer, trick rider, and rough stock contestant, Tad Lucas was among the colorful cowgirls who performed at the 1924 Tex Austin Rodeo in London. In 1930 she won permanent possession of the coveted Metro Goldwyn Mayer Trophy for three successive victories as All-Around Champion Cowgirl at the great Madison Square Garden rodeo. In 1940 Lucas joined the U.S. Rodeo Team, competing in the Royal Easter Show at Sidney, Australia.
With husband Buck, Tad Lucas produced rodeos for several years and rodeoed in some capacity for four decades. Until her death in 1990, she lived in Fort Worth, Texas, not far from daughter Mitzi Riley, herself once a trick rider. In 1989 the Tad Lucas Memorial Award was inaugurated in her honor.