story by Siri Stevens John Thurston and Tiffany( Miller) Thurston grew up competing in rodeo -John did everything but steer wrestle and ride bulls. “I […]
Back When they Bucked with Peggy Fifer
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Peggy (Green) Fifer was born in the small town of Meeker, Okla., where she was raised with two sisters by a single mother. She had just turned 14, when her mother died of cancer, leaving her and her two sisters in foster care for eight months. “My grandmother came and raised us in a house that we were able to purchase with insurance money,” said Peggy, who lives in Eufaula, Okla., 45 miles from her childhood home.
She met her first horse when she was four and a photographer came by with a Shetland pony to take pictures of the girls. Her horse experiences ended for several years, until she met and married a rodeo man. After graduating high school, Peggy went to business school in Tulsa, Okla., where she first met Earl Fifer. “He was real cute and had a good sense of humor,” she recalled. “I kinda fell for him.” They married and Peggy got her first introduction into the rodeo world. “On weekends they would have a rodeo at the city park. Earl would go over there and ride horses and bulls and listen to Jim Shoulders give ideas on how to ride,” she said. Peggy and Earl had two daughters, Wauthena and Earlene. “Wauthena would rather take dancing lessons than rodeo, so she stayed with her grandmother most of the time. Earlene started riding horses at the age of two. In July of every year, we would go to Pawhuska to the International Calvacade Rodeo. In 1967, Earlene competed in the queen contest and won. Wauthena rode in all girl rodeos when she was in high school. She rode Bareback Horses and bulls. She placed with her horses but that lasted one year. Earlene started the all girl rodeos too and after one bull, decided that wasn’t for her, so she continued to stay with training horses and running barrels. She ran barrels for about 5 years after graduation from high school. Earl started rodeoing more and Peggy would go with him, sometimes waiting until the wee hours of morning for him to compete.
Peggy got tired of waiting, so she volunteered to help out and that was her start as a rodeo secretary. “We would go to rodeos where we had to set up pens and the announcer stand was a flat bed truck. I would make a bed below that and put the girls there so I didn’t have to worry about them. Later, Earl was placing consistently so we traveled more and I would fry two chickens, butter a loaf of bread, make a chocolate cake, buy a bag of chips and away we would go to meet whoever was competing that night where we would have pot luck and visit before the rodeo. Lots of times it was before you had to call in, they just entered when they wanted to.”
Full story available in the January 2015 issue.