WILLCOX — Cowgirls from a variety of western states, including Texas and Arizona, competed May 8 in the third and final weekend of the Iron Cowgirl rodeo competition presented by Rex Allen Days.

Cindy Welling was the overall winner for all three weekend installments of the Iron Cowgirl competition.

According to the organizer for the event, Dennis William, his cousin, Cindy Little, bested overall runner-up Welling’s time for all five events on Saturday by one-nine-hundredth of a second to become the overall winner for the day, earning her the title of Iron Cowgirl.

“Wasn’t well attended by spectators,” William said. “I was really disappointed by that. We ended up picking up a lot of the cost. We have to restructure somehow.

“The contestants loved it. This event is possibly the only of it’s kind in the western United States for women. They have to compete in five different events. One grandmother competed.

“Probably the youngest woman out there was in her late 20s. This thing is structured and put together for the mature woman. It’s not structured for the kids.”

Becky Dees horse won the Iron Horse award for endurance throughout Saturday’s competition.

In one of the more surprising awards of the day, Kristin Lawson, who didn’t place first through fourth in any events, received the Hard Luck award for being a hard-working competitor throughout the day. The award was presented to her by twin sisters from Kingman, Fran Murdock and Wren Bodine.

Lawson, a Willcox local and previous Iron Cowgirl competitor, shared her thoughts on being surprised with the award.

“It felt good to get recognized,” Lawson said. “I tried my hardest. The competition is always pretty good. They’re all pretty hard competitors.

“I know they were planning on doing the Calcutta Sunday, but there really wasn’t enough (fans in attendance.) The competition is about the same.”

Jack Weaver, former Willcox police chief, longtime Willcox resident and longtime Iron Cowgirl volunteer, was recognized by his son, Evan, for Weaver’s years of service to the rodeo competition. Evan presented Weaver with the volunteer buckle.

The horse judge for all three installments of the competition, Lyndra Lydy, provided some thoughts on the rodeo competition.

“Dennis has got an awesome idea as far as the competition is concerned,” Lydy said. “I was just disappointed that more townspeople didn’t attend. They are tough, beautiful, talented women. People shouldn’t have missed out on that.

“I train and sell horses for a living. I’m a team roper and have been familiar with horses my whole life.

“The competition is always fierce. It’s always an incredible thing when locals are competing.

“I’m about how the horse is working. I’m a true horse woman.”