The Winchester Widows were founded in 1987, as a small
group of parade riders who portrayed characters from the Wild West.
Not necessarily widows themselves, but displaying a common theme
of the 1800's as most women survived their hus-bands, the popular-ity
of the group grew. The club has been in existance for over twenty
years. It now consists of women from all walks of life, both on
horseback and ground support.
Currently the group rides in approximately six-teen parades a year
all over Southern California including four appearances in the Rose
Parade. In an effort to represent the West as it really was, these
women ride in authentic outfits with no “modern amenities”.
They carry Winchester rifles, "the gun that won the west"
because the characters they represent would have learned to fend
for themselves in a tough region where there were more grave-markers
than occupants. These ladies ride out of history with costumes reminiscent
of the late 1800’s. They represent strong characters of American
history who have loved and lost and learned to get along without.
The black they wear is a badge of courage and the rifles they carry
are a symbol of strength. It is with pride they celebrate today
the independence of women and the nostalgia of the Wild West.
The Winchester Widows are from San Diego County and have been riding
in parades in Southern California for over 20 years. The Widows
ride horses of many breeds and colors. You will see them mounted
on Peruvian Pasos, Palominos, Quarter Horses,
Tennessee Walkers,Fresians and a Mustang. There
is even an 1800's styleMeadowbrook cart that leads the group,
pulled by a flashy Appaloosa. In 1991, the Widows decided to adopt
a philanthropy and to become active in supporting a cause.
The Widows help support the Challenge
Ranch – a non profit riding program for underprivileged
and disadvantaged youths in San Diego. They help support this
charity with proceeds from benefits and skits they perform. Other
fund raisers such as chili cook offs, jail and bails, cotillions,
and lending “atmo-sphere” to various functions have been added
to help fiscally support this important charity.
The Winchester Widows remind us today of the strength, cour-ageous
independence and sheer grit of women who contributed to the settling
of the West and the growth of our nation.