Mildred Farris — Rodeo Royalty

Farris with one of her barrel horses. (Photo courtesy of the Farris family)

By Judy Wade

“The prettiest picture was when Mildred carried the American Flag and Clem McSpadden read the Cowboy Prayer at the National Finals in Oklahoma City,” said Donna McSpadden, wife of the late Clem McSpadden, long-time rodeo announcer at the National Finals Rodeo, in a tribute to Mildred Farris. “She always wore her white suit with a rhinestone vest that sparkled in the spotlight.”
Farris carried the flag in the opening ceremonies of the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City for 17 years and one time at the NFR in Las Vegas in 1997 for the opening of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Mildred Lois Cotten was born in Andrews, Texas, in 1933, the daughter of W.B. and Blanch Cotten, feeding cattle from a jeep and working on the ranch alongside the cowboys. She attended Andrews High School, graduating in 1951. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, in 1955 where she was a member of the rodeo team. She met John Farris at the Texas Cowboy Reunion Rodeo in Stamford, Texas, and the two were married in May of 1955.

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Mildred Farris presenting the flag at the NFR. (Photo by Springer)
The Farrises at their induction to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of the Farris family.)