Terry Earp to re-live ranching woman's life
The gritty character of ranching women comes to life this Saturday in "Lark: A Cowboy Woman's Ride," a one-person play performed by its writer, Terry Earp, at the Sharlot Hall Museum.
"Lark" came about when Terry heard of a cowboy woman who had traveled from Arizona to Alaska and Guatemala. Her story sounded so intriguing that Terry wanted to record her. That led to a
collection of more women's stories and her 2004 documentary, "We Killed Our Own Snakes."
Terry's husband Wyatt, a descendant of Wyatt Earp, said that when a woman was asked what she did when she encountered snakes, she said, "We just killed our own snakes. We don't wait for men," all the while miming women's reaction by pulling a fictional gun from her holster, shooting the snake, spinning the gun on her finger, blowing the smoke coming from barrel and replacing it in its holster.
Terry will depict this in "Lark," who is a composite of the women in her documentary. "I took the best of all their stories," she said of this collection.
"They herded cattle, rode the line, trained horses and mules and flew airplanes," Wyatt said. "And, oh, by the way, they raised families. They were hardy, rugged individualists."
These ranching women are "funny and very wise," Terry said. "I was surprised by how well educated they are. When I interviewed them, they were all surrounded by books." They weren't just herding cattle, she said. "They were reading books, playing the piano, painting - they were well-rounded women."
Over 29 years, Terry has written, published and produced 36 plays. Her work is important, Terry said, "because it's for the next generation to understand all we've been about for so long."
"Lark" will also give her views on ranch life and how it has changed and what she and her friends are doing to preserve their part of western history.
The one-hour play begins at 4 p.m. at the museum, 415 W. Gurley St. Tickets are $10 for members in advance, $13 for non-members in advance and $15 at the door. Call the museum at 445-3122 to reserve tickets.