NORMA TRUAN SHOULDERS
JULY 4, 1924 - APRIL 11, 2000
Norma Truan Shoulders, 75 year old Vinita, Oklahoma resident, passed away Tuesday, April 11, 2000, at Craig General Hospital.
A firecracker from the start, Norma was born on July 4, 1924, in Henryetta, Oklahoma to R.T. Red and Leova Holmes. She grew up in Henryetta, as her father owned the Chevrolet dealership there for 51 years. Petite with red hair, Norma has been a familiar resident of in her adopted hometown of Vinita since 1985. Many knew her as a church secretary and organist in Vinita churches or as a faithful volunteer constantly working for the local Humane Society and several other volunteer jobs.
However, many dont realize that Norma, a woman of many talents, is a legend in rodeo history. She was a champion rodeo performer, a trick rider, and by the time she was 17, was performing at the top rodeos in the nation. She started at the small local rodeos around Henryetta and had moved up to the larger shows when Bob Wills saw her at Ada and asked her to perform at the Tulsa Stampede at the age of 14. Two years later, she joined the Flying A Rodeo, owned by Gene Autry. Norma was one of four women riders selected to appear in the 52 performance run of Autrys rodeo in the nations most famous sports arena New Yorks Madison Square Garden.
While riding Rojo her sorrel, stocking-legged Quarter Horse at neck breaking speed, Norma would do the double vault, splits to the neck, high croupers, reverse croupers, cartwheels, tail stands, and shoulder stands. She was the only female to ever do a backward somersault off the back of her horse into a drag and then the scissors back into the saddle, which is something the male trick riders could seldom do. Since Norma's style of trick riding was so different from other women in the profession, she always stood out. She was once featured on the cover of Who's Who In American Championship Rodeo, and in the late 40's and early 50's post cards with her picture were sold nationwide.
Norma performed at the bigger rodeos across the country such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, San Francisco, and she showed her trick riding ability several times at the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo in Vinita. After a twenty year career of being one of the nation's top trick riders, in recent years Norma kept in touch with Vinitas rodeo by helping behind the scenes preparing hot dogs, selling programs, and judging the horses in the rodeo parade.
She was a member of the original Cowboy Turtles Association (# 1235); a lifetime Gold Card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (# 2682); and a nominee for the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Raymond Holmes; and first husband, Fritz Truan, former All Around World Champion and Prorodeo Hall of Fame inductee, who died in World War II at Iwo Jima.
Survivors include: two sons, Tony Shoulders and wife Cindy of Vinita, Oklahoma; and Mike Shoulders of Garden City, Kansas; and ex-husband Marvin Shoulders of Afton, Oklahoma (older brother of 16 time World Champion Jim Shoulders).
Norma lived her life to the fullest. She was a born again Christian, and ready to meet her Lord and Savior.