Growing up in Tonganoxie, Kansas, on her family’s cow-calf operation, Courtenay DeHoff spent her days riding. Whether it was sorting cattle or high school rodeoing, she was raised to be a cowgirl. “My parents and my entire ranching family constantly instilled qualities such as integrity, humility, and morality in me,” she explains. “These qualities helped me excel in a career outside of the Western community.”
She continued her education at Oklahoma State University while competing on the rodeo team in Barrel Racing, Goat Tying, and Breakaway Roping. She fully utilized her Agriculture Communication degree while she pursued broadcast television. “My relationship with the Western industry is quite unique in that I grew up in it, only to run away from it before eventually falling right back in,” she says.
After having large success in screenplays and hard news broadcasts, she found herself missing a part of her past. When she pitched a news story to her company and was denied, she decided to launch the story on her own. “Wildfires had ravaged ranches across Kansas and Oklahoma. As a cowgirl, the story was news-worthy to me, so I told it on my own. With over 1.5 million views in one night, I realized that telling cowboy and cowgirl stories might be my real calling,” she recalls.
She decided to utilize her social media accounts to talk Western news in the industry. “My following grew and companies began reaching out asking me to speak at their events,” she says. In October 2021, she delivered the keynote address to 65,000 inside Lucas Oil Stadium at the National FFA Convention.
First and foremost, she’s a television host. Working as an independent contractor, she is able to expand her assets and cover everything Western related. She has been a host for the Professional Bull Riding and American Quarter Horse Association. “I now host a variety of things for various Western sports groups. I also do a ton of mainstream commercial and hosting work as well.”
But that’s not all! Courtenay is also a full time speaker. She says, “I take as many speaking gigs as I can because I love sharing my story with people around the world.”
After feeling torn away from the Western lifestyle when she went into media out of college, she felt ostracized by her Western industry friends when she returned from her network career. “I had spent so many years trying to fit into the world of television and feel accepted there,” she explains. “Then when I finally got courageous enough to start owning my cowgirl background, I was told I didn’t belong in the Western community anymore either.”
That feeling of alienation lead her to create #FancyLadyCowgirl. After not fitting into either molds, Courtenay decided to break the mold and create her own image for the women in the Western industry. “Fancy Lady Cowgirl is for women who were born into the lifestyle and women who have no connection to it other than their love for it.”
“Everyone in the world should idolize cowgirls. Cowgirls living cornerstones of America’s concept of itself”Courtenay DeHoff
The storytelling continued to new platforms when she made “Cowgirl Problems”, a podcast that she offers to the public. “[The podcast] is my way of letting amazing Fancy Lady Cowgirls and Cowboys who are upholding traditions of the West in unique ways share their stories,” says DeHoff.
Looking back at 2021, Courtenay is reminiscent on her first Fancy Lady Cowgirl event. “The event at Hotel Drover in Fort Worth was a total highlight. 75 women from across the country came together for a weekend full of empowerment, mentorship, and community, Fancy Lady Cowgirl style. It was life changing on so many levels and I plan to host round two in 2022.”
But, she’s invested in the industry more ways than one. “I became part owner of a bucking bull in 2020 – he went on to win the Yearling World title in the ABBI,” she says. Courtenay has had extensive experience in the bucking bull industry off-camera. She has even competed in the first-ever women-only bull event hosted by Sara and Cord McCoy. “Hookin’ W let me flank their great bull Nigel and I won money!”