North Dakota champion barrel racer Maude (Kirk) Gullickson was born on this date in 1911 in Washburn. Maude was the youngest daughter of Grant and Maude Kirk. She started riding horse as a toddler and rode nearly every day of her life until she was 73 years old. Maude trained and rode barrel-racing horses for most of her life, winning both the North Dakota State Cloverleaf title and the first North Dakota Rodeo Association State Champion Barrel Racer Title in 1955.
She married Orville Gullickson in 1935 in Sanger, and they had two sons. The couple farmed and ranched northeast Oliver County near Center for 40 years. Maude was an integral part of the operation, assisting with cattle drives and brandings, and she made sure her sons and grandchildren learned to ride.
Maude competed in dozens of rodeos throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and into Canada every summer from the 1950s through the ‘70s. She was an honorary member of the North Dakota Rodeo, Roughrider and National Old Timers associations.
Maude continued to compete in Old Timers events until age 70 and was named “Old Timers Rodeo Queen” in 1982. A year later, she traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, and Amarillo, Texas, to participate in the National Old Timers Finals.
Maude volunteered her time and expertise to 4-H clubs, assisting and teaching girls who entered horse shows and attended horse camps. Several of the horses she raised went on to win championships, including Dakota Red Sands, winner of the Pennsylvania Rodeo Association barrel-racing championship. She was inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in June 2011.
She loved reminiscing about the early days of rodeo when the prizes were trophies, ribbons and belt buckles, not cash. She once said, “I’ve won enough buckles to make a whole belt.”
Maude died on September 13, 2005, in New Salem.
Dakota Datebook written by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.
ND Cowboy Hall of Fame Cowboy Chronicle – June 2011
Obituary – Mandan News – September 15, 2005
Biography on NDCHF website