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Digital surrogates of items from this collection are available in the Portal to Texas History. The UNT Special Collections department houses an oral history with Ruth Roach, OH 87, in their holdings. Please contact the UNT Special Collections department for further information.
Additional information may be found at https://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/RSRS/
Ruth Scantlin grew up in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, where she started riding her uncle's Shetland Ponies at about the age of three. She taught herself to do trick horse riding during her childhood, for fun. After completing the eighth grade, Ruth, who was a scant 5'2" tall, left home and travelled to Oklahoma to join the Miller's 101 Ranch rodeo in 1914, as a trick rider. Prior to the start of the show season, she married bronc rider, Bryan Roach, and became Ruth Roach. She was known as Ruth Roach throughout her rodeo career.
Ruth and Bryan Roach traveled with the 101 Ranch show on a 1914 European tour, where they performed in France, England, Ireland, and Belgium. During the tour, however, World War I broke out, the show was cancelled, all of the rodeo horses were confiscated by the British for their war effort, and the performers returned to the United States.
Ruth continued to perform in rodeo shows all over the U.S. in such places as New York City, Boston, Pendleton, Cheyenne, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis. She joined the Hagenback-Wallace Circus for a time and began to ride bucking horses in addition to trick riding, making her bronc riding debut at the 1917 Fort Worth rodeo. She performed in Madison Square Garden, in New York City, every season from 1916 to 1934.
Ruth and Bryan Roach took a second trip to Europe with the John "Tex" Austin rodeo in 1924. After this second rodeo tour of Europe was finished, a man named Tommy Kirnan formed a group, including Ruth and Bryan, which continued to perform in London and Paris for several months. They appeared on stage at the London Palladium and gave a command performance for the British royal family. During their stay in London, the group was given special permission to ride on the royal bridle path, sometimes in the company of the King.
By 1936, Ruth and Bryan Roach had divorced and she was working for W. D. Johnson in a rodeo show at the Texas State Fair. During her time performing at the Fair, she met a Texas rancher named Fred (Dick) Salmon, who owned 2,000 acres near Nocona, in Montague County. After a two-year courtship, Ruth married Dick and became a rancher's wife, a role she enjoyed for the rest of her life. She died in 1986, at the age of ninety.
Ruth Scantlin Roach Salmon is an inductee in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame (1989) and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (1989). She is the winner of several titles, including World's Champion All Around Cowgirl, World's Champion Trick Rider, and World's Champion Girl Bronc Rider. In addition to these titles, she was also acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful cowgirls and her pictures were featured on calendars and rodeo placards all over the country.
Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.
This collection is not restricted.
This collection is stored at the Willis Library and is available for same day paging.
Material is arranged by series.
The papers of Ruth Scantlin Roach Salmon detail Salmon's life as a rodeo cowgirl, and highlight her twenty-four year career as a trick rider and a bronco buster during the 1920s and 1930s. Material consists of 343 black and white photographs taken during Salmon's rodeo days which focus on the various venues her performances took place in, her many friends who were also rodeo performers, and action shots snapped during her rodeo performances; as well as nine folders of written materials. The photographs record the various venues in which she performed and her many friends in rodeo. Some are action shots taken by a professional photographer during rodeo performances. A select number of un-copyrighted black and white photographs from this collection are available for viewing on the Portal to Texas History.
Within this folder are 4 letters; one to Clarence and Nora from Bryan Roach, another to Miss Roach from Grace and Mother, the third to Mrs. Roach from Roger Jacquart, and the last one to Bryan Roach from Leonard Stroud.
Contains a Christmas and New Year greeting card that comes with a photograph; its’ signature is illegible. Also included are two slips of paper with photocopies of business cards.
Contains a single orange sheet of stationary for the “World’s Championship Rodeo in Chicago Stadium as presented by Col. W. T. Johnson.
Richard Himmel took these photograph photocopies to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in an effort to get identification for the individuals featured within each of the actual photographs. Since the UNT Special Collections has the original photographs with identification, some of these photocopies, the ones without notes, have been deaccessioned.
Photographs from this folder were separated in 08/23/94 and are now stated as being located in Sink Matte Box 1989.
While this folder no longer holds photographs, it does contain two photograph descriptions, two empty photograph portfolios, and two separation sheets.
Black and white, 6X6 negatives of images in this collection.
NOTE: This box contains materials from the Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection, C.R. Fowler Hardware Company Records, the Denton Association for a Liberal Press, and the Oral History Association Records. The box is housed in the Special Collections Department in the Willis Library and it is shelved in the flat storage (oversize) collection under the Oral History Association with a Collection Number of HM.12.
NOTE: This box contains the Ruth Roach Salmon Collection, the Enid Justin - Nocona Boot Company Collection, the William Fritz Humphreys Papers and the Alvin Mansfield Owsley Collection. This box is shelved under the Collection Number for the Enid Justin Collection, which is BA.15.