The Madera County Cattlewomen’s Association has announced that Barbara Spillane of Coarsegold has been named “Cowbelle of the Year” for 2012. Nominated and elected by past honorees, the award recognizes an individual who has supported the cattle industry of Madera County.
Spillane was born in Santa Barbara in 1925. Her family moved to Red’s Meadows, in the Sierras, when she was just a youngster because of her father’s work as a forest ranger.
She has a great love of horses and rode from an early age. Spillane met her husband, Jack, while working for the Bigelows (from O’Neals). Jack would ride into Red’s Meadows for supplies. They married in 1945. Barbara and Jack (deceased now) had one son, John.
They moved to Raymond in 1951 and lived there until 1986, when they moved to Coarse-gold. Spillane helped her husband with the ranch, branding, doctoring sick calves, moving cattle and cooking for roundup crews. After her son was born, she also found time to make it to 4-H, Cub Scouts and school functions...