Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Marie Tyler


On this date in 1908, Joseph and Estelle Cordner were busy celebrating the birth of their daughter Marie just two days before. Born on the family farm near Moffit, Marie later moved to Bismarck, graduating from Bismarck High School in 1926. In 1938, she married James Tyler in Poplar, Montana.

Marie and James operated tourist cabins at the foot of the Missouri River’s Memorial Bridge and ran Bismarck’s Finney Drug Store until 1963. In 1946, the Tylers bought the Ward Ranch along River Road, renaming it the JJ Bar Ranch. It was the perfect place to raise Herefords and show their Quarter horses.

The Tylers went to Texas and Oklahoma in 1954, shopping for cattle and purchasing brood stock, including one bull, creating the first herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle in North Dakota.

Marie was an excellent horsewoman and became the only North Dakotan, and the first woman, to win the Western Pleasure Stake Riding Competition at the 1957 Minnesota State Fair.

Marie’s involvement with many state and national livestock organizations culminated in 1985 when she was selected as the first woman to receive the prestigious Golden Spur Award from the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas.

She directed the Miss Rodeo North Dakota contest from 1958 to 1964 and the Miss Rodeo America Pageant in 1960. She also served as president of the North Dakota CowBelles from 1963 to 1964 and president of the American National CowBelles from 1964 to 1965.

In 1976, Marie was the first woman inducted into North Dakota State University’s Saddle and Sirloin Hall of Fame as the “Man of the Year.” She was also inducted into the Northern International Livestock Exposition Hall of Fame of Billings, Montana, in 1979. Marie was the chair of the National Live Stock and Meat Board, Chicago, Illinois. She coordinated the National Beef Cook-off in Bismarck in 1983.

Marie received the National Golden Spur Award in 1985 and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in 1987. In 2002, she was inducted into the North Dakota Agricultural Hall of Fame, Valley City, and the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Medora, in June 2011. Her list of awards and achievements is certainly impressive.

The Tylers moved into Bismarck shortly before Jim died in 1976. Marie continued a busy pace of traveling, entertaining and enjoying time with her family until she died on February 1, 2002.

Dakota Datebook written by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.


ND Cowboy Hall of Fame Cowboy Chronicle – June 2011

Bismarck Tribune – obituary – February 4, 2002