Sydna Yokley Woodyard

Gerlach Brothers Road Ranch & Store

Sydna Yokley Woodyard was posthumously honored as a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame on May 14, 1977. Sydna Yokley was born January 17, 1922 to Jess and Mae Ross Yokley and was raised on the Yokley's ranch outside Canadian, Texas. Sydna was truly a woman of western heritage. Her horse and roping skills can be traced back to her natural way of life and learning on her family's ranch.

As a young schoolgirl Sydna won national acclaim for her riding and roping abilities. She began performing in rodeos across the country at age ten. She appeared every year at the Anvil Park Rodeo located outside Canadian on the Studer Ranch. In the 1940's and 50's, she became a national rodeo figure especially noted for her activities and achievements as a top-flight calf roper and trick rider on her trick horse, Sonny Boy. Miss Yokley's twenty-eight day performance in Madison Square Garden, New York and two-week performance at Boston Gardens in the fall of 1939 prompted Life Magazine to publish two full pages of action pictures of her performances in the arena. Sydna was also featured in the American Magazine. At one time she was one of only a very few women calf ropers in the world and her fastest official time was eighteen seconds.

Sydna and James Henry Woodyard married on May 7, 1941 and had two children, James Jr., and Sharon. Sydna helped form the American Quarter Horse Association and became a breeder of registered quarter horses in North Hollywood, California and in the mid-1950's, Sydna and James began operating a motel together. On July 25 th , 1959 Sydna Yokley Woodyard was traveling with her nine year old daughter, Sharon, and her favorite mare from California to her home town of Canadian. She was traveling to Canadian to breed her mare at her father's ranch. She stopped at Winslow, Arizona to check on her horse and was tragically killed when her horse panicked, tossed his head knocking Sydna unconscious and trampled her to death in the horse trailer. After suffering several injuries and remaining unconscious for two weeks at the hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, Sydna passed away on August 8, 1959 at the age of thirty-seven. Sydna is buried in the Edith Ford Memorial Cemetery in Canadian, Texas. Several years prior to her death, Sydna was rated top billing as roper and rider and was billed as “America's typical ranch girl”.