Frankie Louise Stoker

Gerlach Brothers Road Ranch & Store

Frankie Louise Stoker was born to Frank E. and Wilma Stoker, on the Stoker Ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1929. In 1931, the Stoker family moved to Overland Park , Kansas . The three Stoker children's interest in trick riding and roping was sparked by the Tom Mix Circus performance in Kansas City, Missouri their grandfather took them to see.

After seeing the circus performance, J.W. knew trick riding and roping was the career for him. With the help of Frankie, they worked odd jobs, ten to twelve cents an hour, to save money for their first trick saddle which cost $37.50 new. Frankie's brother J.W. began his career as a trick rider and roper at the tender age of ten. He was hired in the spring of 1939, and so was the entire family, by Miller Rodeo to perform in summer rodeos.

Frankie and her younger sister, Bessie Mae, practiced their trick riding on a daily basis and by July joined their brother's act. Frankie was eight when she performed in her first rodeo and with the help of J.W. could do a one-foot stand, a Roman stand, a fender drag, and a Cossack drag. The Stoker children performed in their first indoor arena in Chicago when Frankie was ten years of age.

During school, the Stoker performers would get their school assignments from their teachers before they left with the rodeo. Often, tutors traveled with them. Frankie's mother Wilma made all her performance costumes. The Stokers traveled across the United States performing in Wild West shows and rodeos.

The Stoker act was put on hold after J.W. joined the military service in the fall 1950. J.W. was discharged from the service in 1952 and he and Frankie resumed their act in 1953 for a few years. While J.W. was in the service, Frankie worked for a furrier in Kansas City .

Frankie married Clayton Hill, also a rodeo star in his own right, on August 31, 1949 and Frankie retired from performing in the mid-1950's. They moved to Canadian in April of 1957 and raised their five children, Karen, J.C., Donald, Ronnie, and Wallace. She served as the Hemphill County Justice of the Peace from 1979 until her retirement in 2002.