Some people ride quietly through life and others grab the reins and charge ahead with rare vigor, spreading joy to all they pass. Cowgirl and Alisal family member, Audrey Griffin was one of those life-at-full-gallop folks. Two days before her recent passing, at age 83, she was doing what she loved, demonstrating her rare roping abilities and wrangling smiles from guests during the Alisal Wednesday Rodeo show. For over a decade Audrey participated in the team roping and occasionally flashed her riding skills in the barrel races.
According to Alisal Head Wrangler and long time friend, Meghan Taylor, Griffin was a true inspiration. “Even on the busiest days when others around might be feeling the stress, Audrey radiated joy, life and love.”
Audrey grew up in Southern California and for almost three decades called the Santa Ynez Valley her home. She started riding horses at age 11 and learned how to drive a team of horses by the time she was 13. At a young age she would hitch a wagon to a couple of horses and take neighborhood kids on wagon rides. By 1956, she went on the road with a Roman-riding jumping act called The Flying Valkyries. Roman riding is when you stand on two horses and jump jumps. Audrey traveled all around the country, performing in rodeos and horse shows.
Over the years she found time to always keep riding, and would often help local ranchers round-up their herds. In 2008 her riding and jumping exploits and dedication to the cowgirl lifestyle earned her an induction into the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
When she wasn’t riding, she enjoyed spending time with friends, her five daughters and being a grandma. She had 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
No doubt she had a big family and she treated anyone she crossed paths with like they were part of that family. So with smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes, all of us at the Alisal tip our hats to our friend Audrey Griffin. She will always ride with us in our hearts.