Brigadettes Enjoy 75 Years of Happy Trails

President Amy
Barbara Worth Brigadette President Amy Bengali speaks to the horsewomen and their guests at the Imperial Valley Pioneer Museum Friday night.


The Barbara Worth Brigadettes celebrated their 75th birthday in style Friday night, and apropos to the occasion — at the Pioneer Museum. Old and new members along with friends and supporters came to the steak dinner to reminisce and delight in their continued ability to attract new horsewomen to the venerable club.


Barbara worth Brigadette’s was founded in 1940 by a group of 13 women, led by the first president, Anne Zenos.  The club was created to promote the collective love of horses and riding.


“I think that the Brigadette’s have been around so long because women continue to have a love for horses and riding. Plus, it is wonderful to develop and maintain friendships with other women who have similar interests,” said current president, Amy Binggeli.


The group is unique in many ways; older clubs lose their drive, or their purpose and fade into history, not so the Brigadettes. According to Binggeli, they continue to grow their membership.


One reason for the club’s popularity is the monthly trail rides. A different member picks a new trail, or an old favorite, then the group caravans their horse trailers to the desert, or mountains, and even to the last vestige of the west – the Pacific Ocean. The adventure usually involves good food, great company, and many stories.


They also don their traditional black and white western outfits to ride in local and out of county parades. Once a year in January they host a gymkhana at KD Danch Arena with more food, more horses, and great prizes.


History is infused through out the club, even in their clubhouse, the old Rose School House. The schoolhouse became too expensive to maintain, so they decided to donate the historical building to the Pioneers Museum and turn over maintenance to them. They still meet at the Old Rose School, just in their new location.


The move showed how resourceful and persevering the horsewomen could be. The three-mile move, with the 1923 building carefully placed on a trailer, took 2 ½ days, broke the tractor-trailers bearing within 200 feet of the start of the journey, they traveled north before turning back south, found out the IID didn’t take down low hanging power lines as promised, and plowed down stop signs (and put them back up) to take the Old Rose School House to its new, permanent home.


So old timers and recent inductees celebrated their anniversary in their best western garb, exchanging stories, comparing experiences, dreaming of their next riding adventure.

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