Maude (Kirk) Gullickson was born in Washburn in 1911 and started riding as a toddler. She rode nearly every day until she was 73 years old.
Gullickson trained and rode barrel horses and competed in dozens of rodeos throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and into Canada every summer from the 1950s through the ‘70s. She won the North Dakota State Cloverleaf title and the first NDRA State Champion Barrel Racer Title in 1955.
She continued to compete in Old Timers rodeo events until age 70 and was named Old Timers Rodeo Queen in 1982. A year later, she traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, and Amarillo, Texas, to participate in the National Old Timers Finals.
She married Orville Gullickson in 1935, and they farmed and ranched northeast of Center for 40 years. An integral part of the operation, she assisted with cattle drives and brandings, along with all the housework and child rearing.
Gullickson made sure her sons and grandchildren learned to ride the Quarter horses raised on their ranch, and they also excelled in various rodeo events. She volunteered her time and expertise to 4-H clubs, assisting and teaching girls who entered horse shows and attended horse camp.
Several of the horses she raised went on to win championships in events as far away as Pennsylvania, including Dakota Red Sands that won the Pennsylvania Rodeo Association barrel-racing championship.
Gullickson loved reminiscing about the early days of rodeo when the prizes were trophies, ribbons and belt buckles, not cold cash. She once said, “I’ve won enough buckles to make a whole belt.”
She was an honorary member of the North Dakota Rodeo, Rough-rider Rodeo and National Old Timers Rodeo associations. Oliver County’s premiere cowgirl died in 2005.