Cowboy Long Rider
Born on a farm near Moffit, Burleigh County, in 1908, Marie Cordner graduated from Bismarck High in 1926. In 1938, she married Jim Tyler in Poplar, Mont., and they began married life operating tourist cabins at the foot of Bismarck’s Memorial Bridge. Later, they ran Bismarck’s Finney Drug Store and owned and operated a gift and interior design shop.
In 1946, they bought the Ward Ranch along River Road. After a four-year restoration process, they renamed their spread the JJ Bar Ranch. It was the perfect place to raise Herefords and show the Quarter horses they had purchased at the King Ranch in Texas. They returned to Texas and Oklahoma in 1954, shopping for cattle and purchasing brood stock from the president of the Phillips Oil Company, along with one bull from the King Ranch, creating the first herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle in North Dakota.
Tyler was an excellent horsewoman and after winning almost every trophy offered in North Dakota, she became the only North Dakotan–and first woman–to win the Western Pleasure Stake Riding Competition at the 1957 Minnesota State Fair.
Tyler then began a volunteer project promoting beef in America. She was involved with many livestock organizations on both the state and national level, including being elected as the first female chairman of the National Livestock Meat Board in Chicago. In 1985, she was selected as the first woman to receive the prestigious Golden Spur Award from the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas. In 1976, she was also the first woman elected as ‘Man of the Year’ into NDSU’s Saddle and Sirloin Club’s Hall of Fame.
Tyler was president of the American National Cowbelles, the auxiliary of the Stockmen’s Association, in 1963 and president of the North Dakota Cowbelles. She coordinated the National Beef Cook-Off held in Bismarck in 1983. Tyler encouraged young women to develop equestrian skills and directed the Miss Rodeo North Dakota pageant for several years and, as State Director, assisted with the 1960 Miss Rodeo America Pageant. She has been inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Tylers moved into Bismarck shortly before Jim died in 1976. She continued at a busy pace, traveling abroad, entertaining and enjoying her grandchildren born to her daughter, Peggy. Tyler died on February 1, 2002.