M.C. “Dutch” Powell, 89, who raised and trained horses for much of her life, died Aug. 7, 2013, at 1:10 a.m.
She was born on the Castle Rock Ranch north of Wolf Point on July 24, 1924, the daughter of Lillie Paulson and Thomas Simenson. She started breaking horses on the ranch and began riding bulls and bareback horses and competing on a bulldogging team at age 16.
She was the first of 12 young women to join the Girls Rodeo Association and traveled to rodeos with actors Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson. She later worked for the Harris Cattle Co. and, during World War II, she worked repairing damaged ships in the shipyards in Bremerton, Wash., for a work force called “Rosie and the Riveters.”
She then worked as a card dealer in Las Vegas dealing blackjack. She returned to Montana and bought the 7-9 Ranch near Wolf Creek from Gary Cooper, who returned to use the ranch as a retreat. After she sold the ranch, she started training thoroughbred race horses at tracks from the Midwest to the West Coast and Canada.
She married Buck Powell in New Mexico and took a break from the racing world to help care for her father in Wolf Point. There she waited tables at the truck stop and tended bar at Butz’s Bar.
After the death of her father, she went back to training horses. Toward the end of her career, she worked for a decade as morning outrider at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., coming back to Montana during the summer. After she no longer went to Arizona, she and her son lived on a small ranch outside of Helena.
She continued working as an out rider in the Montana circuit and was put in the Western Horseman for her superior horsemanship. She retired and spent her final years in Shepherd.
Survivors include a son, Scott Powell; daughter, Terri Desmond; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.