I first met Cora at the Western Music Association Awards and Festival where I was serving as an official photographer in 2007 when she was just approaching six years old. There was a crowd in the lobby of the host hotel and when I made it to the center to see who was singing, there was this little gal with a guitar as big as she was belting out a western song. When she stopped singing and the crowd moved away I introduced myself to Cora and her Mom, Laurie, and asked if I could make a portrait of her. I knew she would be more animated if I let her sing, so asked her to sing me a song she made up herself about her pony. She cocked her head, took a deep breath and lit right into a song…eyes on mine, she sang some of the cutest lyrics about how much she loves her pony(made up on the spot, by the way). She punctuated the end of the song with an exclamation point of the brightest smile. The photograph here is of that exclamation point. I’ve since come to know Cora and Laurie and count them as friends and have learned to brace myself when I see my Cora-kins at gatherings as when she sees me she runs to me and jumps up into my arms and wraps those cowgirl legs around my waist.
This year at a gathering in Sierra Vista, Cora was the only one brave enough to come outside on a cold, blustery day so I could photograph her by the blooming trees. Although her hat kept blowing off and she had to chase it, we persevered and created this wonderful portrait of her (complimented by the buckle she won in barrel racing competition). When she was ready to release her first CD, I had the cover image ready. I’m honored that the Wood family chose me to provide the photography and CD design for Cora’s Cowgirl Yodel. Cora has a big voice tucked into a little gal, and she has been tutored by Janet McBride (who tutored a young LeAnn Rimes and also the grand-children of the Von Trapp family). I encourage you to give Cora’s CD a spin. Cora’s Cowgirl Yodel , which includes seven songs and three poems, is available for $13 postpaid from: Wood Western Music, c/o Laurie Wood, HC 63 Box 18C, Saratoga, WY 82331. Read some of Cora’s poems and more about her here on the cowboypoetry.com website and visit her web site, www.woodwesternmusic.com, Cora’s Page, which includes audio and video clips.