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2010 Western & English July/August
2010 Western & English July/August
Pat Dahnke Nominated to Cowgirl Hall of Fame

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame spokesperson Lauren Williams has announced that Patricia Sue Dahnke, owner/designer of Designs by Pat, is a 2010 nominee to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Dahnke, a signature designer of the modern cowgirl look who discovered her gift for fashion design in the '60's has turned her gift into a career in which she has been self-employed for more than four decades.

Among her many awards, Dahnke was named Texas Natural Fiber Designer of the Year for years 2001-2003, was the guest designer for the Grand Opening of the Dallas World Trade Center Western Fashions in 2004 and was one of the guest designers for the Black Tie & Boots Ball in Washington, D.C., on January 5, 2005.

She has spent tireless years devoted to supporting cancer research after losing a son to neuroblastoma and currently produces her Designs by Pat couture in a factory on her Rainbow's End Ranch in Waller, Texas. "My fashions are all about making women feel beautiful," says Dahnke. "I have always found a refuge in fashion, and believe that creating outer beauty can bring out amplify inner beauty."

Dahnke tackles the hands-on work of running her ranch operation with the same zeal with which she designs her fashion - restoring the lake, building horse pens, mending fencings, feeding the 40-some horses, fixing broken pipes, you-name it.

"Whatever it takes, I've learned to do it myself," says Dahnke, who has also rebuilt and restored a cherry-red Model T that she sometimes drives to church or just around the ranch.

Running a business and running a ranch have not kept the dauntless Dahnke out of the saddle. She still finds time to ride regularly, and is in the process of training a new saddle horse. She has been an every-year participant on the Salt Grass Trail Ride for 23 years and as also ridden in the first Pony Express reenactment, in which riders carried the mail from Houston to Fort Worth, all to benefit autistic children.

The 2010 inductees to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame will be selected from among this year's nominees in October 2010. -Susan L. Ebert