Arlene Kensinger

Arlene Janette Brown Kensinger, 89, went to be with her Lord on March 25.

She was born June 18, 1930, in Newberg, Ore., to S. Paul and Bernice Brown.

She graduated in 1948 from Hawk Springs. She attended beauty school in Cheyenne, and was a cosmetologist and makeup artist for more than 35 years.

Arlene married Don Kensinger in June 1960. They worked together with the rodeo lifestyle, working for Verne Elliott, Harry Knight, the Buetler Brothers, Mike Cervie, Billie Minnick, and Harry and Karen Vold. Every winter for 20 years, they went water skiing in Acapulco, Mexico. Arlene became an expert water skier, holding the record of the women’s slalom course, tricks pyramids, one-leg stand, surfing, everything. Movies were made with this ski group in the background. Later, she enjoyed dancing and swimming at Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Don passed away Oct. 15, 1997, after more than 60 years of volunteering for Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. This was a more severe loss than the loss of her leg. He was a true legend in the rodeo world!

Arlene organized a Quadrille Team and performed for 10 years, including at the Wild West Show and Rodeo at the World’s Fair in 1958 in Brussels, Belgium.

In 1970, Arlene was the founder and director of the Dandies at the “Daddy of ’em All” for 29 years. She taught them the lesson she learned from her father, Paul Brown, a school superintendent: “Discipline, Love and Fun,” which has guided her her entire life.

She started and served as State Queen Chaperone and Schedule Coordinator for Cheyenne Frontier Days, spanning 18 years, growing from three to more than 30 national and state queens.

She had a freak boating accident Sept. 20, 1994, at Lake Havasu City and lost her leg at the hip. Within minutes of death, she received 23 pints of blood in a 24-hour period and was then flown to Phoenix, Ariz., to their trauma center.

God still had plans for her to accomplish, so two months later, she went to Las Vegas, Nev., to escort and chapter Miss Rodeo America Queen Michele Greene – the little girl she had judged when she won the National Little Britches Pageant at 10 years old.

She also attended Amputee Coalition of America conventions with encouraging words to use prostheses, keep going and not indulge in self-pity.

After experiencing firsthand the need for life-saving blood donors, Arlene and her husband, Don, organized a fund to build a United Blood Service building in Cheyenne, which was named in her honor.

Arlene served on the Miss Rodeo Wyoming Board for 10 years, as state delegate and president.

A Miss Rodeo America volunteer since 1979, she was one of the first two women elected to the Executive Board, serving about 12 years. She started the Miss Rodeo America Scholarship Foundation, and authored six books on the 50-year history of Miss Rodeo America.

Arlene has been inducted into the following Hall of Fames: Tad Lucas Award in the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995 in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Cowgirls of the West Museum in 2000 in Cheyenne; First Class of Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame in 2002 in Cheyenne; National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas; Miss Rodeo America Hall of Fame in 2004 in Las Vegas; and was honored by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in 2009.

Arlene has said, “These are truly a highlight and humbling events in my life, but the greatest reward is to have helped train 600 young women, showing them the value of a positive attitude and encourage them to pursue our western way of life.”

Arlene believed that a positive attitude is our most important asset in life, and we are the only one that has control of it! “A bad attitude is the worst handicap one can have!”

This has truly been a legacy of pride, grit and stamina to leave behind which cannot be surpassed.

She is survived by her sister, Alice Brown Theobald (Lance) of Pine Bluffs; brother-in-law, Roland Marlatt of Torrington; stepdaughter, Donna Kensinger; step-grandchildren, Robert, Randy and Lesa; six step-great-grandchildren; cousins, nephews and nieces; and all of her rodeo family.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Don (in 1997); and one sister, Pauline Marlatt (in 2002).

Friends can donate to the Old West Museum Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 2720, Cheyenne, WY 82001; the Arlene Kensinger Regional Blood Center, 112 E. 8th Ave., Cheyenne, WY 82001; or the charity of their choice.

Private family services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday. To view the live webcast of the service or to view her obituary, visit

This is a paid obituary.

comments powered by Disqus