First Licensed Woman Jockey
April 19, 1921 — June 12, 2006
“God forbid I should go to any heaven where there are no horses.”
MONTROSE — Anna Lee Aldred died Monday night, June 12, 2006, at the Valley Manor Care Center in Montrose at the age of 85.
Anna Lee Mills was born in Montrose, Colo., on April 19, 1921, the daughter of Tom P. and Dottie (Marlow) Mills. Anna was born at her parents’ home in Montrose, Colo., with her aunt helping as midwife.
Anna’s parents raised horses. She began riding in races at the age of 13 and was a fierce competitor, winning the respect of the fellow jockeys. When Anna was older she went back to trick riding and rodeo.
In 1950, she married Wayne Aldred in Raton, N.M. Their union was blessed with two children: Walt and Labell. Labell died in 1978 at the age of 14.
Since Anna’s brother, Hank, was a jockey, the family traveled all over the United States following his career. Anna received her education in various towns as they traveled all the time. When she became the first licensed woman jockey in 1939, she continued to travel all across the U.S.
Anna was a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in Denver. As America’s first licensed female jockey, it might be said she grew up on the back of a horse. She helped her husband, Wayne, run cattle in the mountains and spent her summers riding and winter back at home. She sometimes worked as a bank teller at Montrose National and other times stepped behind the bar at Herb Jagger’s place.
Anna greatly enjoyed seeing all the people. She loved raising her children. She also enjoyed dancing, traveling, fishing, watching sports - especially football and baseball. She also loved watching horse racing on TV. Anna was a fun, feisty, loving lady who was quite a character. She had a quick wit, was outgoing and always made a friend wherever she went. Anna loved talking to people and had a contagious sense of humor. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Surviving family survivors who were honored to share Anna’s life include one son, Walt Aldred and wife Stacy, of Castro Valley, Calif.; five grandchildren: Joe, Josh, Amanda, Kayla and Kyle; numerous nieces and nephews; and her former husband, Wayne Aldred, of Canon City, Colo.
Anna was preceded in death by her parents; a daughter, Labell Aldred; two sisters: Rose Gilmore and Hazel Trickel; and two brothers: Hank Mills and George Mills.
A memorial service in loving remembrance and to celebrate Anna’s life will be officiated at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at the Montrose Valley Funeral Home Chapel in Montrose. The service will conclude at the chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Valley Manor Care Center, Activities Department, In Memory of Anna Aldred, 1401 S. Cascade, Montrose, CO 81401.
Arrangements are being handled under the direction of Montrose Valley Funeral Home, 505 S. Second St., in Montrose, (970) 249-4400.