The settlers of the unexplored wilderness that was Texas in the early 1800’s, found challenges that necessitated combining male and female strength and resourcefulness. Social mores were a luxury the early pioneers could not afford. In the pioneer families that made the courageous move to Texas from more settled locations, women did what was necessary to house, feed and protect their families. “Beginning thus in the generation of pioneers, these women displayed intrepidity begotten of the perils in which they lived – perils that made martyrs of some, heroines of all….” [Prominent Women of Texas, Elizabeth Brooks, 1896]
Here at the Bryan Museum an annual award is bestowed upon an individual whose roots are in the American West and whose achievements reflect the courage, resolve, and pioneer spirit exhibited by a woman during the “Runaway Scrape” in 1836. The story of this woman is a part of Bryan family lore. Emily Austin Bryan and her family, also fleeing Santa Anna’s army, came upon a wagon, deeply mired in mud, containing a woman and her two daughters. This woman refused to give up, even after many futile attempts to free the wheels of the wagon. She cracked her whip and called out the names of her oxen to pull as hard as they could. “Rise up Buck and Ball and do your best!” They heard their mistress’ commanding voice and pulled the wagon free of the mud.
This year’s recipient of the Buck ‘n Ball award is Amy Adams Strunk, who is also a fearless, resourceful Texas woman. This University of Texas graduate has endeared herself to the people of Nashville and all of Tennessee through, among many other things, her successful revival of the Tennessee Titans football team. Even though there is a sisterhood of NFL owners, it requires strength, ingenuity, business acumen, and a sense of conviction to command respect in what is still a largely male dominated sport. Her influence does not stop there, however, she has contributed generously to many worthy causes, including aid to victims of floods in Texas and tornadoes in Nashville. She is a difference-maker, a trailblazer, and someone who exemplifies the pioneer spirit, venturing into uncharted territory to claim it as her own.