You’ve probably seen her. Walking around in a long skirt, colorful cowboy hat and sparkly cowgirl boots, with a beaming smile on her face. Jeanne Tirpak is 100-years-old and still kicking. She has lived in Wickenburg for many years, and brings a smile to everyone she meets.
Tirpak moved to Wickenburg because her husband, a prospector, was ill and wanted to spend his last few years in a small mining town.
Living in a small town is nothing new to Tirpak, as she was born on the small island of Monhegan, Maine. She loves the supportive community in Wickenburg and the business owners that have become some of her closest friends.
“I’m amazed at the people,” said Tirpak. “Every Sunday I got to Cowboy Church and then I go to McDonald’s and then I end up at Chaparral. That’s small town.”
Tirpak has many wonderful memories from living in Wickenburg, one of them being the annual Gold Rush Days parade.
“Oh man, there’s so many memories,” smiled Tirpak. “The one thing I remember the most is the Gold Rush Days parade.”
Up until a few years ago, Tirpak walked in the parade, proudly showing off her Southwestern style with her energy and independence. She was given the honor of Grand Marshal in the 2012 Gold Rush Days parade, and it is something Tirpak will never forget.
“I was Grand Marshal!” said Tirpak. “That honored me. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Tirpak is very involved in community activism and creating a western atmosphere everywhere she goes. She has always loved to dress up, and encourages others to do the same, by showing off the real spirit of Wickenburg. Community members will drop off their unused and unworn western apparel at her doorstep, so she can continue to dress to the nines in real cowgirl fashion.
“I ask people to dress southwestern,” said Tirpak. “And help Wickenburg live up to its name.”
Throughout her 100 years of adventures, Tirpak has learned a few life lessons that she takes with her wherever she goes. She knows the importance of church, faith and happiness.
“Believe in people even though they might hurt you. Go to church. Just be happy,” said Tirpak.
The town of Wickenburg will have a free birthday celebration for Jeanne on Saturday, July 15 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Wickenburg Community Center. There will be a bbq, cash bar, karaoke, and a live band, as well as a raffle.