Cowgirl convoy hits the 'Boat

Quirky trailer-trotting caravan club on way to Wyoming

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Maurrie Sussman, founder of the Sisters on the Fly vintage camper group, rests against her own trailer in Steamboat Springs on Thursday afternoon. The caravan was passing through town on its way to a Sisters cattle drive event in Kaycee, Wyo.

— Don't let their numbered names fool you.

Although the 751 members of "Sisters on the Fly" prefer to go by their ordered number of when they joined the organization, they are far from a fringe religious cult or clandestine agency out of a James Bond film. It's simply a group of ladies looking to have some fun.

Just ask No. 1, otherwise known as "Maurrie Sussman." She started the group in 1999 when she wanted to hit the road for some summer time fly-fishing trips with her sister.

Since then, Sussman has recruited adventure-seeking road warriors from across the nation who want to join the group caravans of uniquely-decorated camping trailers.

"It's everybody, from doctors and lawyers, to truck drivers and restaurant workers," said Mary Jo Strauss, the only known Steamboat Springs sister.

Strauss, a.k.a. No. 6, found her vintage 1956 Shasta trailer in a dusty field outside of Saratoga, Wyo. She transformed it into a cowgirl-themed cruiser and uses it to host cocktail parties and to help display her business, Rodeo Cosmetics, at events like Art in the Park.

But on Thursday evening, Strauss was busy circling trailers at her property west of Steamboat with six others as part of a "Cowgirl Caravan" heading through town to a Sisters cattle drive event in Kaycee, Wyo. Strauss hopes to bring one of the monthly Sisters events to Steamboat Springs in the future or to rally the vintage trailer crowd for a local event.

"We give women a chance to get out and do things they wouldn't normally do in a safe environment," said Sussman, whose group was featured on the Today Show last year.

The only rules? "No husbands, no dogs, no kids," Sussman said.

For members like Peggy Burns, No. 229, who drove up from Fort Collins to join the caravan for a night, half the fun is the trailer decoration.

"Maybe I'll write 'SPAM' down the side here to make it look like a can," Burns joked.

For more information on the group whose motto is, "making girls out of women," visit www.sistersonthefly.com.

- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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