This yodeling singer was born Geraldine Nikell, but fans knew this native
Chicagoan as Cherokee Jeri. She also had another distinction - she was
a member of a Women's pro basketball team in the National Professional
Basketball League - The Texas Cowgirls. Her personal appearances took
her to the US and Canada and also South America.
She sang, yodeled and played the guitar. She was said to specialize in
songs of both the old and modern West.
Legendary athlete Jim Thorpe recommended she become a part of the Texas Cowgirls
when he saw her on a show called "Stars of Tomorrow" over WGN-TV in Chicago. Jim
contacted Dempster Ifanland, the team's coach and manager.
She won the TV Forecast Award of Merit. She also earned the title
of "World's Champion Yodeler". She was said to be handy with a six-shooter
and enjoyed the outdoors. A 1954 article described her as a "glamazon".
She had written several tunes by then, but none were mentioned and was hopeful
to sign a recording contract. Around this time, she was said to be making various
'films' for use on television.
The 1954 article mentions she was residing in Knox, Indiana.
Credits & Sources
- Cowboy Songs; No. 31; January-February 1954; American
Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT