Ree Drummond is having more than a great year; she’s having a great life. That said, 2009 was extra special because she did something she’s never done before. Though she’s entertained millions on her Confessions of Pioneer Woman blog and the Web page that followed with her wit, wisdom, photography and recipes, she’s never been a published author. Until now. Drummond’s "The Pioneer Woman Cooks” was the darling of Amazon.com, and her 20-plus city book tour routinely drew throngs of dedicated fans and lines that kept her giving autographs into the wee hours of the night. As of last week, the book was No. 3 on The New York Times best-sellers list for hardcover advice books; it also spent time in the No. 1 slot. Meanwhile, her Web site, www.thepioneerwoman.com, continues to draw tens of thousands of people daily to read about this Bartlesville native’s life on her family’s historic ranch near Pawhuska.
Meet five remarkable women from Oklahoma. Whether they’re entertaining millions, serving their communities or sharing their knowledge, they’re using their gifts to inspire others. The Oklahoman’s Features Department narrowed finalists for the you! section’s Woman of the Year to five extraordinary women. A panel of staffers from The Oklahoman chose our winner, Dawn Welch, owner of the Rock Cafe in Stroud. Each of these women had a standout year in 2009. — Lillie-Beth Brinkman