- The rodeo tradition developed as a means of testing a cowboy’s speed, skill, strength, and courage.
- Rodeo comes from the Spanish word for round up, and the first recorded English mention appeared in 1834.
- Spanish Americans held annual rodeos for their vaqueros to gather cattle for movement, branding, breeding, selling, or slaughter.
- After the American Civil War the rodeo became a spectator sport, with a paying audience and professional prizes.
- Between 1890-1910, they combined with various Wild West Shows and drew a huge popular interest.
- “Prairie Rose” Henderson was the first woman to compete in the Cheyenne Rodeo of 1901.
- Women riders began making frequent appearances until two of them died in the ring – Bonnie McCarrol (1929), and Marie Gibson (1933).
- After these tragic accidents the male ring was considered too dangerous for female competitors, so they began organizing their own rodeos.
- Today, however, women are part of the national circuit. They still compete in their own female events, but are also involved in several mixed-sex competitions. Yee haw!