#Throwback Thursday: Girl power, the cowgirl way of Wyoming

The word "rodeo" comes from the Spanish word rodear (to surround). It conjures up images of cowboys, cattle, horses, dirt, blood, guts, and stands packed with cheering spectators. Rodeo has come a long way from its western roots in the 1860s and 1870s roundup camps when the annual roundup and branding of cattle encouraged informal contests among the working cowboys. We all know the famous cowboys like Lane Frost, the North Dakota Six Pack, Trevor Brazile, Bill Linderman and Wyoming's own Kanin Asay, but what do you know about the cowgirls? [image: download.jpg] *Kanin Asay PRCA photo* Cowgirls played a major role in the winning of the Old West. Cowgirls roped cattle, busted broncs, appeared in Wild West shows and were featured performers in early rodeos. They became icons of the American West through a variety of advertising illustrations and were featured stars in the early Western silent movies. Will Rogers dubbed Lucille Mulhall of Oklahoma, America's first cowgirl. A plucky young horsewoman, Mulhall debuted at a St. Louis County Fair in 1899. She was the first of many female stars to sail through the arena into the limelight, charming audiences across the world with skill and finesse. [image: Lucille_Mulhall_cph.3c26135.jpg] *Lucille Mullhall Wikipedia Photo* Most of these young women grew up on family ranches at the turn of the century, then, drawn to adventure, followed the rodeo road. In the arena, they challenged men in roping and bucking contests. By 1920, during a Golden Age for the cowgirl, audiences thrilled to see women clad in colorful costumes and wide-brimmed hats roping steer, riding bucking broncs, competing in relay races and roman riding, and performing death-defying tricks on horseback. Initially, cowgirls wore split skirts. Most of these were made of leather and often heavily fringed. Embroidered shirts or fringed jackets and vests completed the ensemble. Eventually cowgirls started sewing elastic into the skirt hems, creating bloomers, which were safer and more practical. Trick riders often wore sneakers or rubber-soled tennis shoes instead of boots. Almost all the cowgirls wore silk scarves around their necks, silk and fringed sashes, wide-brimmed hats, beaded gauntlets, and fancy, stitched boots. [image: mccarroll1.jpg] *Bonnie McCarroll taking a nasty spill at the Pendleton Round-Up while wearing a split skirt design.* These days rodeo cowgirls compete mostly in barrel racing where contestants on horseback run a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels set in a triangle in the arena. The quickest time determines the winner, with five second penalties assessed for each tipped barrel. The majority of the barrel racing events are held in conjunction with Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events. Contestants are ranked nationally, based on how much money they earned in competition. The top fifteen contestants at the end of the rodeo season are invited to compete at the National Finals Rodeo, held in December each year in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are also rodeos exclusively for women. These All Women's rodeos feature five events - breakaway calf roping, tie-down calf roping, team roping, bareback riding and bull riding - in addition to the barrel race. Contestants count points earned in competition to qualify for the Women's National Finals Rodeo. [image: 0.jpg] *Cody Cowgirls Grace Lambert, Bernice Lambert, Lydia Klein, & Genevieve Nau. This picture was probably taken in the early 19-teens when the four girls were all attending high school in Cody.* #reboot #news