I love that we’re seeing more and more women participating in sports traditionally dominated by men. And I’m happy that rodeo has become one of those sports. Yes, you say, women have long competed in barrel racing. But did you know in the early days of rodeo, 1850s to 1900s, women competed against men in all rodeo events, including rough stock?
Eventually, they got pushed out (grrrr), and in 1948 the Girls Rodeo Association was formed with the intent of advancing women in professional rodeo. The Girls Rodeo Association later became know by its current name, the Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association. Yay! Go girls. Um, I mean women.
While women still don’t compete against men in today’s professional rodeos, they do have their own rodeos and are no longer restricted to just barrel racing. Breakaway roping and team roping have become sanctioned events, and women from all over the world compete on local and National levels. Pretty impressive. I’ve tried roping and couldn’t even get the rope to land correctly on a stationary practice dummy. Can’t imagine succeeding while chasing a live calf on a fast moving horse.
There are also some brave and talented women who compete in non-sanctioned events such as tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and bronc riding. Picture yourself climbing onto the back of a two-thousand pound bull and letting him toss you around like a bean bag. Nope. I can’t, either. Even with all the safety equipment. Talk about dangerous. But I admire the women who are paving the way for future generations.
I especially like that these rodeo events are open to ages thirteen and up, giving opportunity to young women they didn’t have just a short time ago and opening doors for future generations. Who knows what women in rodeo will look like twenty years from now, or even ten?
At the 2020 Inaugural Women’s World Rodeo Championship last November in Las Vegas, four women became the first in history to claim the title of Women’s Rodeo World Champion (besides barrel racing, breakaway roping, and team roping, a title was also given for heading and heeling).This is an amazing step forward, and I hope more events will be added in the future.
I haven’t yet put a professional woman rodeo athlete in one of my books. Thinking maybe I should. And one of these days I’ll travel to Las Vegas to attend the rodeo. I read somewhere that CBS will be airing the final rounds for this year’s 2021 Women’s World Rodeo Championship on Sunday, October 31st. I’m marking my calendar 🙂