While women in a number of countries in North and South America and in places like Australia and New Zealand compete in rodeos, the competition or display of lassoing, bronco-riding, calf-roping, and steer-wrangling is most closely associated with the United States and the American West. Male riders, called cowboys, and female riders, called cowgirls, compete in the rodeo, but cowgirls are not just relegated to this world. The term cowgirl encompasses women in the rodeo, wild west shows, commercial portrayals, women of the frontier, and pioneering women in the more general sense.

Cowgirls are associated primarily with the rodeo, and that is where female riders first received their name. Supposedly, President Theodore Roosevelt bestowed the cowgirl name on Lucille Mulhall, one of the best-known rodeo ...

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