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They've earned standing ovations at Madison Square Garden, defeated men in head-to-head competition, and sometimes earned more money than their male counterparts.
Cowgirls of the rodeo were America's first successful professional women athletes. Mary Lou LeCompte explores their lives, travails, and triumphs in this detailed study, explaining the cowgirls' struggle for inclusion, their success competing with men, and their appearances before presidents and royalty. She also writes - as the women spoke - candidly about the roles of marriage, divorce, education, and geography in shaping their careers.
The early rodeo cowgirls were a unique group of independent western women who strove for careers as professional athletes during the late Victorian period and who achieved international stardom during the Golden Age of Sport. LeCompte analyzes the factors that led to the near demise of women's rodeo events during World War II and the phenomenal success of the Women's Professional Rodeo Association in returning cowgirls to the top of the money lists during the past decade.
The only book devoted exclusively to cowgirls who earned money as professional athletes, Cowgirls of the Rodeo recalls an extraordinary chapter in women's history as well as the history of American sport. It will enhance understanding of the larger issues of women in the American West and women in American sport.
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