Cowgirls of the Rodeo: Pioneer Professional Athletes

Mary Lou LeCompte, Author University of Illinois Press $24.95 (252p) ISBN 978-0-252-02029-2
LeCompte, a professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas, shows just how revolutionary women's rodeo riding was at its start, for it was the only sport in which they competed head-to-head with males. Professional rodeo began in 1882 and the first women participated at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1897. These pioneers had almost all been raised on ranches where they had been expected to do ``men's work.'' Their golden age in rodeo spanned 1919-1929, but with the founding of the Cowboys Turtle Association in 1936, women began to encounter sexism, which grew during World War II and in the rodeos staged under the aegis of Gene Autry. In 1948 the Women's Professional Rodeo Association was established and, while women's rodeo events are still more or less separate, the prize money available to them in 1990 reached $2 million. A first-rate work of scholarship. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-252-06874-4
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