Most women of the 1800's learned to ride out of necessity from helping on the ranch and practicing the skills of the range. From an early age, women could stay in the saddle, break a bronc and rope a steer. In the late 1800's, the younger horsewomen began competing against males in a yearly gathering of herds -which progressed into participating in rodeos. The first rodeos began in the mid-1800 when thousands of cattle and horses were driven to town for the yearly round-up. The cowboys were eager for relaxation and would compete in tests of skills like roping, breaking horses, branding cattle and racing.