The St. Croix Valley is home to some pretty impressive women—but one weekend in Somerset, Wis., determines who bears the title of Iron Cowgirl. The competition is fierce, and the events are difficult—this year’s rodeo schedule includes bareback barrels, pole bending, goat tying and scudda ho. The events are tailored to mirror real life and test “strength, athleticism, courage, and skills as a horsewoman,” according to the Iron Cowgirl’s organizers. But most competitors head into the ring with one idea: to walk away with one of the impressive prizes. Last year’s winners earned a one-year lease on a horse trailer, a custom-made leather saddle, microfiber jackets and cash.
The Iron Cowgirl competition isn’t just for horsewomen, though. For the less equine-knowledgeable, Somerset knows how to host a spectator-friendly event. Pull on your cowboy boots for a lively barn dance, complete with live music. Or head to the petting zoo, play some games, and remember that spectators can win prizes, too.