A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century became a figure of special significance and legend. In order to find young calves for branding, and to sort out mature animals intended for sale, ranchers would hold a roundup, usually in the spring. Horses themselves were also rounded up. Informal competition arose between cowboys seeking to test their cattle and horse-handling skills against one another, and thus, from the necessary tasks of the working cowboy, the sport of rodeo developed.