What makes a cowboy? In John Wayne movies and Louis L’Amour books, a cowboy is depicted as a hard-working man with integrity, willing to put in an honest day’s work tending to the cattle and horses that he loves. He’s adventurous and brave, not scared of the rattlesnakes or outlaws he might face on the trail.
The modern U.S. cowboy shares many of the same traits as the original cowboy. He still works hard, and still loves his cattle and horses. While the challenges he faces may have changed, he doesn’t back down when faced with a drought, rising feed prices, dwindling pasture resources, imposing government regulations, threats from animal rights activists and a decline in young people staying home to take over the ranch.
There’s a certain heroic and romantic aura that cowboys carry with them. It’s one that’s celebrated in movies and novels, but isn’t often recognized in real life. This week, on July 28, we have the chance to celebrate the cowboy on The National Day of the American Cowboy.
According to American Cowboy magazine, “The National Day of the American Cowboy campaign was founded by American Cowboy magazine in 2004 to preserve, protect and promote our cowboy and Western heritage and lobby for the passage of a national resolution designating the fourth Saturday of every July a permanent celebration on the national calendar honoring cowboys and cowgirls for their enduring contribution to the courageous, pioneering spirit of America.”
The magazine features a list of events happening all week across the country for cowboys to participate in. You can check out the event list here.
Last year, we celebrated the hardworking, dedicated men in agriculture with a photo contest called, “Cowboys and Cattlemen.” You can view the gallery here or watch the video below. Send a photo of your cowboy my way this week and I’ll add to the photo gallery. Email your photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will you celebrate the American cowboy this week? How would you define what makes a good cowboy?