In honoring the Cowboy, I had to ask #1 Best Selling author Steven Law to participate, and to my huge surprise he said yes, without skipping a beat. I would like to welcome Steven Law to my blog, and thank him for a riveting guest post to honor the National Day of the Cowboy. Welcome Steven.
When I was a kid growing up on our Iowa farm, I dreamed of being two things: a professional baseball player and a cowboy. I didn’t know any professional baseball players, but I did know a few cowboys. My grandfather and father were in the cattle business, so they, technically, were a modern version of that cowboy persona. I helped them work and feed cattle, mend fences, work the hay fields, and spent many a Saturday at cattle auctions. That was “cowboyin’” our way.
The modern day cowboy is also associated with rodeo and roughstock riding. When I’m around those guys I think about the cowboys I know and knew, and how today’s cowboy has transcended from a stigma they received after fifty-plus years of misrepresentation from Hollywood. When I think about this and what National Day of the Cowboy is accomplishing with their efforts, I am relieved that the American cowboy is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
Though historically the cowboy lifestyle and persona was adopted by Mexican vaqueros, it was the American cowboy who settled and tamed the American West. There is some debate about when the American cowboy culture actually began, whether it was during the Lewis and Clark or Mountain Man era, the Gold Rush, the days of the Santa Fe or Oregon Trail, or after those Civil War veterans stopped shooting Yankees and Rebs and started rounding up stray cattle in Texas. But I don’t think that really matters.
What the American cowboy is known for is durability, stamina, ruggedness, modesty, and respect. He faced monumental hardships and the worst type of evil, but victory belonged to him. He treated women with gentleness and grace, and for all that he accomplished his triumph truly belonged to them. He was not just a white man, but a man of many colors. And the true American cowboy did not mistreat or misrepresent himself to the real Americans who were already here. They were his mentors, his spiritual compass, his brothers in peace and in arms.
What the American cowboy is not… he is not the hat or the boots, or the guns, the horse he rides, the pickup he drives. He is not the man who chews or smokes tobacco, drinks beer or whiskey, or eats biscuits and beans. He is not six-foot-five and bullet-proof, nor is his hide made of leather. Cowboy is his heart, his mind, and makes up the blood that flows through his veins and shines through in that genuine cowboy way.
For guys like me, I don’t need a reason to celebrate the American cowboy. I know who they are, where they are, and where they came from. But there are people who don’t, who have forgotten, and our children need to be educated about why and how America came to be and the role the cowboy played. For the same reason we have a presidents day, a day for mothers, fathers, and grandparents, and a day for Martin Luther King, we need a day for the cowboy. They are all significant contributors to what has made America great. They are all American heroes.
Please join me and others as we celebrate the American cowboy, and support National Day of the Cowboy and their efforts to preserve our pioneer heritage and cowboy culture.
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