Posts Tagged With: Cowboy

Curly Bill Kills Marshal Fred White 133 years ago.

A drunken William Brocius Graham, known better as “Curly Bill” Brocius, killed Tombstone, Arizona Territory Marshal Fred White on this date October 28th 1880, when White tried to arrest him. Marshal Fred White encountered Brocius at the East end of town, on a dark street in a vacant lot where the Birdcage Theater now stands. Brocius was intoxicated and he and his companions were firing pistols into the air. It is speculated that the pistol’s hammer was “half-cocked” over a live round (it was later found to have contained six live rounds,) and when White grabbed the barrel and pulled, the weapon, it discharged, shooting White in the groin area. Wyatt Earp, who saw the shooting and flash but could not clearly see the action in the dark. However Wyatt pistol-whipped Brocius, knocking him unconscious, and arrested him.  When the new day dawned, the rowdy makers went before the judge, were fined for violating city ordinances, and released. Brocius; however, asked for a postponement until he could get a lawyer. Later he appeared with Judge Haynes of Tucson, as his counsel, and as a lynch mob was forming in the camp to hang Brocius for the shooting of the popular marshal, whose condition had worsened and looked as if he might die, Brocius was ordered to be taken to Tucson to be held in protective custody. As Wyatt Earp and George Collins headed to Tucson with Brocius in a buggy, they were escorted out of town by Virgil and Morgan Earp.Brocius was said to have terribly regretted the shooting of White, whom he apparently liked. White lingered for two days, dying on October 30th. However, prior to his death, he gave testimony that ultimately led to Brocius being cleared of any wrongdoing. White stated that the pistol fired accidentally, and that Brocius, intoxicated, evidently did not realize his pistol was cocked. Despite his regret, Brocius did not accept being pistol-whipped by Wyatt Earp during his arrest. This was a factor that led to increasing tensions between the Earps and the Cow-boy element. Unlike recent Hollywood portrayals of White as an older man, the first Marshal of Tombstone, was only 31 or 32 when he died.

Brocius was eventually acquitted of any any wrong-doing, with Judge Nuegass commenting that the shooting was “Homocide by Misadventure” or, in other words, an accident. Brocius was released from custody and despite Wyatt’s statement that helped him to be freed, Brocius could not forgive Wyatt for the pistol whipping. This was just one more of the many incidents that increased the ever mounting tension between the Earps and the Cowboy faction.

Some claim that the Ghost of Fred White still haunts the street where he was shot. https://borivers.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/99feb-tombstoneallenstreet1882-500.jpg

The next day the Tombstone Epitaph read “About 12:30 last night a series of pistol shots startled the late goers on the streets, and visions of funerals, etc., flitted through the brain of the Epitaph local, and the result proved that his surmises were correct.  The result in a few words is as follows: A lot of Texas cow boys, as they are called, began firing at the moon and stars on Allen street near Sixth, City Marshal White, who happened to be in the neighborhood, interfered to prevent violation of the city ordinance, and was ruthlessly shot by one of the number.  Deputy Sheriff Earp, who is ever to the front when duty calls, arrived just in the nick of time.  Seeing the Marshal fall, he promptly knocked his assailant down with a six shooter and as promptly locked him up; and with the assistance of his brothers Virgil and Morgan went in pursuit of the others.  That he found them, an inventory of the City Prison this mourning will testify.  Marshal White was shot in the left groin, the ball passing nearly through, and being cut from the buttock by Dr. Matthews.  The wound is a serious though not fatal one.  Too much praise cannot be given to the Marshal for his gallant attempt to arrest the violators of the ordinance, nor to Deputy Sheriff Earp and his brothers for the energy displayed in bringing in the malefactors to arrest.  At last accounts, 3 p.m., Marshal White was sleeping, and strong hopes of his ultimate recovery were expected.”
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Categories: History, Western, Western Authors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Western ePulp’s the modern pulp magazine, What……..?

Posted by: Ritchie White @shotgunborivers

Pulp magazines were originally published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on higher quality paper were called “glossies” or “slicks”. In their first decades, pulps were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art.

Western Story Magazine was a pulp magazine published by Street & Smith, which ran from 1919 to 1949.It was the first of numerous pulp magazines devoted to Western fiction. In its heyday Western Story Magazine was one of the most successful pulp magazines; in 1921 the magazine was selling over half a million copies each issue.

Western Story Magazine began when Street & Smith executive Henry Ralston decided to convert one of the company’s nickel weeklies, New Buffalo Bill Weekly, into a pulp.  Ralston installed Frank Blackwell as editor of the new magazine. The magazine attracted a number of famous Western authors, including Charles Alden Seltzer, H. Bedford-Jones, Stewart Edward White, W. Ryerson Johnson and William MacLeod Raine. The November 25th, 1920 issue was the first issue to carry the work of Max Brand (writing under the pseudonym George Owen Baxter). Brand’s work would dominate the magazine in the next decade; he would write dozens of stories for Western Story Magazine both under his own name and several pseudonyms. Western Story Magazine was also prominent in publishing material by women writers, including B. M. Bower and Cherry Wilson.

In the 1930s, the publication’s roster of authors expanded to include Walt Coburn, William Colt MacDonald and W. C. Tuttle, while noted pulp illustrator Walter M. Baumhofer contributed several covers.

In the late 1930s, Blackwell was succeeded as editor by John Burr, who edited the magazine until it ceased publication in 1949.  to read more about the original western pulps visit The western Story on pulpmags.org.

https://i0.wp.com/api.ning.com/files/D1*nxuy077RsofWSz5UE-rGqy6yNy--oewMzw6URuDGoHvkP8AgcCHmg0*ALTYoWzU7AnTQas4NaUV*fwYe78zkIupwyzqdh/Vol3cover.jpg

A new chapter in the western pulps has arrived in ePulps, Well what in tarnation is an ePulp?

Well,I’ll tell ya, as explained on Rope and Wire  an ePulp is a western magazine in the style of the old western pulps like, Ace-High, Cowboy Stories or Zane Grey Western Magazine, however in electronic format. Since 2011 Rope and Wire has published four wonderful ePulps. They have the same great covers as the old pulps once did, and new stories come alive once again in each one to tell the traditional style stories of the old west, the danger, suspense, intrigue and deception as they do in Christopher Scott’s Rope and Wire’s Western Short Stories

What does the future hold for ePulp’s, will they continue to make a comeback? I know I plan on reading them, and after doing some research, I may attempt to even write one.

What are thoughts and comments on the ePulp?  Will you read them?

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Friend, A Father, and A Dang Good Cowboy.

Posted by: Ritchie White @shotgunborivers

A good friend of mine watoms hit by a drunk driver on November 30th in Charlton, NY. I wanted to take the time to pray for him, and wish him well, and his family all the best in his recovery. It will surely be a long road ahead for him and his family. Tom is a Rodeo Cowboy, and like me former military. He is a former Marine (RECON 3rd Batt.,First Marines, 1st Mar.Div) He lives a simple life and has three wonderful daughters, Katelyn, Jaimy and Faith, and a whole lotta family and friends that are rooting for him to get better. He lives by the cowboy’s Code and one simple philosophy. “Work Hard, Do Your Best, Keep Your Word, Never Get Too Big For Your Britches, Trust In God and Never Forget a Friend, and I am a lesbian trapped in a mans body.”

Below is the newspaper Article that was written in the Saratogian Dec. 01 2012 Edition

Dec, 01 2012 CHARLTON — A man remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma after a drunken driver allegedly ran a stop sign and crashed into his car Friday evening, sheriff’s deputies said.

Traci L. Briskin, 38, of Clifton Park Center Road in Clifton Park was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, after the accident. She was later released.

Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies say Briskin ran a stop sign at the intersection of Route 67 and Jockey Street in November 3oth.

He was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with internal injuries.

Baker’s daughter contacted The Saratogian Saturday evening and reported he is “not doing well at all,” is on life support and underwent multiple surgeries as of about 5 p.m. She said Baker was on his way home from work when he was hit.

The accident remains under investigation.

cowboy druck driving ribbon

**********************************************************************************************************

I have checked in with Katelyn his daughter every day since the accident to get an update on his recovery and this is what she has told everyone yesterday afternoon.

“Update on my Father Tom Baker : over the past couple of days his numbers have been remaining low and his ct scans looked decent so doctors gradually took him off sedation, a few hours afterwards his ICP’s were raising well above where we want them so doctors put him back on sedation to ease the pressure and relax his body. Although it seems like a large setback his body is just not ready and he is very anxious and stressed so they want to give him more time to rest and heal. We will be sure to inform everyone when they decide to start taking the sedation back off and the status of the long journey ahead of us. It is so nice to hear from all the people who care and love my father and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers sent our way. ♥”

Either way Tom, Get better, and remember to Cowboy Up, hang in there, and I share my Prayers with you and your family. Thanks for being a PAL Ritchie.

tombr

And remember;

Before you judge a person, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, if they get mad, you’ll be a mile away
and you’ll have their shoes.

I am asking some good Rodeo Cowboys to drop a line and say hi, Tom fought for our country, and he deserves a fair shake.

“Whatever you do don’t let go
It’s time to be a cowboy don’t you know
If you get through this you got it whipped
But till you hear the whistle blow
Whatever you do
Don’t let go”
-Justin Mcbride ©2009
Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, Military, Rodeo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Heroes and Antiheroes in Westerns (Guest Post By Mathew Pizzolato)

We all have our heroes, some mystical, others superheroes, but me it was the outlaws and lawmen of the Old West. As an adult I still have those heroes, and in having them it fuels me to write at my best. Today as Matthew Pizzolato launches his book release  for Outlaw, he stops by to tell us who his heroes are, and compares heroes to anti-heroes in westerns. Welcome Matthew, thanks for dropping by.

“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.”
Ernest Hemingway

Western Author Matthew Pizzolato

I think that every child needs to have direction in life, something to emulate and admire and to strive to be.  Quite frankly, everyone needs heroes.  As a young man, I found my heroes by reading Westerns.

Mostly, I read Louis L’Amour but I partook of many others, from Max Brand and Zane Gray to Loren Estleman and Elmore Leonard and everything in between.  If it was a Western, I read it or watched it on the screen.  My heroes were Louis L’Amour, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and the characters they portrayed.

The earlier Westerns told stories of right and wrong and the heroes of the genre lived by a black and white code of good and evil.  There was no middle ground, and there is nothing wrong with that kind of story.  In fact, I prefer them because it’s what I grew up reading.

However, beginning mostly with the films of Clint Eastwood, a new type of character was introduced into the Western, the antihero.

While there are still similarities to the Western hero of old, there are some vast differences.  Antiheroes are flawed characters.  They are not perfect and don’t pretend to be, but they still possess heroic qualities.

Like the hero, the antihero possesses honor and loyalty, but may on occasion step outside moral boundaries that a hero cannot.  Sometimes their integrity may be called into question, but there is always a line that the antihero will not cross.

It is that aspect that opens areas of new storytelling for writers because instead of the moral unequivocalness of telling stories in black and white, the gray areas of morality can be explored.  I think that if writers want to create fresh and exciting material for readers, it’s going to be in that gray area and not rehashing the same stories that have already been told.

That is what I have tried to do with Wesley Quaid, the antihero protagonist of Outlaw.  He is a bank robber who has killed plenty of men and done some things he’s not proud of, but he is still a man of honor and loyalty.

Heroes provide examples of the kind of people we should strive to be even though we might not be able to.  As humans, we are inherently flawed and so perhaps we can identify more with the antihero.

Perhaps in the future, we should mix a fair amount of antiheroes into our Westerns.  We still need heroes to emulate because as humans we have to be able to strive toward something, but part of the joy of reading is the escapism it provides, so we need characters that we can identify with also.

Outlaw Book Link on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009GDDGU8

BIO:

Matthew Pizzolato is a member of Western Fictioneers. His fiction has been published in various online and print magazines. He writes a weekly NASCAR column for Insider Racing News and can be contacted via his personal website:

http://www.matthew-pizzolato.com.

Contact Links:

http://www.facebook.com/authormatthewpizzolato

https://twitter.com/mattpizzolato

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5837035.Matthew_Pizzolato

OUTLAW Book Description:

The outlaw Wesley Quaid wants to put the past behind him and start his life anew in another place where no one has ever heard of him.  When a mysterious woman he once knew resurfaces, Wesley discovers that a man can’t run from his past anymore than he can run from the kind of man he has become.

To view or purchase Outlaw today visit Amazon.com.

Categories: Western, Western Authors, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharing the Code of the West

I am sharing the Code of the west that I live by o Matt Pizzolato’s Blog today. Stop by and see why I live by the Code of the West.

Although no written rules ever existed, the pioneers and settlers who went west found one common ground, how they lived their lives from day to day. With little or no laws in the west for a man to follow, they were forced to make their own set of guidelines, a code of the west, as it was first called in Zane Grey’s 1934 novel The Code of the West……..Read More at The Western Wordslinger.

 

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, Rodeo, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sharing the Heart of a Cowboy

Today begins my blog book tour, visit krpooler.com as I share the heart of a Cowboy.

My Last Bronc Ride at Double M Rodeo in 2007

I was recently asked what makes me who I am, what is instilled inside my heart? And why did I choose the life I have, and I must tell you from the beginning that it isn’t what I chose to do, or what led me to it at all. It simply chose me; I was born with it inside of me, a fire of burning ember that continues to burn, more and more every day.

As a teenager, I discovered rodeo and found that if I took just one chance, just one ride, I would know for sure, but at the time I had no idea what was in store for me. To look back, I would have not changed a thing;……………..Read More  at krpooler.com

For more information on my book blog tour please visit https://shotgunborivers.com/book-tour/

Categories: Cowboy Code, Rodeo, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Day of the Cowboy Ebook Giveaway Winners

I am proud to announce the Ebook Giveaway winners for the National Day of the Cowboy Blogathon. First and foremost, all authors that were involved will receive a copy, as well as NDOC president Bethany Braley. Thank you for all of the support, and great posts this week in honor of the our American Cowboy.

How this giveaway worked was if you had commented on my blog I compiled all of your names together to randomly select each winner, however there were not enough comments to go around for the amount of winners I had selected, so I also gathered names from the facebook likes, and comments on the event, as well as western writers of America group, Western book readers, Old West, and Western Movie groups as well. If you commented on my blog you won simple as that 13 comments for 13 books. Once all other names were compiled, I recruited my wife to randomly select without my knowledge to keep things fair, 7 more names to compile the 20 winners in this weekends giveaway. If you did win you will receive Laramie’s Code as soon as I have all email addresses in.  As promised you will also receive Laramie’s War as soon as it is complete, with all of the hard work this week to make sure things went smoothly, I did not get the time to collaborate the finish of the book with smashwords. I am hoping to have it complete no later than Aug 15th. Once completed all winners will receive their copy of that book as well. I want to apologize for that delay.  It would also behoove you to leave a quick comment here listing the Ebook format you need for the book, for your personal enjoyment. So without further adieu.
Saturdays winners are as follows:
Ron Scheer, Janna Shay, John the Critter, Diane Cantara, Lakenya Kolpits, Kathy Pooler, David Morris, Virginia Cambell,
Robert Pohle, and Sierra Delis.

Sundays winners are as follows:
Jim Olson, Tricia Ann Kralik, William McGee, Jodi Lee Stewart, Paty Jager, Brenda Heirs, Bill Henderson, Kimmie Cagaanan-Vavak, Kit Collings, and Cherie.

For delivery purposes of your ebook I need the following Emails.
Ron Scheer, Virginia Cambell, Robert Pohle, Jim Olson, Tricia Ann Kralik,William McGee, Jodi Lee Stewart, Kimmie Cagaanan-Vavak, and Kit Collings. If your name is not in this list, then I have your emails from your posts on the website. If you would like, I would also be honored to add each and every one of you,  to be included in my monthly newsletter for further news on shotgunborivers.com, and my books, that is sent out the first monday of each month.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Trails Until We Meet Again

This concludes our week long blogathon in honor of the National Day of the Cowboy, and I want to say that it went rather well.

I personally want to thank Steven Law, Ken Farmer, Larry Payne, J.R. Sanders, J.J. Devine, D.B. Jackson, Tyler Brentmore, Mathew Pizzolato, and Phil Dunlap for participating in this weeks Blogathon. We topped over 600 visits this week to honor the National Day of the Cowboy.

I would also like to thank Bethany Braley the founder of National Day of the Cowboy organization,for adding us to the calendar of events, and supporting our purpose as Western Authors, and look forward to helping her get New York, as one of the states to make it official as a day we can celebrate to honor the National Day of the Cowboy.

I also want to thank everyone who stopped by here, and on facebook to read each blog, it was wonderful to have you here on my site, and hope that you will continue to visit from time to time.

The free Ebook giveaway is still up for grabs, so feel free to get your comments in, due to the fact the comments were not at large as I had hoped. I plan on snagging some of the likes and comments from facebook as well. All contest winners will be announced on Sunday, 10 winners will be chosen on Saturday, and 10 on Sunday. Mathew Pizzolato is also running an Ebook giveaway, where he will announce his winners as well. So stay tuned to see if you are a winner. If you have been chosen I will need an email, and an Ebook format, so that I can send the books out Monday Morning, as I ride on over to Kathy Pooler’s Blog krpooler.com to share the heart of a cowboy, which begins a week long book tour.

For blog tour information log onto https://shotgunborivers.com/book-tour/. All the blogs, and websites that I will be featured on will be posted there throughout the weekend, as well as throughout the week. I will be sharing about my second self-published book Rodeo Dayz, a book of short stories, in which nine rodeo contestants share their experience in the rodeo, and a short history in NY that dates back to the early 1950’s, co-written by Donnie Baxter, Leo Martin, and Wayne Martin. I will also be promoting my brand new Ebook Series The Adventures of Laramie Taylor, Laramie’s Code, and Laramie’s War. These Ebooks are about Laramie Taylor’s life before Laramie’s Thunder, The Collins Crew.

I want to also announce our first sponsor in the National Day of the Cowboy blogathon, and book tour Leo and Jen Martin at the Double M Tack shop, and Double M Haunted Hayrides, the home of Scary Harry, an ghostly cowboy that haunts Terror Town with his bandits protecting the gold they stole, before the town demised some time ago. Thank You Jen and Leo for letting me advertise the National Day of the Cowboy blogathon, and the Read ’em Cowboy Barnes and Noble bookfair certificates.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The National Day of the Cowboy: An American Heritage

Today being our last guest post for the National Day of the Cowboy, I had  to save this Cowboy, for the end. J.R. Sanders is not only a western author, but he is one of many that are tied in deep in efforts to get Congress to recognize the National Day of the Cowboy throughout the United States. J.R. also hosts a Read em’ Cowboy event, which is geared towards the children. Children’s authors will do readings and other activities with kids, and a cowboy/cowgirl costume contest for the youngsters.  Along with the authors, there is live cowboy music, rodeo queens, an art display, living historians, roping demonstration, raffles, cowboy vittles in the B&N cafe, and more. Below a youngster participates in this wonderful event.

Read ’em Cowboy Participant

Thank you J.R. for all of the hard work that you put into the National Day of the Cowboy, and the American Heritage of the American Cowboy. Welcome.

There’s no other cultural or historical symbol as uniquely American as the cowboy.  In fact, if the U.S.A. could have only one symbol with which to define itself, there’s probably nothing that would represent us better.  All the things the cowboy stands for – freedom, independence, honor, hard work, pride, loyalty, patriotism – are all things that our country also stands for – or ought to, anyway.  So it makes perfect sense that there should be a day officially set aside to encourage every American to recognize and pay tribute to a vital part of our national heritage and identity.  To me, the question’s not really “Why should there be a National Day of the Cowboy?”; it’s “Why hasn’t there been one all along?”  (I mean, there’s a National Pie Day, for crying out loud – not that I have anything against pie).

Bethany Braley and the National Day of the Cowboy organization have been working tirelessly for several years now to get the day recognized permanently by the Federal government, as well as by individual states, and 2012 has been a landmark year in their efforts.  Earlier this year Wyoming became the first state to pass the NDOC resolution in perpetuity.  They were followed just last month by – wait for it – California.  Eight other states have either passed one-year resolutions or issued proclamations (Texas passed a two-year resolution) naming the fourth Saturday in July the National Day of the Cowboy.  Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.  NDOC continues its lobbying, with the eventual goal of getting the U.S. Congress to pass a permanent resolution.  It’s an uphill battle, but NDOC and its hardy crew of volunteers are a committed bunch.

And ultimately, what NDOC is doing is what we are all doing in various ways – trying to preserve a cherished history and tradition, and a

fans of these various pursuits, we’re all in this battle together.  We all support one another’s efforts.  If nobody ever read Western books, nobody would write them.  If nobody went to Western music events, nobody would play Western music.  If nobody watched Western movies and TV shows, nobody would produce them.  Yet people do read Westerns, and so people write them.  People do go to cowboy concerts, and buy CDs, and there are some fine Western performers carrying on their rich musical tradition.  No matter how many times Hollywood suits, or book publishers, have proclaimed the death of the Western, the Western refuses to ride into the sunset.  There’s a pretty simple and clear message in that.  There’s something in the American makeup that strongly identifies, even in this ultra-modern high-tech age, with our Western heritage, and those core values that it represents.  That’s what keeps the writers writing and the readers reading.  It’s why we do what we do, and why we love it so.

J.R. Sanders

Bio:

J. R. Sanders is a native of Newton, Kansas, one of the original “wild and wooly” cowtowns.   His deep interest in Old West history dates back to childhood visits with his family to the Dalton Gang hideout, Abilene, and Dodge City.  J.R. has written feature articles for a variety of publications, among them Law & Order and Wild West.  His children’s book, The Littlest Wrangler, was released by Moonlight Mesa Associates in June, 2010, and has been adopted for use in the educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  His next book, Some Gave All: Forgotten Old West Lawmen Who Died with Their Boots On, is due to be published by Moonlight Mesa Associates in 2013.

J.R. is a member of the Western Writers of America, Western Fictioneers and the Wild West History Association.  He lives in Southern California with his wife, Rose, and dog, Monte.

To read J.R.’s Book The Littlest Wrangler visit his  Website at: www.jrsanders.com

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Is A Cowboy? By D.B. Jackson

After wrangling in eight western authors, I had one ask if I would like another western author to guest post on my blog. I was in awe others wanted to get involved with what I was doing. Very grateful I emailed D.B. Jackson, and the response was awesome.  Here Dale expresses what a cowboy is, and what he does.From the Old West to the modern day cowboy. Welcome Dale, and I want to personally thank you for a great post, and a wonderful look into what a cowboy is.

Dale Jackson

You already have some idea, in your own mind, what you define as a cowboy. Most of us do. Regardless of that definition, the important thing is that we recognize the cowboy as an important and enduring part of our American heritage.

The truth is, the American cowboy started off as, and largely still is, essentially a day laborer with a very specific set of skills that does not have much purpose in other jobs. Their days are long, the pay is short, and most cowboys invest a lot of money in the tools of their trade: a good using saddle, a dependable horse, a decent bridle, spurs to their own liking, and a hat that becomes an individualized trademark unique to each man.

His knowledge includes horsemanship, but he does not engage in talk of how to post a canter, or which new supplement produces the greatest equine performance. He knows cattle and is his own veterinarian. He understands the market and knows about futures, but can’t tell you anything about a mutual fund or a bond offering. He can look at a bale of hay and give you a detailed dissertation on the merits of its feed value.

His hands are calloused, he carries a pocketknife, he’s short, tall, thin, and heavy. He can handle a rope, flank a calf, and tell you a funny story. His politics are built around the realities of working for a living and making do with what he earns. He’s not impressed with your high-paying job, Ivy League education or expensive car, but you will get his nod of approval for a good heel catch or for being where you should be when a herd-quitter breaks and threatens to set your day back several hours.

Most cowboys I know are good to their word and their handshake. They do not feel compelled to tell you something to take the heat off a problem or to redirect your disapproval. They fix problems and move on. They spend no time judging those who profess to be cowboys or present themselves as real cowboys. You either are or you are not—everyone on the crew will know where you fit within an hour of you being there.

Is the guy who shows up with a new rope, new chaps, a lot of fancy gear, and wearing gloves a real cowboy? Probably not—but, he did show up and that’s worth something. I never met a cowboy who brags, draws attention to himself or makes an issue of him being a cowboy. There is an understated, self-assuredness about a cowboy that does not require him to do so. And, for most, it’s not in their nature anyway.

So, is there any such thing as the “cowboy spirit”? I’m not sure. There definitely are “cowboy values”, but they are not exclusive to the cowboy. The cowboy image certainly exists, and there are lots of people who identify with it, and many who look to be identified with it.

They Rode Good Horses.

Most cowboys do not view themselves as special. They consider themselves lucky to be in a position to lead a lifestyle that many would like to lead. They do not look down upon the guy in the big hat adorned with feathers and wearing boots that would never hold up in the branding pen. They do not feel threatened by or insulted by those who profess to be cowboys, but have never worked cattle or drug calves to the fire.
In the end, we are all part of a special culture unique to America and admired by people all across the world. That micro-culture should be preserved and celebrated—the American cowboy may well be our last handhold on a set of values that helped make this the great country it is. A National Day Of The Cowboy is one small way to help insure we do not lose those values.

D.B. Jackson, author of the 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award winning book, They Rode Good Horses, Goldminds Publishing, and long time cattle rancher, resides with his wife, Mary, near Oakdale, CA. His latest novel, Unbroke Horses, Goldminds Publishing, is being released July 2012, to excellent critical acclaim. A short story, Last Of The Cowboys appears this month in a ReadWest anthology. Stories Of The American West, with the legendary Elmer Kelton, the bestselling author, Steven Law, and others. Another short story, A Blood Red Moon, appears in October in the La Frontera Publishing anthology, Outlaws And Lawmen.

To Read D.B. Jackson’s books, visit his website http://www.dalebjackson.com/
Or visit his Amazon Author Central.
You can find him on facebook via: Dale Jackson

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, NDOC, Western, Writing, Writing Technique | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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