July 27th National Day of the Cowboy

The cowboy is one of the most misunderstood characters out of history. This man, or woman, settled the western US. They are tough and loyal and work hard, with pride, at what they do. A large number of the original cowboys came out of the American Civil War, people trained to ride horses aggressively during the war that found themselves without work in the east. The day was created in 2005, the fourth Saturday of July, though there is no record of who created it. The cowboy is much more than just a man, or woman, who drives cattle to a destination, they are the soul of the working class, doing what they love, in the only way they know how… straight forward never looking behind.

How to celebrate – Visit the west. Learn the ethics involved with being a cowboy. Love what you do for a living.

July 28th National Day of the Cowboy

Yee-haw, today is the National Day of the Cowboy! It’s created by the National Day of the Cowboy group in 2005. Who doesn’t like a cowboy? Rough, rugged and always polite.  It’s a really hard job but someone’s got to do it.

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Cowboys do live by a code. They are to be honest and have courage, Take pride in what they do, be curious about life, finish what one starts, keep any promise made, be tough but fair, maintain clean thoughts and deeds, always be tolerant, be a steward of the land and animals and stand up for what you believe in.

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And, of course, the unspoken rule made by the ladies… be a beef-cake. For most cowboys this isn’t too hard because the work they do makes them stay fit. They may not always be real clean and smell good, but looking good is half the battle!

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Cowboys have always been around, in one form or another. There job was to bring the animals in their charge to where they are needed. Along the line they had weather, other animals and people they had to protect the herd from. With many learning the art of horseback riding during the Civil War, they went west to ply their trade, settling a wild land as they did.

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So go ahead, and make their day by celebrating their heritage with them. They have never been perfect, but they never tried to be. They just did the best they could with what they had.

How to celebrate – Live by the code of the cowboy. Read about the cowboy.  Take a vacation, living the life of a cowboy.

July 22nd National Day of the Cowboy

The cowboy is one of the most iconic American heroes of all time. I do not believe anyone personifies America more than the cowboy. The idea of working hard, thinking clean thoughts, and being courtious typifies the  concept of the cowboy.

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Okay, so I don’t know what cowboy they are talking about!?! While I agree with their place in history, and the good they served, they were also made up of some of the worst bandits, killers, and theives we have ever known.

They have a Code of Cowboy conduct, really.. think about it as I list their details:

Honesty and courage – okay courage yes, honesty maybe

Pride in work – being proud of what you do, and having pride in work are two different things

Stay curious – just what were they supposed to be curious about?

Finish what you start – check

Tough but fair – fair is in the eye of the beholder

Keep promises – a man’s word is his life

Clean of thought, deed and dress – I seriously doubt this was a priority to most cowboys (nor practical)

Tolerance of others – tell that to cowboy John Hardin

Stand up for what is right – who decided who was right?

And be a steward of the land and animals – this one I believe (where they could)

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They also say the cowboy came after the Civil War. I bet many Texan’s would challenge that thought. Yes, more cowboys appeared after the Civil War but driving cattle east, or towards the population, had been around for many, many years before the war.

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All that said, I still admire the cowboy. They worked hard, settled much of the west, and won law and order in a lawless land. Good did win out over evil, sometimes replacing it with other evils, but still better than the original evils.

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National Day of  the Cowboy was formed in 2005 by the National Day of the Cowboy organization. It has been recognized by congress and is therefore a real day of celebration.

How to celebrate – Read a book about the old west. Dress up like a cowboy (trying not to look like one of the Village People). Visit a Ghost Town out west.

July 23rd National Day of the Cowboy

When the American Civil War came to and end the west opened up to all sorts of people. Many were settlers, some miners, many just looking to start life over again. A lot of men, and women, came west with some unusual skills. Some of them joining the cavalry during the Civil War, learning how to ride hard and long, a skill the Old West could use.

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Texas was overflowing with cattle and the northern states were craving beef. The problem was getting the cattle to the people who wanted to eat. Thus, the cowboy was born. Vaqueros had long been in use in Mexico, driving cattle to the markets since 1519, but there had never been a particular need in the US until after the war. So many of those unable to find work in the east moved west and proceeded to drive over 5 million cattle north.

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A cowboy’s life was hard work, starting before sun up,  and more often than not stopping only after the sun had set. Food was bad, the weather brutal, and at times it was the loneliest job in the world. Constantly in the saddle with no real place to call home, a cowboy’s imagination could run wild.

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Many grew tired of the trail and decided to look for a better way to make a living.  Since the army had taught them how to move fast and shoot, it seems only natural that they often turned to lawlessness. The cowboy, turned outlaw, would roam the west spending what they had stolen on wine, women, and song. If they lived long enough, without getting caught, most would look for a home to settle in. At that point, what better job was there for a cowboy turned outlaw but that of the local town sheriff or marshal. After all, they new what the outlaw would do since they had done it themselves, and they knew the cowboys that would turn to the outlaw life since they had done that themselves as well.

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Oh and I mentioned women. Well, many outfits hired women to drive their herds north. In many ways they were more reliable and honest. Since most of them had been abandoned by the men in their lives they had to learn a trade of their own. If they could ride a horse, throw a rope and read a map, they were qualified. Shooting and fighting wasn’t all that important on cattle drives. Native Americans normally did not bother the cowgirls and their war had turned further northwest.

The 4th Saturday in July was designated the National Day of the Cowboy by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization. It was begun in 2005 and is celebrated in 11 states currently.

How to celebrate – Dress up like a cowboy and ride around the neighborhood on your bike rounding up cats. Watch an old cowboy movie. Serve beans for dinner tonight.