A Suburban Buckle Bunny’s Report on the American Cowboy

Tina Radcliffe
Tina Radcliffe

With Tina Radcliffe

Hi Fillies! Thanks for having me in your corral. I wanted to share my confusion with you today. Why keep it all to myself?

Cowboys. When I moved to Oklahoma I saw nothing but cowboy hats and pickup trucks. I lived there for 17 years before moving to Colorado and spent many a day wondering what sort of head was under those hats. Lots of rodeos at the state fair too. Lots of cowboys.

I rarely saw a cowboy hat in Denver or the surrounding area in the next 19 years. Only when the Western Stock Show came to town. Were there no cowboys in Colorado? Yes, I discovered, they are alive and well, but strangely enough not a one of them lives in the suburbs of Denver. You heard it right. None at my local Starbucks ordering a mocha frappe with extra whipped cream.

With the launch of my latest release from Harlequin Love Inspired, Stranded with the Rancher (here’s Niall Matter, the actor who is the inspiration for my rancher .) I spent a lot of time researching cowboys.

Tina R Cover

Here’s some of what I learned along the way:

-According to the US Cattle Industry quotes, the US Department of Agriculture 2007 Census:

“There are more than 1 million beef producers in the United States who are responsible for more than 94 million head of beef cattle. When it comes to beef cattle production, most operations are smaller than you might think; according to USDA, the majority of beef cattle operations (79%) have less than 50 head of cattle. Although cattle farms and ranches are spread across the United State, nearly a third of cattle operations are located in the Plains states.”

Beef cattle production is the single largest segment of American agriculture. (This is great! Cows = Cowboys!)

-90% is consumed domestically and 10% is exported.

-There’s another blogging rancher out there (besides Mary Connealy). Check out Feedyard Foodie.

-Deep Hollow Ranch, 110 miles (180 km) east of New York City in Montauk, New York, claims to be the first ranch in the United States, having continuously operated since 1658.-Wikipedia. Is that crazy or what? Puts an interesting spin on the Pace (NEW YORK CITY??) commercial.


From the National Cattleman’s Association 2014 Cattle inventory (as of July 1, 2014)

Number of beef cow operations: 729,000

Number of cattle & calf operations: 915,000 –   29.0 million beef cows (down 1%)

The average cow herd size: 40 head (FORTY???? SERIOUSLY??)

Average producer (rancher/cowboy) age: 58.3. (Yep. They are getting older!)

More than 50 percent of the total value of U.S. sales of cattle and calves comes from the top 5 states:

  1. Texas
  2. Nebraska
  3. Kansas
  4. California
  5. Oklahoma

The big question? Where ARE the cowboys? The answer is that they are in ALL 50 states. That’s right. Every single state in the US produces cattle. Here’s the January 1, 2014 stats. They are in our own backyard.


Great sources of cowboy information:

The American Cowboy Chronicles

The Last American Cowboy: Season 1

American Cowboy Magazine

And especially the movie City Slickers. (snort)

Oh, and it really helps to have a friend who is married to a cowboy and lives on a ranch in Nebraska.

So what do you think about my trivia? Leave a comment for a chance to win my friend from Nebraska. No, wait, I mean a copy of my latest release, Stranded with the Rancher. Two winners.. International readers will be sent a Kindle copy.


Stranded with the Rancher

The Doctor and the Cowboy 

Stranded at single father Dan Gallagher’s ranch during a Colorado blizzard, Dr. Beth Rogers is counting the days till the roads are clear. She can’t wait to leave for her exciting new life in New York. But suddenly the big-city doctor is delivering babies in log cabins, helping to feed newborn calves and teaching Dan’s little girl to play hymns on the piano. No-nonsense Beth even throws a snowball or two at the handsome, love-shy cowboy. She thought she had her heart set on leaving, so why does she dream of Dan asking her to stay forever? 


Tina Radcliffe writes fun, inspirational romance for Love Inspired. She is a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist in the short novel category, with her first Paradise book, Mending the Doctor’s Heart. Her latest Paradise book, Stranded with the Rancher is a September release. The next Paradise book releases in June 2015. She’s also teaching Self-Editing for Beginners in October in Seekerville’s Night Classes.

Website | + posts

Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

54 thoughts on “A Suburban Buckle Bunny’s Report on the American Cowboy”

  1. Hello Tina. I enjoyed this. Can’t imagine you not seeing cowboys. Before coming bak to Texas near Houston thats mostly what I saw. I cccame from a small town on the OK. and TX. line. We lived on the TX. side but the real town on the OK. side. Lots of ranches there. We even had a Cattle Salesbarn where every week they had cattle sales. My sister worked there for quite a number of years, starting at 18. Sometimes on the sale day she wouldn’t get off till 1am or so.once a year they had a big B-B-Q out there for the whole town. That was something everyone in town looked forward to. My husband was a ood-looking cowboy. Even when he retired. He always wore western clothes. always wore cowboy booys and always a Stetson. He’s been gone for 17 years now. still miss his Stetson hanging on the hook. Later we moved to a small KS. town that is in some of the Ghost Towns books where he was born and grew up there. Still had a bachelor brother living there. We lived there 16 years. Mostly old timers lived there. Some lived on Ranches. Way back in History that was where the cowboys drove the cattle on cattle drives from Texas and Ok. and even KS. to put them on the train to ship where ever.
    The at some point in time the picture changed. when I lived there they only had one cae this woman had run for 40+ years. I worked there from 11am Oh, and there was a lot of ranches in WY. when we lived there in the 70’s to 2pm And there are still lots of Rodeos. You can see lots of cowboys
    there. Thanks for visiting. Wrote too long and now past midnight. 🙁
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  2. Good morning Tina! I enjoyed your trivia, especially about the average age of the cowboy is 58.3…yeah, that works for me. 🙂 George Strait is a rancher and he’s 60. Gotta love those cowboys!

    I would absolutely love to win a copy of your book. Thank you for the chance

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Ah, George. I didn’t know he was sixty. I was just looking at some Alan Jackson CDs and thinking he’s getting up there as well. I of course remain ageless. Preserved in a bottle of Oil of Olay.

  3. I loved the trivia. That might actually help me with one of the blog posts I plan to write sometime. And I would love to win your friend from Nebraska…er, I mean your book… Yeah! Your book. *clears throat awkwardly*

  4. I was surprised to read that there are cowboys and ranches in all 50 states. I have never seen a cowboy in Wisconsin. No cowboy hats either.

    I’d love to read your Inspirational book featuring Beth and Dan’s love story. I’d like to see a Colorado ranch through your eyes.

    Thanks for sharing!

    johns lake at usa dot com

  5. Hi Tina, welcome to the junction.

    I almost choked on my coffee upon reading that the average age of a cowboy is nearly 60? That means that some cowboys are what? In their eighties or nineties? Hard to believe.

    Your book sounds like a lot of fun.

          • Well, I’m sitting in an ergonomic chair in front of a fan with a cup of hot tea, typing.
            My Cowboy Husband is out wading through ankle deep mud carrying 5 gallon buckets of cracked corn to 1000 pound ‘calves’ who love him and his corn enough they occasionally bunt him into a fence.
            I can hear the moo-ing from here!

            So I’m going with at least PHYSICALLY writing is easier.

            • LOL. Not if you could see my office.

              Came back from RWA in July. Threw everything including suitcase in office. Went into deadline mode. Started new job. Office mounds are growing larger. It is now an official disaster area. Unable to find table and treadmill in here. I am very frightened as I leave for next conference in five days and have another deadline in three days. Who is going to clean this mess??? And I have someone coming to feed cats. Will she call the cops and say I’ve been burglarized and ransacked?

  6. I haven’t seen any cowboys in Arizona yet. Phoenix is a big mining area. Who knew. Most of your table salt comes from our area. Morton salt. Still searching for the cowboys though.

  7. First let’s acknowledge up front that math isn’t my strongest gift.
    That done, this sentence Tina…..
    There are more than 1 million beef producers in the United States who are responsible for more than 94 million head of beef cattle

    This doesn’t ring true to me because wouldn’t that mean that each beef producer averages 94 cattle? I know ranches with 40,000 cattle. We’ve got about 250.

    So are they counting as beef producers people with….one cow? Five cows?
    That’s not a beef producer, that’s Old McDonald.

    Anyway, doesn’t matter. I believe the 94 million cattle but not sure I believe the 1 million. SOMEONE with a hobby is calling themselves a beef producer.
    Also of those 94 million cattle…..Nebraska has about 7 million of them. Second only to Texas.
    http://www.adamslandandcattle.com/ 100,000 cattle, Broken Bow Nebraska
    http://www.simplot.com/beef_dairy_feeding/locations Simplot 150,000 cattle. Good grief that’s a lot of cows!!!!!

  8. So fun!!! LOL… I live in NE but I’m in Omaha, “the big city”, so I feel so apart from the “farmin/ranchin” part of my state! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Where are the cowboys? In my family. 🙂 We grew up on a dairy farm in a huge farming community. My wedding was full of hats, boots, spurs and the like. I love everything to do with country life and cowboys! Thanks for all the fun tidbits, the age of the average rancher doesn’t surprise me at all.

  10. I just love seeing your smiling face, Tina! You will be happy to know that I did not confiscate your donated book from the raffle basket (that would be wrong) but I do reserve the right to bid on my own basket 🙂 (that would be for a good cause.)

  11. Your book sounds wonderful… some interesting facts you shared there… I never really saw cowboys until I moved West… now quite a bit of hats and boots around.

  12. Great post! I loved it! And I would love to be stranded with a cowboy….I mean, I would love to READ Stranded With A Cowboy.

  13. We lived in Colorado Springs for 3 years and now that I think of it, not that many people wore cowboy hats except when the rodeo was in town. I grew up in Northern NY and several of our neighbors had large black angus herds, many more than the 40 head average size. We live in NE TN now and there are many small herds of beef cattle here. In this area, the herds are averaging a bit smaller than the 40 average.
    On one of our trips out West, we say cowboys herding cattle. There were 2 or 3 cowboys on their horses, a dog or 2 and maybe 5 head of cattle.

Comments are closed.