July, that wonderful month where we get to celebrate our country’s independence. The Fourth of July is a fun time for both young and old alike. But did you know that the 4th Saturday of July is National Day of the Cowboy? Yep! That’s right. It’s the day we celebrate the contribution cowboys and cowgirls made to our country’s wonderful heritage.
Do you know when the era of the cowboy came about? It was after The War Between the States and was birthed in the heart of Texas. Of course, folks had been herding cattle for years beforehand, but in Texas ranchers allowed their cattle to roam free. Unfortunately, over time, they grew wild and unruly.
As the country recovered from the aftermath of the war and life moved on and more and more folks moved west, the demand for beef grew. This meant all those cows had to be rounded up. Cowboys drove large herds to market across miles of prairie and other terrains. About five million head were driven to wherever the most profitable markets were which in turn, created a lot of stories of the Cowboys’ adventures and untold riches. Well, sort of. Adventures probably outweighed the riches most of the time.
But over the years a certain romanticism developed around the cowboy. Part of what made them what they are today. We celebrate the hard work it took to gain our independence in July, but also the hard work of the cowboy that helped shape our country later on.
Can you imagine being a cowboy driving thousands of cattle across the great plains? Can you imagine the dangers the cowboys had to keep an eye out for? Sudden storms, rough terrain, predators, cattle rustlers. Violence was ripe at times and the cowboy had to protect his herd however he could. Cowboys had to be tough to endure the frontier life. For them, that meant a lot of time outdoors, sleeping under the stars. Cowboys worked hard, Period. A working cowboy still does. As some of you know, my little sister is a retired racehorse jockey and now trains horses. This means she knows other trainers from all over, some of which are working cowboys and ranchers who do their horse clinics on the side. Sure they have modern conveniences, but the work is still just that. Work.
So the next time you read a western, think of all the guts and grit it took to do the job of a cowboy. This is one of the reasons we like westerns. Western romance, even better. After all, there’s nothing quite like reading about a cowboy that comes to the rescue to save the day and gets the girl.
Celebrate July Fourth and have a ball. Come the 4th Saturday in July, which this year is July 27th, think of the hard-working cowboy that helped shape this great country, smile a little smile, and say a little thank you.