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What is a Cowboy?

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Mountain Cowgirl

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The term cowboy was first seen in print in 1725. It referred to the young men that worked cattle. It was later used to describe the young men or boys in their teens that wanted to get out on their own so they help drive cattle to a market taking weeks, a horse, and a gun. It was hard and dangerous work. Cattlemen hired these boys because they could get them cheap and they were full of piss and vinegar as my grandpa used to say.

It was 1920 and the popularity of rodeo when to use the word cowboy meant to be reckless. Hollywood helped promote and stereotype cowboy as a way of dressing. To be a cowboy was romanticized in poetry, music, and movies. Real cattle ranchers creased to be called cowboys since they seldom fit the stereotype. It seems that the only ones called cowboys these days are those rodeo athletes dressed in western attire, many of which have never worked cattle for a living.

What do you think makes one a cowboy today? Are genuine cowboys few and far between? Do you have to have a horse to be a cowboy? Is being a cowboy just a state of mind? Is a ranch hand a cowboy?
 
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jodywy

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head of a cowboy once called "Fingers" because he wouldn't make a hand. Knew a Ranch manager of his wife's family's large well-known ranch. He is in Town and guys walk up and ask if he needed any cowboys. He a;lways told them no. But if they asked if he needed a hand, he gives them Directions of where to go once they made it to the ranch.
 

leanin' H

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I think being called a cowboy is a pretty damn high honor. It makes me mad to see that name disparaged. The people that make cowboys get a bad name are so far from actually being a cowboy they aren’t in the same universe. I cowboy IS a good hand! A cowboy IS a great neighbor! A cowboy IS a good vet! A cowboy IS the first one working and the last one to quit. A cowboy AINT some show off! And he damn sure ain’t some dude wearing western clothes. Being called Cowboy is something I take a great deal of pride in. And that’s all I got to say about that
 

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