How the culture of the cowboys got started

American cowboy, "King of the Plains" postcard, — The English word cowboy originated in Ireland. The first published use of the word was in by Jonathan Swiftreferring to a boy tending cows.

How the culture of the cowboys got started

Visit Website Cowboys herded and rounded up livestock that were transported by rail around the country for sale. To distinguish what cattle belonged to which ranch, cowboys would brand the animals by burning a special mark into their hides.

It took between eight and 12 cowboys to move 3, head of cattle along cattle drives. Barbed Wire By the time the Civil War ended inthe Union Army had largely used up the supply of beef in the North, increasing the demand for beef. The expansion of the meat-packing industry also encouraged consumption of beef.

Bymillions of heads of longhorn cattle were rounded up and driven toward railroad depots. Ranching continued to be widespread through the late s. But by the s, most of the land became privatized after feuds over land ownership were settled and the use of barbed wire became widespread.

During the winter ofthousands of cattle died when temperatures reached well below freezing in parts of the West. Many scholars believe that this devastating winter was the beginning of the end for the cowboy era.

Cowboys in the 20th Century Cattle drives continued, but on a smaller scale, up until the mids. Most cowboys gave up the open trail life and were hired by private ranch owners in the West. Cowboy Life Cowboys were mostly young men who needed cash.

In addition to herding cattle, they also helped care for horses, repaired fences and buildings, worked cattle drives and in some cases helped establish frontier towns.

The Origins of the Cowboy Culture of Western America

Cowboys occasionally developed a bad reputation for being lawless, and some were banned from certain establishments. They typically wore large hats with wide brims to protect them from the sun, boots to help them ride horses and bandanas to guard them from dust.

Some wore chaps on the outsides of their trousers to protect their legs from sharp cactus needles and rocky terrain. When they lived on a ranch, cowboys shared a bunkhouse with each other.

How the culture of the cowboys got started

For entertainment, some sang songs, played the guitar or harmonica and wrote poetry. Cowboys were referred to as cowpokes, buckaroos, cowhands and cowpunchers. Everyday work was difficult and laborious for cowboys.


Workdays lasted about 15 hours, and much of that time was spent on a horse or doing other physical labor. Rodeo Cowboys Some cowboys tested their skills against one another by performing in rodeos—competitions that were based on the daily tasks of a cowboy. Rodeo activities included bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, bareback bronco riding and barrel racing.

The first professional rodeo was held in Prescott, Arizona, in Since then, rodeos became—and continue to be—popular entertainment events in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere. The cowboy lifestyle and culture is still found in certain areas of the United States, albeit to a lesser degree than a century ago.

According to the U. While opportunities may have shifted, the American cowboy is still very much a part of life in the West.Cowboys played an important role during the era of U.S. westward expansion. Though they originated in Mexico, American cowboys created a style and reputation all their own.

How the culture of the cowboys got started

But emerging as the central character is the late Suzanne Mitchell, who started as general manager Tex Schramm's secretary and was named director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) in Actual cowboys have derisive expressions for individuals who adopt cowboy mannerisms as a fashion pose without any actual understanding of the culture.

For example, a "drugstore cowboy" means someone who wears the clothing but does not actually sit upon anything but the stool of the drugstore soda fountain —or, in modern times, a bar stool.

Modern Northwestern cowboys continue to work ranches across Oregon, Washington and Idaho. For an authentic slice of cowboy culture, head to an annual rodeo like the Pendleton Roundup in Oregon.

Over time, the cowboys of the American West developed a personal culture of their own, a blend of frontier and Victorian values that even retained vestiges of chivalry.

Such hazardous work in isolated conditions also bred a tradition of self-dependence and individualism, with great value put on personal honesty, exemplified in songs and . Since the dawn of film, the Western has been one of the great, durable movie genres, but its audience seems to be finally drying up.

The Lone Ranger is the third Western to flop in four summers.

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