Ok, here is a quiz. What do these people have in common?
Leonard Slye – Roy Rogers
William Boyd – Hop Along Cassidy
Clayton Moore – the Lone Ranger
Gene Autry – Singing Cowboy (my dad’s favorite)
Let’s look at those names again…
By now, you probably guessed they are all cowboys. But none of them has anything to do with how the west was won. More like how the west was fun. These dime store cowboys defined how we look at the American west.
They had cowboy code of ethics, they believed in the Red White and Blue. And carried six shooters. But were they considered REAL cowboys? Well that depends on your definition. See back in the old west a cowboy, cowgirl, cow person … Hmmm. anyhow, they were people who lived off the land, drove the cattle across the prairie, branded, doctored their livestock, and mended fences.
However, times have changed and so has the definition. After all, when was the last time you heard of a group of men storm into a town, take it over, shoot up the town and claim it for their own?… hmm, never mind.
Who is to say that these dime store cowboys from the 30s 40s and fifties were not real? We made them real and to this day if you told anyone that watched these programs back then that the Lone Ranger, Gun Smoke, or Bonanza, was not a real cowboy they would probably form a posse and come ah gunnin for ya.
Most actors that that have done these westerns would be the first to tell you that they are not cowboys but they play one on TV. They will also tell you that after their cowboy experience they went from city slickers to bonafide cowboys. Go west young man, go west!
A cowboy is defined by a way of life. We call it cowboy honor. It is your life style, your beliefs, and the way you dress. If you walk out of the house and head to a bar with your cowboy hat on, cowboy boots, dinner plate belt buckle, and a nicely pressed shirt and the only thing you do is sing cowboy songs on karaoke night, or learn a line dance called the tush push.
Or get your 15 minutes of fame in 8 seconds of a ride on the mechanical bull called cupids revenge, then you are a cowboy, if only for a day. Because no matter who you are you have to admit that at some point, we have all wanted to be a cowboy.
I travel the globe spinning my ropes and guns, riding horses in Wild West shows and I write my stories and express my cowboy views, am I a cowboy? Some say NO.
That’s a bit sad!
Also, I play a cowboy in the movies, quite a few movies, now. It seems I have that rough-looking stubbled face that can make me a good guy or a tough guy. That’s great, ‘cos I love making movies and having a great time.
So Mr. Bush, hold tight ’cause the Calvary is coming. I may not agree with your Wild West tactics in Iraq but you are the marshal in this here town. So, I will contest to the fact that you are a cowboy. Now get back up on your horse-powered pick up truck, brush yourself off and get back to work.