Events across America celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy, July 22, 2006. Read more about the celebration and its history at the National Day of the American Cowboy site.
What is the "National Day of the Cowboy" all about? We found the most articulate (and inspiring) answer in a column by American Cowboy magazine editor Jesse Mullins, Jr., one of the West's most eloquent spokesmen. Read his words below.
"Make Your Day"
by American Cowboy magazine editor Jesse Mullins, Jr.
Special Art Spur, "Leadin' a Spare"
We welcome your news and event information. Email us.
"Make Your Day"
What is the "National Day of the Cowboy" all about? We found the most articulate (and inspiring) answer in a column by American Cowboy magazine editor Jesse Mullins, Jr., one of the West's most eloquent spokesmen.
Posted with the kind permission of Jesse Mullins, Jr. and American Cowboy magazine, following is the "Editor's Letter" from the July/August, 2006 issue.
Make Your Day
The National Day of the American Cowboy is a day for all Americans.
It’s a big world, this Western world that we all share. Sometimes it seems almost too big to comprehend—rather like many worlds within one. There is the agricultural/ranching side. The historical West. The geographical/geological/ecological West. The world of Western art, culture, music, and self-expression. The
HollywoodWest. Rodeo is a world unto itself, with its own past, present, and future—its own culture, in fact. There are the devotees of equine sports and horse shows, and their world is a lifestyle as well as a sport. There’s a consumer/business West. There is the West of Native Peoples—and here again are worlds within worlds.
Almost every department of this magazine touches upon some completely different world than do the others. There is a West of the imagination, of human attitudes and outlooks—a West of the spirit. There is the political West, the ideological West, the half-of-this-nation West. There is the world of Western-minded people, and they are as solid in their devotion, and as disparate in their ways of expressing it—from straight-arrow conventional to rebellious nonconformist—as one can imagine.
One could swap the word “cowboy” or “cowboy mindset” for “West” in about half those descriptions and still be saying the same thing—the two terms have so much overlap.
In putting together a magazine such as this, it’s an endless but rewarding challenge to stay atop the many facets of the West and Western people. It’s just a big, big world. The message here? You, neighbor, are a part of something bigger than perhaps you are fully aware. And not just something big, but something important. Weighty. A thing of potential and power—power for change.
Recently, some of us at this magazine were discussing our reasons for doing what we do. And it became clear that, beyond the fact of making a living, and beyond even the cause of upholding the cowboy way, there was something more. That something more is, hopefully, to help build up, or build back, the great qualities of this country of ours. Because our nation is in need of that kind of help. We would like to think that in producing this magazine we are helping to build a better
The same goes for you. When you support the Cowboy Way, you are doing more than merely expressing your personal taste or promoting the cowboy cause. You, too, are helping to build a better
On July 22, the nation observes the National Day of the American Cowboy, a resolution that was conceived and drafted by this magazine, and inspired, promoted, and encouraged by its readers. Local events have been organized across the land. We encourage you to get out and attend one. Be sure to check our webpage at http://cowboyday.cowboy.com because new events are coming online weekly.
When you arrive at a celebration, you will have accomplished something. You will have increased the crowd size by yet one more individual. That is significant. If someone asks you why you are there, you can do even more—you can voice your support for the Cowboy Way and the country it serves. If a reporter happens to be there and you happen to be asked why you attended, then neighbor, you know what to say. Tell ’em—and tell ’em why ever more Americans ought to do the same.
It’s possible to imagine this country being changed for the better by voters voting for particular measures or for particular candidates or by citizens writing letters or boycotting certain products or doing the typical things that people do to try to bring about change. But if real, lasting, significant change is what someone wants, it has to start with the character of the citizenry itself. This country will be turned around when the character of its citizenry is turned around. And the character of its citizenry will be changed when people stand up and show by example and by action exactly what kind of character is important to them.
So help swell the ranks, neighbors, and let’s make this National Day of the American Cowboy an event to make
—Jesse Mullins, Jr.
© 2006, Jesse Mullins, Jr., All rights reserved
Reprinted with permission from American Cowboy magazine
This article may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Art SpurLeadin' a Spare," a photograph of South Dakota rancher Robert Dennis by photographer and writer Jeri Dobrowski.
It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem.
In Art Spur, we invite poets to let selections of Western art and photography inspire their poetry.
Our eighth piece offered to "spur" the imagination, as part of the celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy (July 22, 2006) is "
photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, obtain permission for reproduction rights
"Leadin' a Spare"
Jeri Dobrowski's photography is familiar to Western readers. Her photos have been featured in magazines including American Cowboy, Cowboy Magazine and True West, and in books, newspapers, program books, brochures, and on CDs. She is well known as a journalist and the author of Cowboy Jam Session, a monthly column of Western culture news and reviews. She also designs and edits books and CD projects.
"Leadin' a Spare" is one of the photos taken during a shoot for a Cowboy Magazine cover story about Robert Dennis (read the entire story and see additional photos here).
"Leadin' a Spare" depicts Robert Dennis and a father and a son pair of horses. He is leading the father of the horse he is riding. Jeri Dobrowski comments, "That always is a source of pride for ranchers, cattlemen, and horsemen: to have two and sometimes three generations of a bloodline and have them all be good working and using horses."
A panel of qualified judges helped make a blind selection of five top poems from those submitted, and the poems below were posted on July 21, 2006, in celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy, July 22, 2006.
Following are links to the poems:A Rancher's Pride, by Rod Nichols
Bringing Along a Spare Bringing Along a Spare, by Elizabeth Ebert
Leadin' a Spare Leadin' a Spare, by Diane Tribitt
Company Company, by Ken Cook
Leading a Spare, by Yvonne Hollenbeck
And, there's a special additional poem:
Poet Sam A. Jackson was one of the qualified judges for this Art Spur competition. Sam conceived and produces the world's only Cowboy Poetry Rodeo. While considering the many exceptional poems and the "Leading a Spare" photograph, Sam was inspired to share his own related poem, a story from his youth. It's presented here with an illustration by artist (and Sam's wife) Reneé Jackson.
See more about this Art Spur piece here.
Jo Lynne Kirkwood shares photos and commentary from the July, 2006 celebration of the National Day of the American Cowboy by the Cowboy Poets of Utah in Sevier, Utah. Among the participants were Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks, Colen Sweeten, Al Clark, Jan Erickson, Terrill Staples, Val Carter, Marion and Vi Manwill and Barbara Hall. See it all here.
Diane Tribitt has a report with photos about the July, 2006 celebration of the National Day of the American Cowboy at the High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish, South Dakota. Diane performed along with Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns and others. This event was covered by National Public Radio and the Voice of America. Read the entire report here.
[photo of Diane Tribitt and Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns courtesy of the High Plains Western Heritage Center]
An article in the Voice of America news, "Cowboys Celebrated in South Dakota," by Jim Kent, tells of the National Day of the Cowboy celebration at the High Plains Western Heritage Center in South Dakota. Center Director Peggy Ables is quoted about cowboy and randhing life, "The further you go into the West, the more obvious it becomes that it is a way of life that people can observe and appreciate." Read the article here, which is accompanied by sound files.
The Heritage of the American West show celebrates the National Day of the Cowboy with poet, picker, and songwriter DW Groethe on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 7PM Mountain. The show, with a live audience, is also broadcast on the radio and live on the web. Read more about the Heritage of the American West in our feature here and more at the Heritage of the American West web site where there is a PDF with more information about the National Day of the Cowboy show.
National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday aired a piece about the National Day of the Cowboy celebration planned by the High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish, South Dakota. The report, titled "Nation Tips its Hat to the American Cowboy," is described, "Spearfish, S.D., is the center of all cowboy activities /history / memorabilia in a five-state region and is planning a celebration to commemorate the national 'Day of the Cowboy' later in the week. The focus will be the historic cattle drive trail from Texas to Montana. Ranchers whose families have been in these states for generations will attend." You can listen to the story here.
The High Plains Western Heritage Center is the home of the Heritage of the American West show, "music and poetry of the great American Cowboy" on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM (MT), with a live audience and broadcast simultaneously on the web. Their special National Day of the Cowboy show on July 19, 2006 features the music and poetry of DW Groethe. See the Heritage of the American West web site for the show's schedule and to listen to archived broadcasts.
The July, 2006 edition of Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session column has a focus on the National Day of the Cowboy ( July 22, 2006) and the American Cowboy magazine effort, along with editor Jesse Mullins Jr.'s recent editorial, and more. Read the July, 2006 column here.
Barbara T. Kasmiroski honors the cowboy with her latest collectible ornament, "The COWBOY!." The accompanying brochure includes E. A. Brininstool's poem, "A Cowboy's Version," some history, a description of cowboy work and gear, and acknowledgement of the National Day of the Cowboy (July 22, 2006). Barbara writes, "I have always admired our cowboys and other people should too...I just want people to know that a cowboy is a great person and the cowboy way is a good way..." See the piece and find more information about it and her other ornaments in the series at her web site: www.babbees.com.
A June 27, 2006 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum media release:
Museum Gears Up to Celebrate Second Annual National Day of the American Cowboy
No celebration of the National Day of the American Cowboy would be complete without special activities at the National Cowboy and Western Museum® in Oklahoma City. American Cowboy magazine launched the campaign for the
national recognition in 2004, and support-in the form of pleas made to legislators and to the White House-contributed strongly to the measure's passage initially in 2005 and again in 2006.
The National Cowboy Museum joins dozens, if not hundreds, of venues across the nation in hosting special activities on the fourth Saturday in July, which this year falls on July 22. Museum visitors can expect a few added treats in addition to the smorgasbord of cowboy culture and art routinely served up in the Museum's galleries and gardens.
Museum spokesperson Leslie Baker says visitors will receive stickers commemorating the day, and the first 500 visitors will receive bandanas courtesy of Purina Mills. Cowboy singer and songwriter Gary S. Pratt of Madill, Oklahoma, will entertain at the entrance, and Oklahoma City fiddler Jim Garling will play in other areas of the complex. In addition, the Oklahoma State Rodeo Boosters will be on hand demonstrating how to rope, or lasso, what is known as a "roping dummy." Such practice roping is how cowboys hone their skills, and it is how beginners are taught to rope.
In addition to the special National Day of the American Cowboy offerings, the Museum's temporary exhibitions on July 22 include: Early Rodeos in the Extreme Sports Tradition, which will end on July 23; The Wildlife Art of Bob Kuhn; the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale; and The First 100 Years: Southern Plains Painting and Drawing, an official Oklahoma Centennial Event.
Several permanent galleries at the Museum focus on cowboys including: the American Cowboy Gallery; the Western Performers Gallery, completed in 2003; and the American Rodeo Gallery. Children can play out their dreams of
dressing up like cowboys and learning about ranch life in the popular Children's Cowboy Corral.
When American Cowboy magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2004, it asked readers, "Does the cowboy need his day?" From the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response, the decision was made to draft a resolution that reads in part, "A resolution designating a day as "The National Day of the American Cowboy" and encouraging people to recognize the cowboy and the cowgirl for their enduring contribution to the courageous, pioneering spirit of America."
The magazine initiated the campaign, "out of a feeling that The Cowboy's courage, hard work and honesty, played an integral part in adding to the deep, solid foundation on which America is built, and as such deserves to be honored and recognized." The magazine continues to serve as a clearinghouse for events through its web site www.cowboyday.com
Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City's Adventure District at the junction of I-44 and I-35. The Museum offers annual memberships that include year-round admission for six people. The Museum is a nonprofit organization supported through private and corporate donations. Museum Partners include Devon Energy Corporation, Mustang Fuel Corporation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation.
For more information call (405) 478-2250.
The July/August, 2006 issue of American Cowboy magazine reports on the National Day of the Cowboy (July 22, 2006). The original resolution was conceived and drafted by the magazine, "and inspired, promoted, and encouraged by its readers." The issue includes editor Jesse Mullins, Jr.'s comments on the day (see the article above); an article that tells about Jeff Hildebrandt 's Encore Westerns channel interviews with U. S. Senators who co-sponsored the national resolution (read more about those below); and a list of events.
Read more at the magazine's National Day of the American Cowboy web site, where you can also list your events. (Our special National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur project is included in the listed events.)
Read more about the current issue's contents here at the BAR-D and in our feature about American Cowboy here.
Jeff Hildebrandt of the Encore Westerns channel writes:
Just wanted to let you know that Encore Westerns is promoting the National Day of the Cowboy. As Managing Producer and resident cowboy poet for Encore Westerns, I saddled up and headed to Washington D. C., to talk with a number of the U. S. Senators who co-sponsored the resolution marking July 22nd as the National Day of the Cowboy.
photo courtesy Jeff Hildebrandt and Encore Westerns
Jeff Hildebrandt with Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
Senator Mike Crapo from Idaho explained, "The American Cowboy continues to symbolize the American ideals of freedom and fair play. That's why I salute The National Day of the American Cowboy."
photo courtesy Jeff Hildebrandt and Encore Westerns
Jeff Hildebrandt with Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N. D.)
North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan remembered this historical tidbit, "Teddy Roosevelt once said that Cowboys don't walk so good, they spend most of their day in the saddle. But they're straight talkers and straight shooters and helped build this great country of ours."
Colorado Senator Ken Salazar told Encore Westerns, "I'm proud that July 22nd is the National Day of the Cowboy. It's important for us to cherish our heritage and to celebrate the cowboy history of the Western United States and especially in my state of Colorado."
photo courtesy Jeff Hildebrandt and Encore Westerns
Jeff Hildebrandt with Senator John Thune (R-S. D.)
You can hear what everyone had to say about cowboys on Encore Westerns in June and July.
Joe Baker of the Back Forty Bunkhouse will "develop, implement, and manage a comprehensive membership program for the National Day of the Cowboy" organization. Read more at the National Day of the Cowboy site and the Back Forty Bunkhouse web site.
T. J. Casey has been named as an official spokesperson for the National Day of the Cowboy. Read more at T. J. Casey's web site, and visit the National Day of the Cowboy web site for more about their mission and activities.
National Day of the American Cowboy
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