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Events across America celebrated the sixth annual National Day of the Cowboy, July 24, 2010. 

The National Day of the Cowboy is celebrated each year on the 4th Saturday of July.

American Cowboy magazine launched the National Day of the Cowboy in 2004. The magazine continues to celebrate the event, as does the active National Day of the Cowboy organization, headed by Bethany Braley.

The National Day of the Cowboy for 2011 is July 23.

Read below about a special  Art Spur for the National Day of the Cowboy.


Special Art Spur for the 2010 National Day of the American Cowboy; painting by Joelle Smith


copyright 2009 by Lori Faith Merritt ( www.photographybyfaith.com) "Heading In"
2009 Art Spur; photograph by Lori Faith Merritt

2008 Art Spur; photograph by Chanda Snook

2007 Art Spur; painting by Don Dane

2006 Art Spur; photograph by Jeri Dobrowski

Previous years' National Day of the Cowboy features:


 Visit these sites for more about the annual event:

National Day of the Cowboy

National Day of the Cowboy: My Space

National Day of the Cowboy: Facebook


National Day of the American Cowboy





Art Spur 

Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"'She's a Hand" © 1993 by Joelle Smith, www.joellesmith.com

She's a Hand," a painting by notable Western artist Joelle Smith (1958-2005). The painting was inspired by Oregon cowgirl Mindy Kershner's participation in the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo

"She's a Hand" was the image selected for the 2009 "Cowboy Keeper Award" from the National Day of the Cowboy organization. Director Bethany Braley tells that Joelle Smith's work inspired the award, which is given to "organizations and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the preservation of Western heritage."

Joelle Smith's painting, "Heading Home," was the official poster for Cowboy Poetry Week, 2006, the cover art for The BAR-D Roundup CD, and an Art Spur subject.

Poetry submissions were welcome from all, through July 20, 2010. Submissions are now closed. Find the selected poems here.

Joelle Smith's work is familiar to many in the posters she has done for Cowboy Poetry and Music Gatherings, including the Santa Clarita Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, the Visalia Roundup; for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame; and for Western music albums, including those for Don Edwards, Lorraine Rawls, and Wylie and the Wild West.

Joelle got her first pony, George, when she was ten. This was not the start of her love of horses, but was the first real horse that came into her life. She even chose the college she attended because they had a school pasture where she could keep her horse.  

Joelle's life revolved around her love of horses, both in her work and in the rest of her life.  She lived with her mother, Sally, on twenty acres in Alfalfa, Oregon, along with seven horses. Sally contributes as secretary for Joelle's business, as well as chief cookie baker. She has become known as "Cookie Mom" at Joelle's shows for the cookies that she brings.

Joelle spent her mornings with the horses and painted in the afternoons and evenings.  The horses came first in her life just as they came first in her daily schedule.

Her favorite subject was horses, and these she painted with true passion.  "The art came from the horses," she explained. The love of horses was always there and so was the art, but the horses came first."

All of Joelle's subjects were real horses, real places and real people. She did not pose them for her paintings, but tried to capture a slice of life in a documentary style. Many of the horses in her paintings are her own, as they were close by.  She made at least two trips out of the area a year to gather material.

Joelle's work is a reflection of her experiences on ranches throughout the West.  Her paintings are records of contemporary Western life, her legacy to future generations.

Joelle was invited to display her work at the 2006 Prix de West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, an accomplishment she strived for during her entire career.

On August 5, 2005, Joelle lost her valiant three year battle with cancer. Though her physical presence here on earth is and will always be greatly missed, her legacy of work will live on.  

Read more about Joelle Smith and see more of her work in our feature here.

Visit the Joelle Smith web site for more information and more of her art, including originals, open and limited editions, posters, sculpture, and more.




Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"Heading Out"
© 2009, Lori Faith Merritt, www.photographybyfaith.com

The photograph by Lori Faith Merritt, called "Heading Out," pictures cowboy and poet Georgie Sicking and Minnesota cowboy and rancher Sam Scott (fiancé of poet Diane Tribitt). See the resulting poems here.



© 2008, Chanda Snook
Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
Learnin' the Ropes

The 2008 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur featured  "Learnin' the Ropes," a photograph by Wyoming rancher and photographer Chanda Snook of South Dakota rancher Andy Ridley and Jesse Thybo. Read the selected poems here.




watercolor 12x18
© 2007 Don Dane Studio
Reproduction is strictly prohibited without authorization from Don Dane Studio
"Great Day to be a Cowboy"

The 2007 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur featured  "Great Day to be a Cowboy," a painting by notable Kansas artist, Don Dane.  Read the resulting poems here.


photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, obtain permission for reproduction rights
"Leadin' a Spare"

The 2006 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur featured "Leadin' a Spare," a photograph of South Dakota rancher Robert Dennis by photographer and writer Jeri Dobrowski. Read the resulting poems here.










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