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Among his many talents and activities, rancher Mike Puhallo is the President of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS), a popular poet, artist, poetry editor at Canadian Cowboy Country magazine, and organizer of the Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival.

We're pleased to have his article and his Canadian perspective in "Whence Came the Cowboy," below.  "Whence Came the Cowboy?" is the theme of the 2005 Ninth Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival.

See our separate feature about Mike Puhallo here, which includes some of his poetry.

Your opinions are welcome.  Email us.



More about Mike Puhallo

Mike Puhallo, photo rustled from his web site

Mike Puhallo is one of the most widely published cowboy poets in Canada. He has co-authored three books of cowboy poetry and cartoons with Wendy Liddle and Brian Brannon, and recently completed his fourth book with Wendy Liddle. Mike's poems have been published in numerous magazines and also found their way into his weekly newspaper column Mike's Meadow Muffins. This poet, humourist and rancher also writes for Canadian Cowboy County magazine as their cowboy poetry editor.

Mike has been a working cowboy, a saddle bronc rider, a packer and horse trainer. He currently ranches in partnership with his younger brother, as well as writing and painting western oils. Mike's poetry will reach out and touch western people where they live, through the experiences and feelings that are shared by those who live close to the land. The reason his poetry is so "real" is simple; this cowboy has "bin there an' done that."

You can read Mike's weekly Meadow Muffins on the BCCHS Cowboy Poets' page and at Cowboylife.com.


See our feature about Mike Puhalllo here, which includes some 
of his poetry and more about him

Whence Came the Cowboy?

by Mike Puhallo  


Hollywood might have us believe that the cowboy is a purely American icon born on the Texas plains. It is true that the great cattle drives of the post Civil War era provided the world with a brand new heroic figure.

From the lowly dime novels to the silver screen, the legend of the cowboy grew into the most recognizable image the world has ever seen.

Of course, it is a whole different perspective when cowboy is what you do instead of how you look.

From the Chilcotin Plateau to Argentina, from the Scottish Highlands to the land Down Under, cattlemen from nearly every continent have added to the legacy that began on the Andalusian Plains of central Spain.

People had been raising cattle in North Africa since way back in the Ice Age, but it was the Spanish vaquero who truly developed the art of ranching and working cattle on horseback. Over five hundred years ago they brought that culture to the New World. The culture of the vaquero thrived in California and old Mexico, while in Texas it evolved along a slightly different path, influenced by the many African American cowboys employed on the large Texas ranches as well as the influx of Southerners after the Civil War.

Whence came the cowboy? I think that question comes in for a little extra consideration here in Canada's Original Cowtown, because here in Southern British Columbia the ancient cattle traditions of the Scots and English met and merged with the ways of the California vaquero. This is where the first Indian cowboys in Canada learned their trade, riding alongside their Metis brothers.

English remittance men and the sons of Chinese prospectors have herded cattle and swapped lies with the descendants of Alabama slaves, Austrian aristocrats and Shuswap Chiefs in these bunchgrass hills.

Cowboys come from many diverse backgrounds and cultures and each has added something to the legend that just keeps on growing.

2005, Mike Puhallo, All rights reserved
This article may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This article first appeared in the BC Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS) 2005 Winter/Spring newsletter.  "Whence Came the Cowboy" is the theme of the Ninth Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival


See our feature about Mike Puhalllo here, which includes some 
of his poetry and more about him






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