From small towns to big cities, Northeast to Southwest and everywhere in between, communities all across America were celebrating this Saturday as the 10th annual National Day of the Cowboy kicks off. The organization in charge of promoting the event is banking on state and federal legislature to make this holiday an officially-recognized day, rather than the annual resolution that’s passed early each summer every year. Regardless of the political and governmental ramifications, there are hundreds of celebrations taking place across the country to honor the both frontier and cowboy history as well as the surviving spirit of western culture. The celebration also included honoring the pioneer culture that settled the American West.
Cowboys were not just an aspect of the Wild West–the cowboy culture was actually adopted by frontier cattlemen from the vaquero culture of the original Spanish settlers, including aspects of their language (think words like lariat and bronco) to the style of riding their horses. Distinct cowboy subcultures can be traced in four different traditions, including California, Texas, Florida and Hawaii (a deceptively large part of Hawaii is ranch land.) Numerous other parts of the country contained cattle ranches, even as far north and east as Long Island. The cowboy way is truly part of the nation’s history and culture.
Many celebrations of National Day of the Cowboy include displays of western art, cowboy poetry readings or contests, chuck wagon cookouts, parades and demonstrations as well as good-natured competitions, such as New Hampshire’s single-action shootout. Many towns included a strong equestrian element, from a horse-drawn antique wagon parade in Jamestown, New York to a massive celebration at the American Quarter Horse Museum in Amarillo, Texas.