Cowboy culture

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Western lifestyle or cowboy culture is the lifestyle, or behaviorisms, of, and resulting from the influence of, the (often romanticized) attitudes, ethics and history of the American western cowboy.[1] In the present day these influences affect this sector of the population's choice of recreation, western wear, partaking of western cuisine and Southwestern cuisine, and enjoyment of the western genre and western music.


The origins of cowboy culture go back to the Spanish vaqueros who settled in New Mexico and later Texas bringing cattle.[2] By the late 1800s, one in three cowboys were Mexican and brought to the lifestyle its iconic symbols of hats, bandanas, spurs, stirrups, lariat, and lasso.[3] With westward movement brought many distinct ethnicities all with their own cultural traditions. Welsh Americans, as one example, had a history in Wales of cattle and sheep droving, that incorporated well into ranch work.[4]

Welsh Drovers


In the late 19th century, folk tales about cowboys and attempts to commercialize on cowboy life by selling exaggerated ideas of it in novels and fashion became popular.[5]

Dime novels[edit]

Beginning in the 1860s, dime novels began sharing erroneous and highly romanticized tales of the West, feeding the public's interest in the trade and life West of the Mississippi.[6]

Radio, film and television[edit]

Throughout the 20th century, radio, film and television had a profound effect on the fashion and mannerisms that built the foundation of what it meant to be living a western lifestyle, however most of this was more Hollywood glitz and glamour than historical narrative.[7]

Display of Gene Autry memorabilia


In the 1980s, following the urbanization of much of the Texas population, there was a marked revival of cowboy culture with the creation of a number of organizations devoted to its preservation, among them the American Cowboy Culture Association.[8]

Notable people[edit]

The following is a list of notable people who lived or are living a western lifestyle post to its technological and societal change at the beginning of the 20th century. This list does not include those of whom lived during the 19th century who were living in what was considered the Old West and preoccupied with the western norms of the day.

To be included in this list, the person must be notable and either have a Wikipedia article showing they were or are influenced by the western lifestyle or must have references showing their claim. This is not a list for artists or entertainers who were playing a western role or create a subject of western art for which they are only credited. Likewise, it is neither for a politician who has only been photographed in a cowboy hat for an event, nor a celebrity who wears cowboy boots. Many included in this list participated in multiple classifications and are solely placed under the classification they were most recognized.



Film and television[edit]





Rodeo and Wild West performer[edit]

Barrel racing[edit]

Bull riding[edit]



Steer wrestling[edit]

Notable livestock and companions[edit]

Bucking bulls[edit]

  • Bushwacker, three-time World Champion Professional Bull Riders (PBR) bucking bull, PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration: Brand of Honor bull
  • Bodacious, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and PBR champion title holder, "world's most dangerous bull," Hall of Fame bull
  • Bruiser, (2016-2018) consecutive three-time World Champion PBR bucking bull, 2017 PRCA Bucking Bull of the Year, in the running in 2019 to become first 4-time world champion
  • Little Yellow Jacket (2002-2004) consecutive three-time World Champion PBR bucking bull, PBR Heroes and Legends inaugural 2011 Brand of Honor bull

Entertainment horses[edit]

Rodeo horses[edit]

  • Scamper, 10 Women's Professional Rodeo Association World Barrel Racing Championships, 7 National Finals Rodeo Average championships, first barrel horse inducted into ProRodeo Hall of Fame
  • Scottie, steer wrestling, the chestnut gelding was able to take three cowboys to four world championships, hall of fame horse

Notable entities[edit]



Ghost towns open for tourism[edit]

Historic Properties[edit]

Movie ranches still in operation[edit]



Theme Parks[edit]


Notable media[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dary, David (1989). Cowboy Culture: A Saga of Five Centuries (second ed.). Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. p. xi. ISBN 978-0-7006-0390-9.
  2. ^ Dary 1989, p. 3
  3. ^ "'The Magnificent Seven,' 'The Lone Ranger,' and the Whitewashing of Western Movies". The Atlantic. October 5, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  4. ^ Robin Turner (January 20, 2016). "The Welsh roots of America's Wild West gunslingers revealed". Wales Online. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Davis, Kenneth C. (2003). Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned (1st ed.). New York: HarperCollins. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-06-008381-6.
  6. ^ "Dime Novels". Newberry. Archived from the original on April 7, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Slapping Leather: Two Westerns that are Actually Accurate | Field & Stream". October 16, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Slatta, Richard W. (1996). "American Cowboy Culture Association". The Cowboy Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-393-31473-1. Originally published by ABC-CLIO, : Santa Barbara, California, in 1994.

External links[edit]