The National Day of the Cowboy is being celebrated nationwide on Saturday, July 22. It will also be celebrated locally at the historic Empire Ranch in southeastern Arizona–one of only three places in Arizona where activities are scheduled for the day.
At the Empire, participants can get a tour of the ranch, demonstrations & cowboy stories. Bring your lunch, desserts on us! Free, open to all, no reservations required. It’s happening from 11am-2pm. The Empire Ranch is located in southeast Arizona. To get there, take the State Route 83 exit off Interstate 10 and head south. Follow the signs to the ranch.
Sedona in central Arizona is one of the spots celebrating the day. Participants can enjoy “a whole lot of cowboy goin’s on,” gunfights, roping, cowboy action shooting, historical re-enactments, musical revues, storytelling, poetry, cowboy/cowgirl outfit contest, country music and performances, presented by Sedona Main Street Program with the “Red Rock Posse” and area businesses, free, 10 am – 8 pm, 928-204-2390 or http://www.sedonamainstreet.com
Another area celebrating the day is in Wickenburg where you can visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Free admission for the entire family all day with creative activities from 10 am to noon. http://www.westernmuseum.org
The era of the cowboy began after the Civil War in the heart of Texas. Cattle were herded long before this time, but in Texas, they grew wild and unchecked. As the country expanded, the demand for beef in the northern territories and states increased. With nearly 5 million head of cattle, cowboys moved the herds on long drives to where the profits were.
The draw of riches and adventure mixed with tales of violence and a backdrop of the Great Plains gave way to the mythological image of the cowboy.
Where the dust settles reveals much of the stoic truth of the American cowboy and cowgirl. The life of a cowboy required a particular ability to live in a frontier world. To do so requires respect, loyalty and a willingness to work hard.
In the words of the former President Bush, “We celebrate the Cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The Cowboy’s love of the land and love of the country are examples for all Americans.”
Here’s how to celebrate if you can’t make it to the Empire Ranch or any of the other places celebrating the National Day of the Cowboy; celebrate with a cowboy you know and post on social media using #NationalDayOfTheCowboy. Enjoy a western novel or movie, attend a rodeo and embrace the cowboy way of life.
According to the National Day of the Cowboy Organization, this day “…is a day set aside to celebrate the contributions of the Cowboy and Cowgirl to America’s culture and heritage.” The NDOC continuously pursues national recognition of National Day of the Cowboy. Currently, 11 states recognize this day. The first celebration was in 2005.
National Day of the Cowboy is observed annually on the fourth Saturday in July.
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