A cowboy tends to the cattles in ranches in Northern America often horseback riding while performing varied tasks. The term “cowboy” of Northern America came from the Spanish word “vaquero” derived from the word “vacca” meaning cow .
Cowboys rise up very early in the morning to guide the herd for the next stop. The senior cowboy goes to the front of the herd while the junior cowboy stays at the back. Around twelve cowboys are needed to tend a 3,000 cattle. Working alongside the cowboys is the trail boss, camp cook and wrangler .
A cowboy’s attire has been designed to be functional. The hat is wide and with floppy rims as protection from the sun; it can be used to scoop water or a pillow. The bandana is worn around the neck to cover a cowboy’s nose from the dust. The vest is worn as protection from the cold wind. The pockets in the vest holds various items like tobacco or cigarettes.
Boots with two-inch heels rest well in the stirrup and also to dig into the group while roping a cattle. The chaps protect the cowboys from thorns. The bridle, lariat and a six-shooter completes the cowboy attire .
Cowboys live by an unwritten code. Examples of such code are to be courteous and say “howdy”, don’t wave at a man who is on a horse but nod instead, never ride on another man’s horse without permission, give assistance to someone in need and never to put on another man’s hat .
In the Old West, many who worked as a cowboy were young usually in their teens. The energy of the youth was what was needed that times as the tasks were tedious. Some of the tasks that cowboys had to perform were to: treat the horses’ and cattles’ wounds from blowflies and other pests to avoid contamination; brand and de-horn cattles on the ranch or during round-ups; chase runaway cattles; drive the cattles through streams and rivers .
The chuckwagon is an important asset to cowboys while on the trail. It does not serve only as a kitchen and the center for socials among cowboys, it also carries everything needed while on the trail and it also serve as a general store.
Aside from water, food, tools and bedrolls, a chuckwagon carries medicine, extra wagon wheels, axle grease, ropes and canvasses .
Cowboys do sing, not only for entertainment but mainly to calm down the cattle at night and prevent stampede among the cattles. Popular songs to sing were “Old Dan Tucker”, “Nearer My God To Thee,” “In the Sweet By and By” or “The Texas Lullaby” .
Arbuckles coffee was known as the first cowboy coffee. Unlike the early coffee that has to be roasted on fire and the inconsistency of roasting ruin the taste. The Arbuckle brothers were able to roast coffee beans which were sold in bags and it became very popular among the cowboys that they prefer only the Arbuckles for coffee. Ariosa blend is known as the Original Cowboy Coffee .
Cowboys have slangs for things. Some examples are: Adam’s Ale (water); Airin’ the lungs (for cussing); Airin’ the punch (to vomit); Down to the blanket (for broke); Nymphs du Prairie (for Prostitutes) .
When cowboys are not on the trail, they live together in a bunkhouse in the ranch premises. During the early times, bunkhouses were called as the doghouse, the dive, the shack, the dump, the dice house or ram pasture.
The ten-gallon western cowboy
was created for Buffalo Bill Cody who wanted a larger-than-life western show. The hat has an ironic name as it can’t hold 10-gallons of anything at all. The usual cowboy hat is a Stetson with s high crown and wide brim .