Outside Scoop: Cowboys and Cowgirls
Before you put your boots on and hit the rodeo, here’s a brief history on the people who helped settle the West
This month, we celebrate an American icon, the cowboy and cowgirl. Here in the Vail Valley, there are many generations of ranchers, farmers and other communities who work the land and are considered cowboys and cowgirls. Typically, a cowboy or cowgirl is defined as someone who tends to cattle on ranches in North America.
Historically, cowboys and cowgirls helped settle the West (land West of the Mississippi River) and had many, many jobs beyond looking after livestock. There were always buildings and fences to be repaired from harsh weather and dozens of chores when not driving cattle.
A classic event to watch cowboy and cowgirl action is the rodeo. Different events might include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and riding, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and others.
Did you know cowboys and cowgirls used to sing songs at night not just to entertain themselves, but also to calm the cows?
Did you there are 1,000 varieties of cows in the world, but the Hereford is supposed to be the friendliest of all?
The average cowboy or cowgirl earned between $25 and $40 a month in the Old West. Today, in 2021, Colorado is consistently ranked in the top 10 states to still find working cowboys and cowgirls.