So what does 'cowboy' mean anyways?
So why CanadianCowboy.com? I am Canadian in origin, but I'm not a real cowboy i.e.. I don't earn my living on the back of horse. Let's face it, few of us who enjoy the western lifestyle really interact with professional cowboys unless we live in areas where they work. What this site is about is the spirit that it represents, not just the actual profession itself although that is indeed encompassed in the spirit.
The romantic image of the cowboy is known around the world but as with such things, the image is a step removed from reality. The real thing is not just running on a horse, looking the part. It doesn't pay handsomely and is a hard job that sometimes is just not very pretty work. But it is a profession that I respect greatly. Despite the tougher life this might represent, some cowboys (not all, mind you) wouldn't trade their lives for anything as they love what they do and the environment they work in.
The picture above is a painting on my wall by Tim Cox called "Hurry Sun Up" and it really struck me the first time I saw it. Needless to say, this small image is a pale imitation of that fine work for it's a painting that evokes a certain mood. It's about exposure to the elements, camaraderie with animals, the raw power of nature revealed in intimate detail, solitude of the mind and body but not spirit. It's a winter scene that makes me feel what the cowboy in that image feels, a cold winter morning huddling around a dying fire out on the range.
There are days when I think I would like to run away and take a job as a cowboy somewhere, isolated from the ravages of modern-day society. But I think that's just escapism. Sure, I enjoy riding on weekends and competing in IGRA rodeos, two-stepping and all the other western trappings but would I really be able to survive a cowboy's life? Maybe, Maybe not. Perhaps I'll find out someday.
Interestingly, I have found that sometimes the "cowboy" image is derided in some cities but it depends on the location. If I come back from riding in Vancouver and have my hat on still I get some unusual looks that seem to be a blend of fascination and derision. I think there is a notion that if you are "cowboy", that equates with red-neck and unsophisticated. Worse yet, I have heard the comments "how could you possibly enjoy the country-western life and the cowboy image if you're gay?". That's as nonsensical a statement as "If your left handed, how could you possibly ever use your right hand to pick something up?" It's irrelevant.
And so I continue to enjoy riding, roping, two-stepping and dressing western. I love my boots, hats, cowboy gear and rodeo and do my damnedest to be honest, straightforward and kind to others. I think Roy Rodgers would of approved....