To some the cowboy way is a way of life. A code of ethics if you will. But what about the Cowgirl Way?
Has anyone ever put their finger on what a “cowgirl” really is? Let alone, what it really means? I’ve read many an article, but none can really put their finger on what a “true” cowgirl is. That is until today.
It’s been said, “That behind every good man, there’s a good woman.”. For the most part, I have found in life, this to be one of the truest statement I’ve ever come across!
Let’s rope and flank this mystery and put a brand on it before mama finds out shall we?
Through life you will encounter many people claiming to be something. But in the end, they are generally seen for who or what they really are. In the case of a cowboy, you just know one when you see one. They’ve been around for as long as anyone can remember and their way of life is unique. No other way of life holds a candle to it.
But what of the cowgirl?
The Women of the West came about (gained notoriety) in the 1920’s, back when side saddles, corsets and wanting to do more, were taking an upswing and sadly, being looked down upon. With the Wild West Shows in full swing, they were becoming highly publicized and getting a lot of notoriety along the way. Annie Oakley, Cattle Kate and Calamity Jane, to name a few, helped put Women of the West on the map. Even going so far as to changing the traditional corset and cumbersome filderah that women once wore to a more functional clothing still befitting a woman, yet versatile enough to function on horseback. Now around the same time, the Eastern culture met Western culture somewhere along the way and brought “bling” into the picture. With the hearts on the boots and inlays in spurs, belts and of course even batwing chaps. The very bling that we see today was not one of the latest brainstorms, but adaptions thereof, of something that started a very long time ago.
Now a cowgirl, is more of a rancher/farmer type. The article, Making a Living & Building a Life:
Ranchwomen in Early Arizona History by Jessica Nierad, best explains in detail how ranchwomen (cowgirls) made large contributions and helped improve this unique way of life. Ranchwomen knew that all things (including themselves) played an important role in the day-to-day workings of the ranch or farm. They could also rope (if they had to), brand, milk cows and even doctor the animals when necessary.
They carry an attitude with them that can be compared by no other than their counterpart, the cowboy. A cowgirl can generally do as good a job (if not better) than the cowboy and as a rule, look good doing it too. 😉 They are more resourceful and stand by their morals and values and have integrity. They are kind to others and kind to a fault. They carry the load of the family on their shoulders and have incredible coolness under pressure.
As with the cowboy, a cowgirl has purpose. They both work the land and the land works for them. Each and everything in their life HAS a purpose and they aren’t afraid to dig in and get dirty either. They appreciate life and the wonders that it holds. From the fresh morning sun on their cheeks to the first snow of winter. They will willingly give their jacket to that lost calf they found in the snow storm. Or, stay up all night to nurse a sick one. Knowing and prayin’ that if you can just make it ’til the morning sun, they’ll make it thru ok.
A cowgirl is not one that simply takes the horse out on the town with the top down to look impressive. Owning a horse is not a status symbol or the latest fad. Nor do cowgirls go around sporting their finest duds in an attempt to appear to the world as a COWGIRL. Is this simply a feable attempt to mask who or what they really are?
Cowgirls can wear bling, but it’s not necessary. They know the country life is the life for them.
I think Dale Evans said it best when she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
“Cowgirl is an attitude, really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands, they speak up. They defend things they hold dear.”
Dale Evans, 1995 Hall of Fame Honoree
This article was written by a 5th generation ranchers’ daughter. One that has great integrity and willing to stand for and live by the very morals and values that have been handed down from generation to generation. She is a successful entrepeneur and manages the ranch she lives on. She is doctor for the animals, nurse to the family and teacher to the children.