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A cowboy is no “boy” as it sounds but according to the Webster’s dictionary, a cowboy is “somebody who is hired to take care of the cattle, performing duties on a horseback, particularly in the western United States”. Although the culture has been popularized by many western movies in the past, the cowboy culture still exists despite the decline in themed movie-making.
Many cowboys still live across the US although the mode of their transport has modernized from a horse to four wheelers or pickup trucks. Tennessee cowboys are no different and have also gone modern themselves over time. Although the clothing like cowboy boots, the western gun holster and transport modes have changed, the Tennessee cowboys still follow the same rules, code of conduct and standards that were set by the cowboys of the earlier generations.
Changing times have changes the perception of a cowboy somewhat. This change has been partly because of the western movies and partly due to the changing technology and times.
The original cowboys of Tennessee were soldiers form the American civil war that had lost their homes and did not know where to return to and hence drifted west generally since at that time the west was a wide open and barren country and men only carried what they could on horsebacks. These lost men were then often hired by ranch owners to look after their livestock in order to tend to them and round up the wilder variety from their midst. When the cattle were ready to be slaughtered, the cowboys were responsible to round them up and herd them to the markets that were miles away.
This era lasted for almost three decades during which the Tennessee cowboys who also herded cattle became folklore and made a lasting impression on the American history. A cowboy is not necessarily the one who sports a wrangler and boots, along with wide-brimmed hats that carried guns. As the Tennessee cowboy folklore is more about a way of life and it defined living life with utmost passion and to its fullest, even in movies we have generally seen a cowboy as the one who was free to go anywhere on the prairies with nothing or no one to stop him. This depicts the freedom that life has to offer to anyone who is willing to take it.
The cowboy culture is what every American hangs on to, even today. Although the Wranglers, boots and hats will never go out of fashion and the country music will always sound as sweet, collecting the cowboy relics and cherishing them everyone in America immense pleasure. To adopt this, we do not need to wear a pair of Wranglers or hang on to boots and hats, having a great passion and living life to the fullest is what matters as far as the Tennessee cowboy culture goes.
If you want to have a feel of this western way of life and want your kids to know more about their history, there can be nothing better than a family trip to Tennessee. Let your kids have a look at the cowboy lifestyle by visiting a ranch and participating in the activities there.
write by Mazhar Qureshi