Just like there are many different kinds of saddle trees and rope materials, there are several types of cowboys. Some dally, some tie hard and fast, and we could argue all day about the best way to shape a hat. But the technicalities of the trade are a discussion for a different day. Right now, let’s keep a broad perspective and focus more on general classifications than roping style.

Here are examples of a few different types of cowboys I’ve noticed over the years. 

The Weekend Warrior 

This type is easy to spot, because he wants to be seen. After all, he works five days a week in an office and relishes an opportunity to rub elbows with real cowboys in the branding trap every Saturday in May. He can often be heard saying things like, “I’d cowboy for a living, but you just can’t make a living at it.” He is most likely unaware that he’s speaking directly to guys who pay their bills by riding and roping for a living. 

The Wannabe 

This guy wears his spurs to town and never passes up an opportunity to tell people what a handy cowboy he is. He thinks people will overlook the fact that he spends more time riding a barstool than a bucking horse, but anyone with a little common sense will see right through his act. Sadly, most Wannabes fool quite a few people. 

The Rodeo Cowboy

Is he a cowboy, an athlete, a road warrior or a walking billboard? He’s so covered with sponsorship patches that it’s hard to tell. Rodeo cowboys are often the closest contact city folks have to cowboy culture, so let’s just hope everyone walks away with a positive experience and no need for antibiotics.

The Superpuncher

This type of cowboy is easy to identify, because he is sporting a mullet. Dale Brisby pokes a lot of fun and pulls some crazy stunts, but I can’t deny his trademark hairstyle is definitely the most important aspect of cowboying. Anyone who disagrees “ain’t been ranchin’ long, ol’ son.”

The Real Deal 

This is probably the hardest type of cowboy to spot, because he won’t come right out and tell you he’s the real deal. In fact, he’s pretty hard to see at all, unless you like long drives in the desert. And when a real deal cowboy does go to town, he might be wearing a pair of Hey Dude slip-on shoes. It’s nice to give your feet a break when you wear boots for a living. 

The Retiree 

This is one of my favorite types of cowboys. When cowboys reach the stage in their lives where they’re more suited to sitting in an easy chair than a hard saddle seat, they often like to tell stories from their youth to anyone who will listen. I love listening to old cowboys’ stories, especially when each tale has a fresh new twist at the end. Sometimes, it’s not what actually happened, but how we remember it that’s important. 

Author

Jolyn Young lives with her cowboy husband, Jim, and their three kids near Fallon, Nevada. She chooses to focus on the comical side of life, because her family is going to laugh at her anyway.

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