Five Tips For Mastering The Modern Cowboy Way
by Esme Addison
A modern cowboy could be described as someone who embraces the traditional values and lifestyle of the cowboy while also adapting to the modern world. They often have a love for the outdoors, a strong work ethic, and a rugged individualism that values independence and self-sufficiency.
Modern men are increasingly embracing a trend of adopting cowboy ways, including traditional values like rugged individualism, a love of the outdoors, and a strong work ethic. This trend reflects a desire for authenticity, independence, and a return to simpler, more authentic ways of living.
This movement has gained popularity among men in recent years, as many seek to get back to nature and engage in more rugged, manly activities. By incorporating cowboy culture into their lives, men can experience numerous benefits for their physical and mental health, as well as their overall well-being.
The New York Times published an article in 2016 titled “The Urban Cowboy Lifestyle is Back,” which highlighted the growing trend of young professionals living in urban areas and adopting a cowboy lifestyle. The article described how these urban cowboys were incorporating elements of cowboy culture into their daily lives, from wearing cowboy hats and boots to attending line dancing classes and even riding horses. For many, the cowboy lifestyle represents a connection to nature and a simpler way of life that is often lacking in urban environments.
Another example of the modern cowboy trend can be seen in the popularity of western-themed restaurants and bars among young city-dwellers. In a 2018 article for the Wall Street Journal, writer Julie Jargon explored the phenomenon of millennials’ love for ranch dressing, which she argued was a result of the growing popularity of western-themed eateries. These establishments, which often feature rustic decor and cowboy-themed menus, provide a space for urban cowboys to connect with each other and embrace their love for cowboy culture.
I have seen in my own small-town and among family members, a desire to get back to nature, work with their hands and just spend time doing things reminiscent of a simpler time. These observations coupled with tv watching with my dad – he loves old westerns like Gunsmoke and Cheyenne – inspired me to write this article. Come to think of it – I have family outside of Charlotte that raised and showed (shown?) horses at competition. Maybe that’s why I love to wear boots – I’ve got a little bit of cowgirl in me.
I was actually surprised to find that both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal had written about this, and that it was in fact a trend. At any rate, this will be the start of my series I’m calling The Rugged Roadmap. In case anyone out there is interested in being a cowboy… you’re welcome!
To fully embrace the urban cowboy lifestyle, there are several key steps to follow:
How to Be A Modern Day Cowboy
Learn about cowboy culture and history
The first step to becoming an modern cowboy is to learn about the history and culture of the cowboy way of life. This includes learning about the role cowboys played in shaping the American West, as well as the values and traditions that are still celebrated today.
Start watching old cowboy tv shows like Big Valley and Rawhide. Newer ones too, like Yellowstone. And for kicks and giggles, why not Cowboys And Aliens?
After watching numerous black and white cowboys with my dad, I’ve decided I like Tales Of Wells Fargo the best. There’s just something about that Jim Hardie I really like. He’s a little bit cowboy and a little refined.
Dress like a cowboy
One of the most recognizable aspects of cowboy culture is the attire. Modern cowboys can incorporate this into their daily lives by wearing cowboy boots, hats, and clothing with a western flair.
You don’t have to go all out, cowboy from head to toe unless you want to. All though, John Travolta did cut quite the figure..Another option? Wear cowboy boots or Wranglers or a nice belt buckle. Or just stick to Dockers and penny loafers – your cowboy spirit can’t be tamed!
By the way, have you seen Urban Cowboy? It’s been awhile since I’ve watched it, but I remember it being one of my favorite movies.
Attend rodeos and other western events
Attending rodeos and other western-themed events is a great way to experience cowboy culture firsthand. These events often include traditional activities such as bull riding, calf roping, and barrel racing. I think this could be a lot of fun, a cool date or a fun family friendly outing.
Plan a road trip if you don’t have cowboy events nearby. When all else fails, watch it on tv. Don’t forget the popcorn.
Learn to ride horses
Horseback riding is a staple of cowboy culture, and learning to ride can provide numerous health benefits. Riding can improve balance and coordination, strengthen muscles, and increase flexibility.
My brother bought my sister-in-law and nieces a horse for Christmas, and I’ve been out to their barn to see him, and see how happy it makes them. Plus working with and riding horses is a great stress reliever. My point is when you have horses in your life, you’re usually just happier.
Participate in other cowboy-related activities
There are many other activities associated with cowboy culture that modern cowboys can participate in. This includes activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing.
Find something to do that causes you spend lots of time outside. Work your muscles. Get your hands dirty. Fresh air and a little sunshine – you’ll be happier and you’ll sleep better.
You could also grow a beard like Travolta in Urban Cowboy. I doubt anyone will mind. 🙂
Seven Benefits of Living Like A Cowboy
Incorporating cowboy culture into one’s life can provide numerous benefits, including:
- Improved physical health from riding horses and other activities. Horseback riding is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and strengthen muscles. Other cowboy-related activities such as hiking and camping can also provide a great workout.
- Improved mental health from spending time in nature and with animals
- Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood. Additionally, spending time with animals can have a calming effect and promote feelings of well-being.
- Opportunities for social interaction and community building
- Participating in cowboy-related activities can provide opportunities for social interaction and community building. This can be especially important for men who may struggle to form meaningful connections with others.
- Enhanced sense of adventure and exploration
- Living like a cowboy can provide a sense of adventure and exploration, as well as a connection to the natural world.
This is just my personal opinion, but if you’re a dad of little cowpokes (or boys) there’s an added bonus here. Little boys love to play cowboy – walking the cowboy way will create lots of activities for dad-and-son time.
Another cowboy movie I really love is Posse, starring and directed by Mario Van Peebles. It was the first time I saw black cowboys on screen, and that launched my parents into buying all the books they could find on the history of black cowboys. Turns out that history is substantial.
But I digress…
Studies That Prove the Benefits of Living Like a Cowboy
Research has shown that spending time in nature and with animals like a cowboy can provide numerous health benefits.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a significant impact on mental health. For example, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that spending just 20 minutes in nature can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body. Additionally, a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that spending time in green spaces can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Engaging in physical activity is another key aspect of cowboy culture that can have a positive impact on mental health. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that regular physical activity was associated with a lower risk of developing depression. Other studies have shown that physical activity can improve mood and cognitive function, as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety.
In addition to the mental health benefits, living like a cowboy can also provide physical health benefits. Horseback riding, for example, is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and strengthen muscles. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science found that horseback riding can also improve balance and coordination, as well as increase flexibility.
Incorporating cowboy culture into one’s life can provide numerous benefits for physical and mental health, as well as a sense of adventure and connection to nature. By following the steps outlined above, men can fully embrace the modern cowboy lifestyle and reap the rewards of living like a cowboy.