Cowboy Mentality

I’d like to express an opinion of a phrase that gets tossed out pretty frequently and irritates the tar out of me every time I see it.

Cowboy mentality.

For those of you who love to toss out this popular insult, here’s the truth.

Cowboys work their butts off from before dawn until after dark, 24/7 and usually 365 days a year.

They don’t have unions demanding they get their birthday off with pay or they are guaranteed a job even if they don’t work or any of the other myriad entitlements nor do they want unions in there telling them what they have to do.

Here was my typical day on the ranch. Up at four a.m., feed my horse, go to the house and get a glass of milk and a couple of cold biscuits from supper. Wash up and head out to saddle horse because I had to be in the pasture checking AI cows soon after dawn. The cows started brushing up when it got hot so the only way to check them all was to be out there before it got hot.

Bring in a cow if she was ready to be bred or make notes of which cows were coming in heat.

Go to the house and eat some leftover scrambled eggs and bacon or get a bowl of cereal.

Help load fencing supplies and go out and build a five strand barb wire fence in pickup in the North Dakota badlands. The little ones either helped Mother in the garden, we had a huge one since we grew most of our food, or they went fencing also.

Everyone works. (If you haven’t checked her out, Pioneer Woman is awesome.) Kids don’t get up in the morning and watch cartoons or plop down in front of video games or head to the mall.

We might come in for lunch, have lunch packed, Mother might bring lunch out to us if we are in a location she can get to or we might just work through lunch. Since some of the land was too rough to drive to, we often walked in, carrying all the fencing supplies.

Come in from fencing and head to check AI cows again. Eat supper and go out to relieve whoever is farming. Farm until well after dark, often times until near midnight.

Being a cowboy often times means you have to be a little tougher than the average rabbit.

My oldest son got hung up to a practice bull similar to the cowboy here except Brandon’s bull was in a spin and planted both hind feet in his stomach several times. His roommate drove him home and four hours later called me because he thought I should come talk to him. His stomach was the color of an eggplant and he looked like he was five months pregnant. I drove him to the hospital to save time where we found out he had blown out the back wall of both intestines requiring a team of surgeons 4 1/2 hours to repair. I didn’t think I would make it to the hospital before he died. Why didn’t he call sooner? It was Sunday and he didn’t want his roommate to bother me on a church night.


So, while cowboys in Iraq and cowboy mentality might be the popular political catch phrase of the day, it really is insulting.


  1. Oh, it got tossed out on a writers forum as an insult to our military. I ranted there, so I might as well rant here also.

    However, as you point out, it is probably the truth and a compliment.

  2. I agree, that “cowboy” is inappropriately use often. I have seen amazing inner strength and integrity come from “cowboys”. I have also seen extreme prejudice coming from people who have never met a real cowboy. That is a worthless opinion coming from an inexperienced mind.

  3. Julie,

    Yes, but this is the same idiot who called our soldiers Hitler Youth. There’s a reason I have him on ignore. If someone hadn’t quoted him back, I would have missed it.


  4. Tami, you’re very right. Not all cowboys are paragons of virtue by an means, but by and large, there is a different “code” if you will. It’s an inappropriate insult and our politicians and populace need to find a new one.


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