The cowboy is the symbolic icon of American West culture and dates back more than two centuries. What we know as the traditional cowboy arose in the 19th century. They are also known as horse wranglers, cowpunchers, cowhands, ranch hands and buckaroos, but the name “cowboy” was inspired from the original nickname, “cowpoke.”

Today, being a real cowboy means living the ranching lifestyle, not just wearing their signature cowboy boots in the Old West or sporting a Stetson cowboy hat. Cattle operations are the largest single segment of American agriculture. More than 1 million beef producers in the U.S. are responsible for more than 94 million head of beef cattle. And there is a vast amount of sheep, goats, and horses that are raised in rural America. With all of that livestock to manage, the cowboy way of life is still essential to American society.

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15 Places in the U.S. Where Cowboy Culture Is Alive and Well — Wide Open Country

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