Cowboys are a patriotic set. Attend any rodeo or horse event, and there’s always a grand entry with flags flying and time set aside to recognize the different branches of the military and to pay tribute to the United States with the national anthem. You see flags on trucks and trailers, shirts, chaps and saddle blankets. Strands of red, white and blue are woven into everything from fringe and hatbands to horses’ tails. As I celebrated Independence Day this weekend, I took a moment to think about what makes cowboys so loyal to their country, and I asked the cowboys in my life for their opinions.
The obvious conclusion is that the cowboy icon originated in America, although his gear and methods come from a melting pot of horse cultures. His presence and influence, thus that of America, is sought worldwide.
Many of our country’s cowgirls and cowboys, including my own father, at one point in their lives have had to hang up their spurs, leave their home ranges and go to foreign lands to defend our country and its freedoms in combat. It’s those who were able to return and ride again, as well as those who left empty saddles behind, that we owe gratitude on this day and every day.
I also believe that cowboys feel freedom on a deeper level than most people. Few jobs allow a man (or woman) to work solo in wide-open spaces, far from any town or technology, relying only on himself and his horse. He senses the vastness felt by the American Indians and pioneers, the freedom represented by an eagle floating on the wind and a close connection to the the land, animals and the cyclical rights between seasons. There’s a fundamental freedom to his job that captivates most of us who make our livings behind desks.
Just in time for the Four of July, cowboy singer R.W. Hampton of Cimarron, New Mexico, wrote a new song called Note For Sale to honor America and the men and women who have paid the price for our freedom. Best sure to check out his video at this link:
A member of the brotherhood of working cowboys for many years, Hampton writes songs from experience and sings them from the heart in his smooth baritone voice. This patriotic tune, inspired by the upcoming deployment of his son, U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Cooper Hampton, is an appropriate reminder of how lucky we are to have the freedom to live a Western lifestyle, to be able to own and ride horses, and to choose to be a rancher, cowboy, horseman or in my case, a writer of Western ways.
The Western Horseman staff sends its best wishes to the Hampton family and our thanks to Sgt. Hampton for his service to our country. May he make a safe return back home soon.