Cover - Vaqueros and Cowboys

When Anglos arrived they watched skillful vaqueros in action and learned a lot from them. Eventually, Texas cowboys created their own culture.

Cowboys today have rodeos to show how the tricks they can do like rope steers, ride bucking broncs and bulls. Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Cowboy Rider

A big part of cowboy culture became cowboy poetry. That didn't come from the vaqueros. That's something American cowboys call their very own!

After a hard day of driving cattle, cowboys gathered around the campfire to tell stories. Lots of cowboys could not read or write so they memorized stories. You can remember stories much easier when they rhyme so cowboys turned their best stories into poems.

Every February in Alpine, Texas they celebrate cowboy poetry with an annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering. They also sponsor a student contest. Hey, Partner! You should write yourself some Texas cowboy poetry and enter next February.

Singing also turned into a part of cowboy culture. It started as a way to help keep the herds from stampeding. Songs soothed the jumpy longhorn and made them calmer. Isn’t that interesting, Buckaroo?

Buckaroo?! Where did that word come from anyway? Well, believe it or not, "buckaroo" comes from the way people who didn't speak Spanish said "vaquero" incorrectly. Eventually, though, it became its own nickname for the cowboy. You’d use it like this:

The trail boss would say, "Hey there Buckaroo! What's the name of your horse?"

And the cowboy would say, "Freckles."

NOT! Do you really think a cowboy would have a horse named "Freckles?" Ha, ha! Probably not!

If you were a cowboy, what would you name your horse?

Horse Cowboy B&W

What do you think this cowboy named his horse?

Cowboys were usually needed most to drive cattle in the spring because there was plenty for the herds to eat as they

traveled. It also gave cowboys enough time to get the cattle up north before winter came.


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