We all know about Cowboys, but in Texas a Cowboy is much more than a gimmick. It is a way of life. From what you wear, to how you speak, to what you do, a lot of work goes into being a Cowboy. But we think there’s no reason why we can’t join in with all the dancing, rodeo and authentic Cowboy clothes so we’ve put together a quick guide to make sure you know your roping from your spurs and your bull riding from your bull ring.
Without riding on horseback and rounding up some cattle, you want to look the part. First, you gotta get yourself the most recognisable piece of all; the Cowboy hat. Based on the Stetson, Cowboy hats are usually made of felt, and need to be wide-brimmed to keep the sun off you while you move around in the baking Texan sun. Next, get some high-heeled, pointy Cowboy boots, and make sure to attach the spurs for that distinctive Cowboy rattle as you walk. Finally, denim is the design of the day, with sturdy jeans and a thick comfy jacket needed to keep the dust off you. Now you’re fitting in with the folk at the rodeo, finish it all off with a chunky belt buckle, some deer skin gloves and red-patterned neckerchief and you’ll be yeeha-ing like one of the locals. Now all you’ve got to do is work on your cattle ranching technique.
While going to watch the rodeo is one of the most exciting and fun things to do in Texas, to actually take part in one gives our lily-livers a little flutter. Best to leave it to the pros then we feel. Most nights in Texas, you’ll be able to find a rodeo going down in the town’s bull ring – tickets are usually around $15-$20 mark, depending on what additional entertainment there is. The rodeo activities include a number of tasks that Cowboys need to know for working on the ranch, and others, well, they just look like they’re there for everyone’s entertainment. Competitions like calf roping, where the Cowboy on horseback chases after a calf, lassos it, and ties it up are key skills needed for working on the ranch, but others like barrel racing (where riders race a slalom course between barrels) and bull riding (where the Cowboy attempts to cling on to a bucking bull) seem to be just a bit of adrenalin-pumping fun. And don’t tune out during the intermission because there will be a heap of western-themed entertainment like show acts, music and even trick riding to keep your eyes trained on the Cowboy arts.
Cowboy dancing is essentially Country dancing, and once you get the hang of it, it’s a whole load of fun. Don those Cowboy boots you picked up and head to one of Texas’s many, many dance bars for, as the locals call it, ‘kicker dancing’. Glide your way onto the dance floor and follow the lead of the others as they scoot and shimmy with effortless elegance. Don’t let those times spent at night clubs interfere with your style – bouncing or jumping in time with the music is quietly discouraged, as are hip movements. You can dance with a partner, or find yourself a group for some real good ol’ fashioned square and line dancing. While most will be in their full Cowboy gear, it isn’t a must if you don’t feel comfortable stomping about in the full get-up.