Cowboys live their lives in a lonesome way on horses and outdoors all day in the wide open spaces, and maybe that's why they like to gather together from time to time with others who understand what they're talking about.
Cowboys are used to making their own entertainment with stories and guitars, anyway, without computers and televisions and DVDs. Okay, there is such a thing as a cowboy riding while talking on a cellphone, but this here article is about the romance of the West, so we'll play that down even though we'll allow a picture of it.
Cowboys sing about little moons that smile over mountains, and stars that dance in black night skies.
They sing about the smell of cattle flesh searing during branding, and little doggies with tears in their eyes after they get caught in barbed wire. They sing about desert days so hot that your pony refuses to keep going, and desert nights so cold that your feet freeze in your boots. They sing about going into Nogales and how good Mexican food tastes, and how beautiful the senoritas are, and how hard it is to say goodbye to your Mexican amigos and hit the trail once more.
Cowboys sing about trusting your compadres as if your life depends on it because it does. They sing about how being dog tired at the end of the day makes you appreciate things other people look down on -- like a mess of beans seasoned with coffee and chili peppers, a little whiskey and your bunk under the stars. They sing about a life led outdoors under the sun, in the rain and snow, under a sky too big to understand.
A day at a cowboy gathering makes you think about what it must be like to be a grounded human being, someone who has real work to do not paper-pushing, and someone who shares his life with nature and animals.
Without cowboys, there'd be no American West. We celebrate cowboys, the real working ones of today, and we celebrate their art and poetry and music.
Happy trails to you until we meet again, and keep riding until then.