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Events across America celebrate the eighth annual National Day of the Cowboy, July 28, 2012. 

The National Day of the Cowboy is celebrated each year on the fourth Saturday of July.

American Cowboy magazine launched the National Day of the Cowboy in 2004. Bethany Braley was involved with that launch and now she heads the National Day of the Cowboy organization, which works year round on the celebration.

Read below about a special Art Spur with a photograph by Nikole Morgan for the 2012 National Day of the Cowboy.

Below:


© nikole morgan, www.wildoutwestphotography.com; reproduction prohibited
Special Art Spur for the 2012 National Day of the American Cowboy;
 photograph by Nikole Morgan

 

 
© 2011, Betty K. Rodgers
 2011 Art Spur; photograph by Betty K. Rodgers

 


2010 Art Spur; painting by Joelle Smith


copyright 2009 by Lori Faith Merritt ( www.photographybyfaith.com) "Heading In"
2009 Art Spur; photograph by Lori Faith Merritt



2008 Art Spur; photograph by Chanda Snook



2007 Art Spur; painting by Don Dane



2006 Art Spur; photograph by Jeri Dobrowski



Previous years' National Day of the Cowboy features:

2011
2010

2009
2008
2007
2006
 

 Visit these sites for more about the annual event:

National Day of the Cowboy

National Day of the Cowboy: My Space

National Day of the Cowboy: Facebook

National Day of the Cowboy: Blog

On July 2, 2012, California became the second state (after Wyoming) to pass a permanent resolution recognizing the National Day of the Cowboy. Find a video of the resolution's passage here, which includes comments by resolution sponsor Senator Ted Gaines and comments from National Day of the Cowboy organization Director Bethany Braley. Read the text of the resolution here.

Wyoming passed the National Day of the Cowboy resolution in perpetuity on March 13, 2012. The late Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming was the original sponsor the National Day of the Cowboy resolution.

Pictured above: Brent Slutsky, resolution sponsor California State Senator Ted Gaines, Janet Slutsky, Larry Brady, Bethany Braley, Vi Tara, California State Senator Jean Fuller, and California State Senator Doug LaMalfa.

Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas died June 4, 2007. Senator Thomas, who sponsored the United States Senate resolution (S. Res.130) declaring July 28, 2007 the National Day of the Cowboy, was born in Cody and raised on a ranch. He earned a degree in agriculture  from the University of Wyoming and served four years in the U.S. Marines.

Senator Thomas was a popular three-term Senator who received more than seventy percent of the vote in both of his re-election campaigns. He was diagnosed with leukemia two days after the 2006 election.

Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi commented on the Senate Floor, "Craig died as he lived, with his spurs on, fighting for Wyoming until the very end."

[Photo Courtesy U.S. Senator Craig Thomas; U.S. Senator Craig Thomas waves to the crowd during the Cody Stampede parade in 2006.]

 



Art Spur 

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem or a song.  In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our thirtieth piece offered to "spur" the imagination—in celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy—is "Dust," a photograph by Colorado photographer and working ranch wife Nikole Morgan
(www.wildoutwestphotography.com)
.



© nikole morgan, www.wildoutwestphotography.com; reproduction prohibited
"Dust"


Nikole Morgan tells about the photograph, which was also featured in Picture the West in November, 2011:

"Dust" was taken on a ranch in Northern Colorado. A hot, dry day of preg checking cows led to one of my favorite photographs. It has the romantic cowboy look, but any cowboy knows there is nothing romantic or even pleasant about a long day of work in dusty corrals. It goes right along with "the cowboy riding off into the sunset"; what people don't realize is that cowboy still has two more hours of searching for a missing pair before he gets to unsaddle for the day."

Read more about Nikole Morgan and see additional examples of her work in our feature here.

Find more about Nikole Morgan and more of her work at her web site, www.wildoutwestphotography.com and on Facebook and Etsy.
 



photograph of Nikole Morgan by John Michael Leppert

About Nikole Morgan

Professional Colorado "Western Life" photographer and working ranch wife Nikole Morgan has commented on her work:

I take a lot of my pictures from the back of my horse, just documenting what we do day in and day out. Our way of life has so many wonderful photogenic qualities about it.

The scenery is the stuff movies are made of but the people are very real and they wear their emotions on their sleeves. You can see "everything" on a hard working cowboy or cowgirl's face. It makes for very strong feeling-evoking photographs and that is definitely what I am going for when I take them.

From her artist's statement:

I have quite a long history of “cowboys” and “cowgirls” in my family. My Great Great Grandfather was A.B. Snyder, also known as "Pinnacle Jake," who as a 20-year-old broke the horses that went to England with Buffalo Bill in his Wild West Exhibition, not to mention the rest of his very interesting life! My Great Grandmother Nellie Snyder Yost was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and received a Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for her western writings. She spent as much time working and driving cows in a side saddle as she did a western saddle. So, I’m especially proud to call myself one, “cowgirl,” that is!

(See Yvonne Hollenbeck's photos and commentary about the Snyder and Yost families here in a Picture the West entry.)

Read more about Nikole Morgan and see additional examples of her work in our feature here.

Find more about Nikole Morgan and more of her work at her web site, www.wildoutwestphotography.com and on her Facebook  page.


 

Art Spur subjects are meant to inspire poetry; we look for poems inspired by the piece, not necessarily for a literal description of the image or its subject. 

Submissions

Poetry submissions were welcome from all, through Wednesday, July 25, 2012. They are now closed.

Find the selected poems here.


 


© 2011, Betty K. Rodgers; this photograph may not be reposted or reproduced without permission
"After the Gathering"


"After the Gathering," a photograph by Betty K. Rodgers, taken at the Maggie Creek Ranch outside Elko, Nevada in January, 2010 during a photography workshop at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  Find the selected poems here.  
 



Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"'She's a Hand" © 1993 by Joelle Smith, www.joellesmith.com

She's a Hand," a painting by notable Western artist Joelle Smith (1958-2005). The painting was inspired by Oregon cowgirl Mindy Kershner's participation in the Jordan Valley Big Loop RodeoFind the selected poems here.  

 


 


Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"Heading Out"
© 2009, Lori Faith Merritt, www.photographybyfaith.com

The photograph by Lori Faith Merritt, called "Heading Out," pictures cowboy and poet Georgie Sicking and Minnesota cowboy and rancher Sam Scott (fiancé of poet Diane Tribitt). See the resulting poems here.


 


 


© 2008, Chanda Snook
Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
Learnin' the Ropes

The 2008 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur featured  "Learnin' the Ropes," a photograph by Wyoming rancher and photographer Chanda Snook of South Dakota rancher Andy Ridley and Jesse Thybo. Read the selected poems here.

 


 

 


watercolor 12x18
© 2007 Don Dane Studio
Reproduction is strictly prohibited without authorization from Don Dane Studio
"Great Day to be a Cowboy"

The 2007 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur featured  "Great Day to be a Cowboy," a painting by notable Kansas artist, Don Dane.  Read the resulting poems here.


 



photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, obtain permission for reproduction rights
"Leadin' a Spare"

The 2006 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur featured "Leadin' a Spare," a photograph of South Dakota rancher Robert Dennis by photographer and writer Jeri Dobrowski. Read the resulting poems here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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