John Wayne. Clint Eastwood. Iconic men who have embodied the American West and set a standard of ruggedness that is the requisite of the cowboy profession.
Unfortunately for many men and women who desire embarking on this independent path of being a cowboy or a cowgirl, the road to get to cowboy status seems far-fetched. Having grown up in a city or suburb, far from the high-plains of the spacious Western frontier, many may consider the cowboy lifestyle impossible.
Fear not, city-slicker. You too can be a cowboy if you follow these tips:
1. Familiarize yourself with horses. Do anything – volunteer to clean stalls, take lessons, ask questions – that will get you increasingly comfortable with horses.
2. Do your research on the lifestyle. Read what it takes to be a wrangler, work on a dude ranch, or be a ranch hand, and study-up on cowboy culture.
3. If you can afford it, travel to areas where cowboy work is prevalent – mainly the Rocky Mountain West (Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana) – to talk to ranch owners and their workers to learn more about the industry and get contacts for future job opportunities.
4. After becoming more aware of what the cowboy lifestyle is, and what your expectations are as a wrangler, apply for a position as an entry-level wrangler to get headway into the industry. Who knows where things will take you!