How Do You Become A Cowboy?

I didn’t mosey into Fort Worth on the back of a horse nor did I sashay up to the first bar I came to and order a shot of whiskey, but I wanted to.

That is because I arrived during the 117th Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and I came across real cowboys. Yep, the real deal.

The guys in the hats and boots weren’t wearing them for show, they had them on because it is what they wear. I stared at a few of “them fellers” and began to wonder about some things.

How Do You Become A Cowboy?

It might sound silly to some people but I wondered how you become a cowboy? Are you born into it? I would imagine that in some situations that would be how it works. Your family owns a ranch and you go into the family business.

But that doesn’t cover everyone. There have to be others who aren’t born into the business and choose to go in. Now I might be demonstrating my own ignorance, but I am not aware of a cowboy college or university where you can earn a degree.

To the best of my knowledge you can’t get a BA or BS in Branding, Ranching or Herding Cattle. Or maybe you can I just don’t know about it, wouldn’t be the first time I found a subject that I didn’t know much about.

The Lost Art of Reading Comprehension

Sometimes the answers aren’t found in books.

Now I recognize these are really the same questions I posed in Are They Destined for Dinner or Display? But I am asking/sharing them again because I am still thinking about them.

My kids keep asking similar questions and my daughter wants to know if she is going to have become a cowgirl.

And it occurs to me that so much of this is tied into The Value of Reference Points and what seems exotic to some really isn’t to others. It is like when people ask me to tell them stories about fraternity life or things I did in Israel.

Sometimes I see this far away look in their eyes and I know they are expecting me to come up with something crazy and amazing and I tell them a story that is run of the mill.

Or should I say it is run of the mill to me because I think of it as being ordinary and mundane.

I have to imagine that it is no different from the cowboys, that is assuming they call themselves cowboys. Maybe they don’t. Maybe that term just makes me sound like a tourist.


After watching all of those guys roam around the city I have to concede I have had some interest in acquiring my own hat. I remember being a kid and wanting to get one and I thought a bit about it, but I didn’t do it.

Part of it was because I couldn’t decide if I really wanted a cowboy hat or if I preferred to pick up a nice Fedora so I could become Indiana Wilner.  Of course I haven’t had the benefit of having movies made about me or a cool theme song so wearing the Fedora might actually cause people to call me Rabbi instead of Indiana.

It is not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is a much different image than I was thinking of.

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