Do you think real cowboys can be seen only in westerns and on old photographs? Not at all. Modern cowboys don’t differ from those that appeared in the 19th century in order to graze cattle.
In the minds of people, there’s a misconception that being a cowboy is fun, easy, and simple. This is not true. Cowboys don’t shoot from revolvers – they carry weapons quite rarely, and use them only in extreme cases. After all, the sounds of a shot, like the sound of a shepherd’s whip, help control the herd. If you are not afraid of cowboy difficulties, we will tell you about places where you can feel like a real superhero of the Wild West. All you need to do is get good health insurance and pick up a car by Avis at Willard airport to get there, because these places are located in the countryside. Of course, you can choose any other location to start your trip.
Texas is the homeland of the cowboys, and Bandera, which is an hour’s drive from San Antonio, is considered to be the self-proclaimed capital of all the cowboys in the world. Here you can plunge into the world of rodeo, hunting, participate in theatrical performances and live on real ranches. This is an incomparable sensation.
One of the most famous and oldest places in Bandera is the Dixie Dude Ranch, which was created in 1937. Here you won’t only learn how to ride a horse correctly, but also be able to take part in a rodeo. Be sure to check out Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar saloon. This is the largest hall for cowboy dances, where you can take a couple of lessons, drink local beer and listen to country music.
Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado
If you want to feel all the charms of cowboy life – head to the Chico Basin Ranch, located 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. The area of 87,000 acres has everything for a nice country vacation: lakes, prairies, rivers and surrounding areas, which is home to a diverse population of birds, deer, coyotes and many other animals.
The ranch itself is owned by the Colorado Department of State and is managed by the Richland family through a mutually beneficial partnership. Rich livestock traditions and innovative business strategies are the basis for cattle ranching. The main mission of the ranch is to perceive the land as an ecological resource base, which helps to develop cattle breeding and achieve positive results in preserving land fertility.
Here you will do whatever you are told. Together with experienced cowboys, you can repair trucks, equipment or fences, help in cattle grazing or in the retail trade. Most of the work is done on horses, so if you don’t know how to ride, you will be taught for several days.
There are not many amenities on the ranch, but all this is offset by the excitement of real cowboy work. In order to relax, you may be offered to go to one of the five lakes of the ranch to enjoy fishing.
Zapata Ranch, Colorado
Zapata Ranch has also a strong emphasis on maintaining the most environmentally friendly region in the USA.
There are forests, swamps, sand dunes and green pastures. All those who come to Zapata gain experience not only in the cow grazing, but also in the management of 2,000 buffalo in the pastures. The owners are proud that buffalo graze on the ranch territory, since they were almost destroyed by the beginning of the 20th century. Now about 27 bisons walk around the plains, and they are constantly monitored.
As for ordinary work, you will have to repair the wire that encloses the territory, engage in an irrigation system and remove manure, because this is the most classic occupation of a real cowboy.
McGinnis Meadows and Guest Ranch, Montana
In this place of Montana you will be taught to communicate with animals. The basis of success is to be able to work with the natural instincts of the animal through trust and mutual respect.
You will never see there a whip beating on the back of a horse or any special bridles that only injure. Before riding a horse, you will receive some theoretical lessons from your mentors.
These are not empty words, it really looks like some secret truths that you will definitely need in the future. A distinctive feature of the ranch – it’s created by very enthusiastic people. They love every centimeter of their land and every hair of their animal. Be sure that you will definitely want to come back there.
Double Rafter Cattle Drive, Wyoming
Cattle drives are designed to offer cattle for sale. They were popular at the very beginning of the cowboy movement. Now the bulk of the ranch is attached to a specific piece of land, where all the deals take place. Double Rafter Cattle Drive in Wyoming provides an exciting 6-day trip.
All this time you will travel along the mountain pastures of the state, search for green areas and make sure that the cattle don’t go in the other direction and fall into some gorge.
Last night is usually held in the Mint Bar cowboy saloon in Sheridan. There you can already fully relax, have a couple of beers and get a special document stating that you can officially take part in cattle driving.