Cowboy virtues contribute to society

Emily Fox-Million, Social Media Manager, Editor

Being a cowboy or cowgirl means there is a way you are meant to carry yourself every day. Provide a promise, and your word and handshake are your bond. Present high respect to yourself and others, as you would your land and animals. Pledge courage each day and saddle up regardless of any situation. These are a handful of the many unwritten principles cowboys and cowgirls are supposed to live by.

At a time when diversity and tolerance are encouraged across the country, the oldest and most traditional of lifestyles are being silently lost to a thunder of equality movements. A culture advocating important and fundamental virtues like authenticity, heart, and courage are being left behind. The ideals that helped shaped the west into what we know today are being forgotten. From the hardworking ranch hand to the successful ranch owner, there are pieces of western customs for everyone to take and implement in living. Simply put, you do not need to be a roping cattle-rancher to have the recognition to keep cowboy culture alive and true. It keeps us deferential to others, while reminds us of the earnest labor dedicated by those in cowboy culture.

“It’s all about respecting the people and the hard work put into it,” sophomore Lauren McDaniel said.

We have reached a point as a population where lack of respect can often be traced back to universally-used social media and federal leadership. Society has never needed cowboy culture more. Ever-present reverence for others is a virtue, commonly dismissed due to the culture it comes from and a general misunderstanding. So, in a setting supposedly designed to thrive with diversity, it has become evident that those unfamiliar with the culture have turned to bullying their peers who have high regard for western conduct.

The word “cowboy” has become synonymous with the word “hick,” an unsophisticated provincial person, generally someone who lives in a rural area. And it can often be heard being verbally thrown at students simply because of their outward appreciation of cowboy culture.

“I am called a hick at least two to three times a week. Last year it was a lot worse. Almost every day,” McDaniel said. “That’s not what I am. We are not stupid.”

McDaniel said that she has also been spit on by some of her peers. Other forms of harassment include taunting, some saying that she should go to Poudre High School— a school recognized for embracing their population of cowboy-minded students.

This is cruel ignorance and disregard for western culture’s importance and primary values. Cowboy culture is a mindset built on a very sophisticated series of virtues surrounding self-respect and respecting others. McDaniel focuses on what she has been taught as a cowgirl, trusting the way she was raised and how she reacts to such intolerable conduct.

“I ignore them and walk away because it’s not worth it,” she explained.

While the harsh and unnecessary comments are common, McDaniel said the harassment has little effect on the person she is trying to become.

“It is who I am, and I am not going to change who I am because of ignorance,” McDaniel said.

It is imperative to have basic consideration for our peers in any environment. But now it has become crucial that we begin recognizing the pivotal cultures within our society, the cultures, like many others, that leave something to be learned and valued.

“Cultures make up who we are,” McDaniel said. “As a community, as a school, we are going to be diverse.”

And diversity is key when considering that cowboys are everywhere, and while the culture is seemingly being left behind, it is a mindset that we cannot afford to leave behind.

Cowboy culture is a set of values that offers crucial lessons. The people being raised on the ideals of the west know what being genuine looks like. Respect others and be aware that you don’t know a man’s life story until he tells you with actions and words. Assume the best in all people until they prove otherwise. Know that hard work is not just the sweat on the ranch hand’s forehead; it’s the persistence to keep fighting through disdainful treatment. And to keep fighting requires courage and heart—values we need to practice.