Who doesn’t like to play cowboy or cowgirl? And not just kids, either.
But the National Day of the Cowboy is more than that. It’s about the ideas and values behind the cowboy life.
The LaGrange County Parks Department is hosting a local celebration for the National Day of the Cowboy this Saturday, July 19, at David Rogers Park starting with “grub” from the chuckwagon at noon, cooked up by the Friends of LaGrange County Parks. The day finishes up with the cap gun Fast Draw contest at 3:30 p.m. The winners in the kid and adult categories will take home the “golden gun.”
Other activities include plenty of cowboy fun, including skillet slingshot target practice, horseshoe pitching, create your own cowboy moniker, and other games.
There will also be adults on hand who enjoy reenacting the cowboy lifestyle.
The event is sponsored by Shipshewana Harness.
But why celebrate the cowboy and why do it in Indiana?
“The movement promotes the cowboy culture and values,” explained Scott Beam with the LaGrange County Parks. “It’s the hard work ethic, live with the land, and the determination. It’s the value that you get up and do what needs to be done. It’s the same set of values they took with them from here.” As cowboys traveled westward in the 1800s, many left from Indiana. “The Midwest was where those values were learned,” Beam said.
The idea and image of the cowboy is known around the world. “Everybody knows about cowboys,” Beam said. You can find cowboys all around the world in all sorts of environments.
At times, it seems that those values, the Cowboy Code of Conduct (see separate article), are something that the world could use more of today. “That’s why we think it matters to celebrate the cowboy,” Beam said. “People who can follow that code, we need more of them.”
While most see the cowboy as an adventurer, filled with gunfights and barroom brawls, that’s not the real life of the cowboy, Beam added. “It’s the lifestyle and the ethics that we celebrate,” he said.
And it’s a celebration Saturday afternoon for cowboys and cowgirls of all ages to enjoy.