National Day of the Cowboy Backgrounder
|The National Day of the Cowboy campaign, a campaign asking for a national day of recognition for the Cowboy and Cowgirl, was conceived by magazine publisher, Bill Bales. Bales believed that the men and women at the core of our western heritage should be honored and recognized for the substantial contributions they have made and continue to make to American history and western culture.
In November 2004, Mr. Bales asked Bethany Braley to organize and lead a formal campaign seeking a resolution in Congress which would officially recognize a “National Day of the Cowboy.” Ms. Braley contacted a former colleague in Washington, D.C., who advised her on the steps which needed to be taken when pursuing a senate resolution. She subsequently contacted senators, representatives, state governors, individual sponsors, and numerous western oriented organizations and associations, for the purpose of garnering support for the initiative. She also developed a petition which was posted on the American Cowboy website, on sponsor websites, and circulated at numerous western themed events.
An enthusiastic sponsor was soon found in Wyoming’s U.S. Senator, Craig Thomas. Senator Thomas, with the aid of three of his congressional staff members (Cynthia Reed, Cameron Hardy, and Matt Jones), enlisted the bi-partisan support of six other senators; Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), James Inhofe (R-OK), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ken Salazar (D-CO.) and Mike Enzi (R-WY). Together they co-sponsored Resolution 85, which was introduced in the United States Senate on March 17th, 2005. This original resolution was subsequently modified, eliminating a second National Day of the Cowboy from its text.
The new resolution became Resolution 138, which passed in the Senate on May 12th, 2005, naming July 23, 2005, the first official National Day of the Cowboy. The final National Day of the Cowboy resolution, Senate Resolution 138, was sponsored by Senator Craig Thomas(R-WY), and co-sponsored by Senators Burns (R-MT), Inhofe (R-OK), Dorgan (D-ND), Crapo (R-ID), Salazar (D-CO), Enzi (R-WY) Allard (R-CO), Baucus (D-MT), Allen (R-VA), Stevens (R-AK), Martinez (R-FL), Bingaman (D-NM), and Craig (R-ID). A few days prior to July 23, 2005, President Bush sent his letter of support for the National Day of the Cowboy to Senator Craig Thomas.
“From the early days of the western frontier, cowboys have exemplified integrity, courage, and the American spirit of adventure,” said President George Bush, July 18, 2005. “Their legacy is passed on and immortalized through the songs of Gene Autry and the art of Frederic Remington, the performances of Annie Oakley, and the films of John Wayne. Today, cowboys and ranchers continue to embody the values of hard work and determination that built our country. They are stewards of our land, and their efforts are essential to conserving our Nation’s resources and advancing our prosperity.”
“We celebrate the cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The cowboys’ love of land and love of country are examples for all Americans,” said President Bush.
The 2008 National Day of the Cowboy campaign asks that July 26, 2008, be proclaimed the fourth annual National Day of the Cowboy. If the fourth Saturday in July is proclaimed by the Senate as the National Day of the Cowboy several years in a row, the Judiciary Committee will consider naming the fourth Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy in perpetuity. A National Day of the Cowboy declared in perpetuity is, of course, the ultimate goal.