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How to Be a Cowboy

Learn how to be a cowboy and rule the open range.


  • Step 1: To move cattle, ride behind them as your fellow cowboys flank the herd on either side. Ride as smoothly as possible to avoid spooking the cattle and causing a stampede. Let the cattle graze often, and when evening falls, corral them, hobble or tie up your horse, and bunk down for the evening under the starry sky.
  • Step 2: Once you reach your destination, deliver the cattle and collect your money. Then, go out and live a little! Check out a rodeo or head to the local saloon for a little rest and relaxation -- you've earned it, cowboy!
  • FACT: In Hawaii, cowboys are known as _paniolo_, a derivation of _espanol_, and were named after the Mexican vaqueros who first came to rustle cattle on the big island in 1832.
  • Step 3: Find a ranch manager who needs a cowboy to help move cattle. First, brand or tag any animals that need identification. Then, gather food that won't spoil, a bedroll, and a gun to use for protection before heading out on the trail.
  • Step 4: Choose a horse to ride during round-ups. Use a bronc that can "cut" or make sharp turns well, so you can circle a herd of cattle and single out an individual animal easily. Saddle the horse, mount up, and get ready to ride.
  • Step 5: Dress like a cowboy. Wear jeans and chaps to protect your legs while on horseback, a long-sleeve shirt and a wide-brimmed hat to guard against the elements, and work gloves. Strap on tall boots with a heel that will hold your foot in the stirrup.
  • TIP: Wear a bandanna over your nose and mouth to protect you from inhaling dust.
  • Step 6: Practice throwing a lasso. Grip the looped end with your dominant hand and coil the slack in your other hand. Then, rotate your wrist, spinning the loop overhead, before releasing it towards your target. Once you've caught the object, pull back on the rope to tighten.
  • : Firearms are extremely dangerous. Handle them with caution, keep them away from children, and be sure you know the gun laws in your area.

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