The mission of the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization is to contribute to the preservation of America’s Cowboy heritage so that the history and culture which the National Day of the Cowboy bill honors, can be shared and perpetuated for the public good, through education, the arts, literature, celebrations, gatherings, rodeos, and community activities.
Resolved that the Senate and the House of Representatives……
“(2) encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
This is the entire mandate from every Cowboy resolution we know of (including the U.S. House and U.S. Senate resolutions), and is also the mandate of every bill we and our volunteers work to see passed – simply to encourage celebration and involvement. The primary purpose of the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization is to fulfill this mandate. We encourage celebrations, proclamations, bills and passage, not just in communities and states, but in international communities as well.
The titles of the resolutions and proclamations we’ve helped secure vary from Day of the Cowboy to Oklahoma Cowboy Day to Texas National Day of the Cowboy to National Day of the Cowboy. All eight bills which we’ve succeeded in passing are the “National Day of the Cowboy” bills. We recognize fully that the title of the resolution is certainly not as important as its mandate and its celebration, however, we do not endorse the title “National Day of the American Cowboy” for a number of reasons.
First, we do not wish to promote nor to appear as though we are promoting a single magazine rather than a national holiday which should belong to everyone. Second, we feel that limiting the title to the “American” Cowboy implies a message of exclusion which marginalizes the many people in and from other countries who contribute to this preservation effort and who in fact, are a vital and significant part of its history. Lastly, as a nonprofit organization it is our responsibility to educate the public at large about pioneer heritage and cowboy culture, in an open inclusive atmosphere, not influenced by private corporations or their individual marketing or self-promoting efforts. This is also an example of putting into practice the statement in our NDOC resolution which reads, “Whereas the cowboy archetype transcends gender, generations, ethnicity, geographic boundaries, and political affiliations”
All that being said, the bottom line for us is that all people should feel invited to honor and celebrate this phenomenal heritage, regardless of where they reside, what they choose to entitle it or where they may be from.
July 23, 2005 – US Senator Thomas reading the Letter of Support from President GW Bush at CFD
A western lifestyle magazine erroneously reported in 2005 that the Day of the Cowboy had been signed into law by then President, Geoge W. Bush; This never happened! The President sent an official “Letter of Support,” which is the highest action he could take with regard to a resolution. Many people remain under the mistaken impression that the Cowboy resolution was made permanent at that time. We at the National Day of the Cowboy have the letter from the President stating his support of the resolution. When Senator Thomas finished reading the letter, he and his wife, Susan, presented a National Day of the Cowboy flag to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Executive Committee and to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Volunteer Organization. We were honored to be on the platform that day as guests of Senator and Mrs.Thomas. The 2006 letter was handed to us by Senator Thomas himself, after he read it to the crowd in attendance at Cheyenne Frontier Days on the National Day of the Cowboy.
The National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit corporation has been working achieve permanent status for the National Day of the Cowboy since founding our organization in June, 2005.
U..S Senator Craig Thomas and his wife, Susan, present our National Day of the Cowboy flag to the
CFD Executive Committee and the CFD Volunteer Organization – July 23, 2005
National Day of the Cowboy Organization
The National Day of the Cowboy organization was founded in June 2005, receiving non-profit status from the IRS on December 7, 2005. We have worked continuously to increase national support for the Day of the Cowboy, which first passed as a one-time resolution in the U.S. Senate in July, 2005, and, to publicize news and information about the resolution and campaign, so that active participation in celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy continues to grow each year, and so future generations remain aware of the Cowboys’ contribution to America’s rich Western heritage. Our goal is to see the bill passed in perpetuity in every state.
Our achievements include seeking and receiving Cowboy Day proclamations from many governors, cities and counties, in an effort to build national stature for the day. The first governor to grant us a National Day of the Cowboy proclamation was Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona, in 2006. We also approached Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and asked her to sponsor the National Day of the Cowboy in the U.S. House, which she was happy to do in 2008 and 2009. There are several Historic Western Landmarks in her congressional district, including Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas, Arizona. In 2008, we also achieved passage in the Arizona State Legislature thanks to Senators Jake Flake and Jack Brown. Congresswoman Giffords was also instrumental in getting the National Day of the Cowboy flag aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle where it went on a five million mile wild west ride all the way to the International Space Station. Giffords sponsored the National Day of the Cowboy Resolution in the U.S. House again in 2009 (H. Res 322), naming Saturday, July 25, 2009 as the National Day of the Cowboy.
Another of our key projects begun in 2005, was the creation of a National Day of the Cowboy flag, intended to be an international symbol to bring awareness to all that the Cowboys and Cowgirls contribute to our pioneer heritage preservation and our culture. The flag now flies in thirty states and six countries. In 2008, the National Day of the Cowboy flag traveled 5,700,000 miles to the International Space Station and back, aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle, with NASA Commander, Mark Kelly. This historic event, taking the old frontier into the new frontier, was noted in the Washington Post, a newspaper not typically associated with stories about Cowboy heritage. In addition, the Cowboy flag flew over the barracks of our troops, the Desert Cowboys, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our dream is to see the flag fly in all fifty states and in as many international communities as possible.
Our overall goal is to demonstrate to congress that there is indeed a high enough level of national interest in preserving our cowboy culture and pioneer heritage that the judiciary committee will let us ask to make the Cowboy Day permanent. To add to the depth of national participation, we began a campaign asking states legislators to pass our National Day of the Cowboy resolution in their state legislatures. Arizona was the first state we approached in 2008 and the first state to grant our request. The Arizona Senate and House appproved it jointly and concurrently in June, 2008 in honor of Arizona’s late cowboy senator, Jake Flake. In 2009, dedicated and enthusiastic NDOC volunteers lined up several legislative sponsors and achieved passage in New York, Texas, Kansa, Oklahoma and Arizona. In 2012, thanks to Wyoming volunteer, Susan Thomas, Wyoming became the first state to award permanent status to the NDOC resolution. California followed Wyoming in June 2012 becoming only the second state to award permanent status to the Cowboy Day. In 2013, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Oregon and Mississippi respectively all passed the National Day of the Cowboy bill, awarding it permanent status in those states. On the tenth annual National Day of the Cowboy, July 26, 2014, Kansas Governor Brownback signed the NDOC bill into law, making Kansas state number eight to award permanent status to the National Day of the Cowboy. We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of all of our hardworking volunteers and grateful for their persistent dedication to the job at hand and the cowboy fortitude they demonstrate!
Code of the West
The lack of written law on the range made it necessary for the cowman to frame his own guidelines for personal conduct in society, thus developing a rule of behavior which became generally known as the “Code of the West.” These homegrown “laws,” an unspoken agreement to certain rules of conduct, were not written into statutes, but were respected on the range nevertheless. Because there was no formal law, pioneers who lived in and settled the west were bound by these unwritten rules which centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, honesty, integrity, a solid work ethic, and a deep and abiding respect for the land and its animals.
“Though the cowman might break every law of the territory, state and federal government, he took pride in upholding his own unwritten code. His failure to abide by it did not bring formal punishment, but the man who broke it became, more or less, a social outcast.”
Lately, the basic tenets of this code are surfacing more and more in our interactions and conversations with others. We think that’s a good thing for the planet, so we’ve created our own National Day of the Cowboy’s official Cowboy Code of Conduct, which was also read by Senator Gaines to the legislators in the California Senate, by Representative Egolf in the New Mexico legislature and by Senator Griffin in the Arizona Senate.
Bethany Braley, Executive Director & Publisher for the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization, is available for interviews or to speak to your group or organization regarding the history of this campaign and the challenges we face in achieving permanent passage of the Day of the Cowboy Bill. She has been working continuously on the effort since November 2004, and offers key information on how you and your community or organization may become actively involved in contributing to the success and celebration of this historic grassroots quest.
Ms. Braley is a former two-time Director of Customer Service & Fulfillment for Arizona Highways Magazine, Director of four divisions of customer Service for Congressional Quarterly, Inc. in Washington, D.C., Book Fulfillment Manager for American Express Publishing in New York and Fulfillment Manager for Cahners Publishing in Colorado. She is a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, a professional musician, and a published writer in a number of magazines.
2014 National Day of the Cowboy Resolution©
Expressing support for the designation of the 4th Saturday in July as ‘‘National Day of the Cowboy’’
Whereas pioneering men and women known as cowboys, helped establish America’s frontiers;
Whereas the cowboy archetype transcends gender, generations, ethnicity, geographic boundaries, and political affiliations;
Whereas the cowboy embodies honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, and determination;
Whereas the cowboy Vaquero spirit exemplifies patriotism and strength of character;
Whereas the cowboy is an excellent steward of the land and its creatures;
Whereas the core values expressed within the Cowboy Code of Conduct continue to inspire the pursuit of the highest caliber of personal integrity;
Whereas cowboy and ranching traditions have been part of the American landscape and culture since 1523, and today’s cowboys and cowgirls continue to strive to preserve and perpetuate this unique element of America’s heritage;
Whereas annual attendance at rodeos exceeds 30,000,000 fans worldwide,
Whereas membership and participation in the National Day of the Cowboy Organization, Single Action Shooting Society, Working Ranch Rodeo Association, Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, Championship Bull Riding, Working Ranch Rodeo, Women’s Pro Rodeo, U.S. Team Roping, the Western Music Association, and other organizations that encompass the livelihood of the cowboy, continues to expand both nationally and internationally;
Whereas the cowboy and his horse are a central figure in literature, art, film, poetry, photography, and music, and
Whereas the cowboy is a true American icon occupying a central place in the public’s imagination;
Now therefore, be it
Resolved, that the House of Representatives and the Senate —
(1) express support for the designation of a ‘‘National Day of the Cowboy’’; and
(2) encourage the people of the United States of America to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
National Day of the Cowboy Resolution 2009
(Original Signature of Member)
2ND SESSION H. RES. 322
Expressing support for the designation of July 25, 2009 as
‘‘National Day of the Cowboy’’.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. GIFFORDS submitted the following resolution which will be referred to the Committee on
Whereas pioneering men and women known as cowboys helped establish the American West;
Whereas the cowboy embodies honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, respect, a strong work ethic, courage and patriotism;
Whereas the cowboy spirit exemplifies strength of character, sound family values and good common sense;
Whereas the cowboy archetype transends ethnicity, gender, geographic boundaries, and poitical affiliation;
Whereas the cowboy is an excellent steward of the land and its creatures;
Whereas the cowboy lives off the land and works to protect and enhance the environment;
Whereas cowboy traditions have been part of the American culture for generations;
Whereas the cowboy continues to be an important part of the economy, through the work of approximately 727,000 ranchers in all 50 States, and contributes to the wellbeing of nearly every county in the Nation;
Whereas annual attendance at professional and working ranch rodeo events exceeds 27,000,000 fans, and rodeo is the 7th most watched sport in the Nation;
Whereas membership and participation in rodeo and other organizations that promote and encompass the livelihood of the cowboy spans race, gender, and generations;
Whereas the cowboy is a central figure in literature, film, and music, and occupies a central place in the public imagination;
Whereas the cowboy is an American icon; and
Whereas the ongoing contributions made by cowboys and
cowgirls to their communities should be recognized and
encouraged: Now, therefore, be it
1. Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) expresses support for the designation of a
‘‘National Day of the Cowboy’’; and
(2) encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Official NDOC Spokespersons
- Lee Anderson – Arizona
- Tom Bass – Florida
- Kelsee Brady Bradshaw – Arizona
- Johnny Hotshot Tuscadero – Arizona
- “Dr.” Buck Montgomery – Arizona
- Julie Ann Ream – California
- Concho – Arizona
- Sally Bishop – Canada
- Abbie Caplin’s Frontiers
- Ah-Ha Music Group
- AJ’s Western Wear
- Arizona Sun Mercantile
- Bob Fox
- Cowgirls Historical Foundation
- Luckenbach, Texas
- Larry Shell
- Brian Lebel – Old West Auction
- Gerald Betley
- Michael Martin Murphey
- Gold Canyon Golf Resort
- T-Bird Arnold
- Larry & Jan Brady
- Tom Ezell
- Baker Hughes
- James N. Scherer
- Jeremy Joe Larsen
- Allen Wilkinson, Boot King
- Artector, Inc., Anthony Arnautov
- Santa Fe Unlimited
- Taos Unlimited
- Brent & Janet Slutsky
- Cowboy “Lucky” Lukianenko
- Arizona Horse Council
- Chronicle of the Old West
- Marvin del Chiaro
Website harmonica music, “Muddy Waters,” used by permission of Frank Bard
Official National Day of the Cowboy Brand – T-Bone Brands, Arizona
Official Hat Maker – Bronco Sue, New Mexico
Official Good Luck Cowboy- Vladimir “Lucky” Lukianenko
Official Buckle Maker – Gist Silversmiths, Placerville, California
Official National Day of the Cowboy Posters – Hatch Show Print, Tennessee