On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 10:30AM, the Arizona Senate held its final vote on the National Day of the Cowboy bill, SB1139, unanimously awarding permanent status to the 4th Saturday in July as an official day to celebrate cowboy culture and pioneer heritage. Arizona Senator Gail Griffin, from Hereford, Arizona, was the bill’s sponsor. Arizona became the fourth state in history to approve the bill which first passed as a bill in the Wyoming Legislature in March 2012. In June 2012, California became the second state to pass the National Day of the Cowboy bill and New Mexico followed suit on March 4, 2013.
A posse of longtime backers of the National Day of the Cowboy effort, including representatives from Arizona’s prestigious Cowgirls Historical Foundation, John and Pat Manes from the Arizona Horsemen’s Association, NDOC Spokespersons; Kelsey Bradshaw and World Champion gun spinner Hotshot Johnny Tuscadero, America’s Western Sweetheart, Belinda Gail, Bob Lorbeer of the Long Beach Mounted Police, as well as the Director of the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization, Bethany Braley and her mother, Nina Braley, all gathered with other NDOC supporters on the west steps of Arizona’s Capitol at 9:30 Wednesday morning to witness together the reading and passage of the bill.
On Thursday, April 4th, Oklahoma became the fifth state to pass the National Day of the Cowboy bill in perpetuity, thanks to Oklahoma volunteer, Ed Pewitt and to his NDOC bill sponsor, Senator Don Barrington. It is anticipated that Kansas will also pass the National Day of the Cowboy bill within the next three weeks, bringing the total to six states recognizing the day in perpetuity. The bill began as a resolution in 2005 and has since passed as a resolution in the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and many state legislatures, with Arizona being the first state body to pass it as an annual resolution in 2008. The National Day of the Cowboy flag now flies in 28 states and three other countries (United Kingdom, Lebanon, and Canada). It has flown over the barracks of the Desert Cowboys in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in 2008, a National Day of the Cowboy flag flew to the International Space Station aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle with NASA Commander, Mark Kelly.
Kansas, Texas, Washington, and Florida are all in the running to become the 6th state to pass the National Day of the Cowboy resolution in perpetuity. Kansas has enlisted Representative Brian Weber. In Texas, the resolution is in the hands of Senator Donna Campbell and Representative Joe Pickett. NDOC Spokesperson Tom Bass feels there is very good chance that Florida will become the first state east of the Mississippi to pass the resolution, which is very fitting since Florida was our first cattle state.
In March 2012, Wyoming took the lead in becoming the first state to award permanent status to the 4th Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy. Susan Thomas is the NDOC volunteer who was able to make that happen in Wyoming, along with Senator Jim Anderson and Representative Tom Lockhart. Later that year, in June, the California Legislature also bestowed permanent status to the National Day of the Cowboy. Volunteers Larry Brady, Jan Brady, Bob Fox, Brent Slutsky, Janet Slutsky, Vi Tara, Belinda Gail and Bob Lorbeer, all worked together with Senators Gaines, Fuller and LaMalfa to achieve this milestone in California. On March 4, 2013, as a result of the efforts of Richard Beal and Senator Brian Egolf, New Mexico became the 3rd state to pass the resolution in perpetuity, recognizing the 4th Saturday in July as the official day for New Mexicans to honor their rich ranching and cowboy heritage.
Jerry Betley enlisted the support of Indiana Senator John Waterman to sponsor the NDOC resolution in Indiana, but the chairman of the committee to which it had to first be referred, Senator Alting, decided to kill the bill. Wow! This is a first!.Those of you who live in Indiana might want to give Jerry a hand by contacting Senator Alting and asking why he killed the bill in committee. Maybe you could encourage him to reconsider.
Other volunteers working to secure a sponsor in their states are Slim McNaught in South Dakota, Ray Morrell in North Dakota, Debbie Koop in Colorado, Ron Wilson and Sandie Masden in Kansas, Kerri Ellis in Idaho, and Mike Burk in Missouri. Greg Martin, of Ag Radio, also now has an NDOC sponsor for the first time in the State of Washington, Senator Sharon Brown. Since this is Washington’s first passage, it will most likely be a resolution for July 27, 2013 only, but this lays the groundwork for Washington to introduce it as a bill next year and seek permanent passage at that time.
If your state is not listed in the above and you’d like to volunteer to help, please contact email@example.com. Enlisting a sponsor in your state legislature is not usually a difficult or complicated process and we can guide you through it each step of the way. It never involves petitions or letter campaigns. We will send you all the information you need to move the resolution forward. Our 2013 goal is to add every state to our list of those who have awarded permanent status to the National Day of the Cowboy as a day to celebrate pioneer heritage and cowboy culture. Wouldn’t you like to see YOUR state to be among at least the first ten states to formally recognize the importance of preserving this history for now and for all generations to come?