The American Cowboy. Just the sound of it conjures up visions of boots, spurs, cowboy hats, and chaps. Do you see a ruggedly handsome man on horseback with a cloud of dust rising behind him? Or, you might see a rodeo participant leaning against the arena resting his boot on the bottom rail of the fence as the number pinned to his back moves slightly in the breeze. Regardless of what picture you saw, I am sure that your cowboy was dressed similarly to the ones described above.
At Cross Creek Cattle Company we have no dress code on the ranch, but my dad dresses like a traditional cowboy. He is almost always in cowboy cut jeans. He wears his boots and spurs all the time. My dad can never sneak up on you because his spurs sing, “clink, clink, clink,” with each step. He is the picture of a cowboy with his straw or felt hat, depending on the weather, always perched on his head. The hat is pulled down on his head so that the brim covers most of his forehead like a true cowboy.
My husband cleans up real nice, too. He wears traditional cowboy attire often. However this summer, I have noticed a change in his ranch wear. It has been unusually hot and dry this year. Day after day the temperatures soared well over 100 degrees, and that does not even come close to the heat index. I guess you can say that my husband has adapted to the climate.
This summer and early fall you are more likely to see our ranch manager, Lane, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts than in anything else. He has traded his boots for flip-flops. Not only is he cooler, he is more comfortable in the high humidity. I tease him all the time about his new ranch wear.
Like other fashion trends, there is a price to pay for your style. Usually women trade comfort for the pain of beautiful, high-heeled shoes. Lane has done the opposite. He has chosen comfort over the protection provided by cowboy boots. Dewberry vines, stickers, and other thorns gain easy access to his bare ankles. Snakes cannot pierce through the thick leather of a cowboy boot. Without that protection, Lane has to be more careful walking through wooded areas.
As a child, you were taught “to not judge a book by its cover.” I have seen my share of urban cowboys, especially at events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. These men look the part, but you can usually tell the difference between them and a real cowboy. Regardless of how my husband dresses in the morning, the fact of the matter is that he is a still a cowboy.
Lane checks on the herd daily and moves them to different pastures often. He feeds and works with the horses. He puts out hay, fixes fence, etc. in his new ranch wear. But there is one thing he will not do without jeans and boots: ride a horse. It is too dangerous to wear flip-flops while riding and too uncomfortable on your inner legs to wear shorts. I am glad he knows where to draw the line. If you run into him in the pasture, at the feed store, or in the street, don’t be surprised if Lane is sporting his latest style.