The Cow Puncher
The Cow Puncher is the Thoroughbred of the Plains.
He is the man with leather “chaps,” wooden lungs, a Sweetwilliam temper and a wroughtiron digestion, who rolls his cigarettes and roars, “Diff’runt here!”
On the ranch, he is only a Solitary Figure in pursuit of the Cloven Hoof. In town, he is the Man with the Wide Acquaintance, who canters down the Broad and Easy Path under the Ready Money Banner.
The Cow Puncher is an authority on Brands, whether found on the outside of a short, red steer, or the inside of a long, black bottle. He also recognizes a Cinch, whether it circles a broncho’s belly or embraces the contents of a Jack-Pot.
At Work his role is Mercury, the Winged Messenger of the Bovine Gods. At play, he is Tattered Tom, the Terrible Tank.
For 30 days, the Cow Puncher communes soberly with the Sage brush and the Stars. Then he draws his Wad, sidesteps to the Glided Halls of Vice and for 30 days does the Grape Vine Twist in the Tanglefoot of Town.
At home the Cow Puncher is like Baking Powder – a self-rising, breadwinning product, retained by a little “tin.” In town, he’s like a jackknife – safe enough when shut up, but apt to draw blood when “wide open.”
The Cow Puncher has been called a Diamond in the Rough. But, he shines only once a month, on Pay Day, and the Morning After, he looks “The Light That Failed.”
The Cow Puncher is a good lawyer. He pleads best before the Bar, and is recognized as a good Judge – of whiskey.
The Cow Puncher is the Salt of the Earth. This not only prevents his being fresh, but it insures him a Perpetual Thirst.
The Cow Puncher is the best friend you can have– with the Head of a Politician, the hand of a Philanthropist and a Heart as big as a Cody Water Wagon.
The above is reprinted here with wording, capitalization and punctuation as found in the Dec. 22, 1902 issue of the Grand Encampment Herald. It originally appeared in the Cody Enterprise. The author was not listed.
While this article presents one side of the “Cow Puncher,” the gentler side is portrayed by Sheridan area Cowboy Poet and renowned Artist Bill Gollings with the drawing below accompanied by the following wording.
While I’m headed for home o’re the prairie
With my throwback a drifting along
My thoughts like my spurs keep a jingling
The tune of a Christmas song,
And friendship’s memory comes o’re me
Lighting up the tried and the true
And I’m ridin alone, and I’m wishing,
A Merry Christmas to you!
I know it’s early for Christmas, but this great message is appropriate all year long.