My Journey From Desert To Office

I didn’t take the decision to hang up my spurs casually.

The cowboy life has been a part of my family for generations. My Father and Mother, their parents, their parents’ parents and the settlers that came before them. My abandonment of the cowboy life has been something that I’ve been wrestling with for years, it represents a final breath of the Old West and a step into a brave new world of modernity that has existed in the urban centres of our country for decades.

So what made me throw in the proverbial towel? Why did I feel the need to forsake the identity that has been handed down to me like a priceless heir loom for so many decades?


I grew up on a ranch in the Deep South. [Only true Southerners capitalise the ‘D’ and ‘S’, it’s indicative of a deep respect for what our forefathers went through to settle the land and goes some way to presenting how important it is to our identity.] I spent the majority of my youth outside, riding horses, herding cattle, fixing fence and making a nuisance of myself. I never considered what a life spent inside might be like, because I never thought that I would live one.

Unfortunately, the days doing those little jobs fixing fence and herding cattle were numbered, I just didn’t know it yet.

Today, my line of work is far removed from what it once was. When I explain my job to new friends they often make a face, as if to say: ‘That’s actually something people do?”

You see, I sell and design custom glass manifestations. They’re the vinyl stickers or decals that are stuck onto floor-to-ceiling windows and doors to prevent people from walking into them. They may seem a little insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in many states they are mandatory in public buildings.

As these glass manifestations are mandatory for most buildings with floor to ceiling windows, I get regular calls from folks looking to make their building’s safety compliant and they’re always surprised to see a cowboy delivering their vinyl stickers.

You see, unlike many of my other friends who have traded in their cowboy hats for suits, I’ve stuck to my roots…to a certain extent.

As many of my customers note to me: ‘You can take the man out of the Deep South, but you can’t take the Deep South of the man.’

I’m proud to still speak with a thick Southern drawl, something that will probably be with me for the rest of my life and I don’t feel complete unless I have my stetson with me. Much to the chagrin of my daughters, I still drive a large pickup truck to all of my business appointments, regardless of whether I need the trunk space or not, and in my mind no summer weekend is complete without a good old-fashioned BBQ.

The cowboy spirit is an indomitable one that can exist in all sorts of environments. I’ve lived the true cowboy life and now I’m happy to say that I’ve done what it takes to keep the tradition living on.

New Opportunities for Soon To Be Ex-Cowboys

Are you thinking about hangin’ up your boots?

There comes a time in every cowboy’s life when they start to reconsider their life choices.

The world of the cowboy is a pretty male dominated one. Although there are more and more women stepping into the industry, over the centuries the role of punching cattle has remained one that is associated with masculinity. The growing numbers of capable cowgirls has proven that it’s not a vocation where brute strength is a complete necessity, but anyone (male or female) who has spent more than a few years working on the ranches will know that this is not a job that you do for your whole life.

Every year thousands of cowboys decide to retire from the business. If they’re lucky they might have enough cash to retire on, but many will find that they need to subsidise their nest egg with a consistent, lucrative form of work. The following vocations have been singled out for being particularly suitable for ex-Cowboys. They might involve getting out on the road, being physically active or simply talking to people: all traits of the cowboy lifestyle that you might miss when they’re gone.

Rodeo Rider

You’ll know by the end of your cowboy career whether or not you’re a good enough rider to tackle the demands of the rodeo circuit. Some cowboys, upon retiring, will balk at the idea of ever jumping on a horse again but some simply won’t be able to live without it. Develop a strong reputation in any one rodeo event and you could find yourself supplementing your retirement with the occasional injection of cash prizes or appearance fees.

Travelling BBQ Cleaner

Although this might not sound like the most glamorous of careers to take up, it does guarantee that you’ll spend your days travelling and meeting people which is always fun. You can either strike out on your own, or seek some advice on starting a cleaning business from someone who’s already succeeded. Americans love their BBQs but they don’t love cleaning them, that’s where you come in. Offering a complete service, with the option to book in yearly or bi-annually, you can keep your cash flow steady whilst remaining the master of your destiny.

Truck Driver

When you’ve spent a lifetime on a horse, you might prefer to take a smoother mode of transport – driving a truck or articulated vehicle requires little training and offers you the chance to explore America whilst getting paid! If you enjoy meeting people, travelling to new places and think you’ll struggle getting out of the habit of waking at the crack of dawn every morning then this could be ideal work for you.

Trekking Guide

Finally, if you really can’t separate yourself from a horse for more than a few hours at a time, you might want to consider entering into the tourism trade. Chances are that a career as a cowboy has set you up with a complete set of skills for taking guided treks on horseback. Don’t take your skills or knowledge for granted, as long as you’re a patient, sociable person you’ll be able to get paid well for simply taking tourists out in the countryside you love to spend time in.

5 Cowboy Campfire Must-Haves

Planning a Camping Trip Soon?

A cowboy on a camping trip is a wonderful thing to see.

The great outdoors is arguably where we are at our most comfortable; after all it’s where our forefathers made their fortune and where our traditional attire was designed to be worn. It’s in the wide open spaces of the Yosemite National Park or the lush green forests of the Acadia National Park that our true nature is revealed.

We are men and women of the river. Followers of dusty trails and craftsmen of our own destinies – there is perhaps no better way of understanding American freedom than pitching a tent out in the wilds, starting a fire and sleeping peacefully on the ground that our forefathers have struggled for centuries to tame.

But before you even think about packing your saddlebags for your next excursion into the old West, make sure that you bring along at least a couple of these authentic cowboy essentials:

LXK2 Little Martin

Even if you’re out by yourself doing a bit of soul searching, a portable, clean-sounding acoustic guitar is essential for a camping trip. All you need to know is a handful of chords to string together a heartfelt ode to the good ol’ days. However, if you’re camping with a group, then you should certainly think about learning a few campfire basics just in case you’re called on to lead a rousing singalong.

Survival Knife

A good sharp knife is an essential piece of gear that has been carried by cowboys for centuries. Whilst you should avoid purchasing any knife purely for its ornamental value, it is important that your survival knife has at least a passing aesthetic value.

Although we aim for everything that we carry or wear to have an innate practical purpose, it’s important to remember that our culture also demands that we ascribe to a certain level of ornamentation.

Kemo Sabe Boots

Whilst you may balk at the price, you’ll struggle to find a better boot anywhere else in America than at Kemo Sabe.

This is a brand that understands how boots should be. They create a range of meticulously crafted handmade boots that are both hard-wearing and finely decorated. Although you might well think that it makes sense to spend less money and buy more than one pair boots, the truth is that two (or even three) pairs of boots will not outlast one pair of Kemo Sabes.

BioLite CookStove

Forget about rubbing sticks together for hours on end, this cooking stove is the perfect answer to the modern cowboy’s needs. The BioLite CampStove 2 is a perfect addition to your camping arsenal, providing a simple way of creating and controlling a wood fire. Simply feed the stove with your wood fuel and then use the power to cook your food, light your campsite and even charge your phone. It might not be a traditional campfire, but it’s portable, practical and safe.

The Range Tent

Although you might be attracted to the idea of stretching out underneath a blanket of stars, camping without a tent is not always recommended here in the States. Not only can predators like bears and snakes attack when you’re in a vulnerable position, but the elements are often not best suited to this kind of rough-sleeping. Still, if you’re going to use a tent then it may as well be a traditional cowboy tent. This Range Tent from established tent-makers Ellis encapsulate what is great about traditional canvas style setups.