Saturday, July 24th marks the 17th annual National Day of the Cowboy.

The purpose of the day is to celebrate the contribution of the Cowboy and Cowgirl to America’s culture and heritage. In the words of former President Bush, as posted on the organization’s website, “We celebrate the Cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The Cowboy’s love of the land and love of the country are examples for all Americans.”

Here’s some background on the hoopla. Almost two decades ago now, Bethany Braley from Prescott, AZ was working at a magazine when her boss asked her to make his pet project “Vote for a Cowboy Day” happen. First thing Bethany did was change the name to “National Day of the Cowboy.” Then she took off running, and she hasn’t stopped since. Last year, we did a Cowboy Up Podcast episode with Bethany. You can give a listen to it here or below.

I was raised a cowboy and loved being a cowboy, but I never thought of myself as an icon of the American West. When you work your career as a cowboy, the glamour points are few and far between. During spring and fall roundups, days start at three am, end 14 hours later and continue in that vein every day for a month. Talk about some long, hard dusty days.

But as most of us would agree, it’s important to preserve western culture and heritage. So, hats off to Bethany and all the folks keeping the cowboy spirit alive and intact. Let’s make sure to do it again next year.