Every little boy wants to be a cowboy. I took that a step further and went to college in Montana (thus the image above). Almost all of my friends there were cowboys. Real ones. Tough as nails --- "let's get into a bar fight" kind of cowboys. At Thanksgiving when most kids went home to be with their families I couldn't afford a trip back east, so I was usually invited to someone's ranch in eastern Montana to help brand calves. Now there's a story over a few beers. The kid from back East, typically just referred to as "the kid".

 

I liked the nickname.

At an annual event called the U or M Aber Day Kegger... which was sort of like Woodstock with 1000 kegs of beer... I even paid $25 to ride what Im sure (in retrospect) was an old worn out Brama bull one spring. All I remember is that it weighed 1200 lbs and I was on it's back for about 1.5 seconds. The next day I looked and felt like I had been in a car accident.

 

You don't just decide to "be" a cowboy.

Over the years, however, I have been lucky enough both personally and professionally to photograph the American West.  I may not be a cowboy... but I've photographed so some pretty cool ones. 

This is my look at the genre.

If you'd like to see some of my cowboy pictures, click here.

"Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys"

Willie Nelson