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