National Day of the Cowboy 2020

Saturday, July 25, is the National Day of the Cowboy — a day to honor the hardworking men and women who have become a symbol of the American West.

The sight of a cowboy in a pair of dusty boots with his hat settled just so on his head never fails to make me smile. My appreciation of cowboys and the western way of life came naturally, growing up as a horse-crazy girl on our farm in Eastern Oregon.

The fact my oldest brother spent weeks (and sometimes) months at a time working on remote ranches next door to the edge of nowhere only added to my fascination. He’d arrive home full of exciting tales of daring that made me sit up and take notice. Sometimes, he brought along a fellow cowpoke in need of a home-cooked meal and a few days of rest before they headed back to boonies.

As a little girl, I’d listen to them talk about a way of life that seemed to be all but disappearing. They always smelled like leather and horses and sunshine – a scent I still love to this day.

When I began writing sweet romances, it seemed quite natural to write about cowboys as the heroes. Some of my stories take place in historical settings, others are contemporary, but the common thread is that the men live by a code I always associate with cowboys (and if you wanted to compare it to the code of knights, I think you’d find some interesting similarities).


And I”m grateful to the cowboys (and girls!) who inspire me, inspire my stories. In fact, each year, I hold a campaign to raise funds and awareness of the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.


This year’s Read a Book, Help a Cowboy campaign will begin October 1 and run through December 24. You can read more about it right here on my website.

I hope you’ll join me today in celebrating the National Day of the Cowboy.  Watch a western movie, read a book about a cowboy, go to a rodeo or visit a cowboy museum. However you spend the day, think about those hard-working folks who continue to be a wonderful symbol of the American West.

And while you’re here, enter for a chance to win a paperback (or digital) copy of Catching the Cowboy and some fun goodies! Just post a comment sharing your favorite cowboy (can be a real or fictional character!).

One randomly selected winner will be notified by, July 30 ,2020.

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81 Responses

  1. I love to watch the old John Wayne westerns. One of my favorites is The Cowboys, and his character in the movie is my favorite cowboy ever.

  2. I love John Wayne and Roy Rogers! I used to go to sleep at night listening to Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers record my dad bought for me. Roy Rogers’ hometown is about 40 minutes south of where I live. Lol, I also wanted to be the next Dale Evans. I loved the song “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Old Spanish Custom”! The songs still play in my head from time to time.

  3. I’m going to go with a cowboy who is a little bit different than the norm. My choice is Calamity Jane. I love her because she seemed a bit before her time. She was a daredevil but at the same time, she helped people by showing them compassion. She also helped the sick and needy. I picked Calamity Jane because of her name at first. I figured being a hot mess myself, it’s something we would have in common. It is unknown how or why she got the name but it actually means “heroine of the plains.” Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win!

  4. I fell in love with Cowboys when I discovered Roy Rogers movies. He is one of my heroes! In the movies he was always dashing and romantic, standing up for right and fighting wrong. He was everything a cowboy should be, both on the screen and off.

  5. When my oldest grandson was 8 (he is now 32) we took him on vacation with us. We were east of Baker City and a herd of cattle was being driven from one place to another. They were traveling right along the edge of the hillside next to the highway. We were approaching slowly to watch. The last cowboy in the line flagged us down and ask us to take his flag and give it to the lead cowboy. My grandson was spellbound. To this day I don’t know what that flag represented but it is one of my favorite memories. It was truly amazing to see.

  6. john wayne is my favorite cowboy in movies, I would have to say the cowboys in Pendelton are my favorite in books

  7. I love to read western historical romances. Some of my favorite characters were on Bonanza. We watch a little of John Wayne movies.

  8. I have always liked Clint Walker from Cheyenne. He was such a gentle cowboy always looking out for the underdogs.

  9. Roy Rogers, John Wayne and Michael Landon had a way about them when they sat in a saddle. They knew how to treat others with respect. Thank you for all those who continue in the rich history.

  10. stories of the cowboys and cowgirls are always interesting and exciting! of course I liked Robert Redford and
    Paul Newman in Sundance Kid! WOW

  11. My favorite cowboy is Michael Land on from Bananza. I always thought he was funny and cute. I miss those old westerns. I use to watch them with my dad back in the early 70’s. Dad loved westerns. He’s been gone for 12 years now. I still watch Bonanza reruns and think of my dad.

  12. Cowboys represent men and men with integrity, principles, values and strength of character. When I was young in the early and all through the 1950’s I used to watch Westerns. I was in awe of the bravery of the cowboys.
    James Arness, Roy Rogers, Lorne Greene, Chuck Connors, Richard Boone, Davy Crockett, and many more because they were real men, when men were men.

  13. Always enjoyed cowboy westerns, but as a girl from the East coast, they seemed more fiction than real. Recently retired & moved to beautiful Texas Hill Country where cowboys are real! My hair stylist’s husband Cody is a bull rider in the rodeos which aren’t happening right now due to COVID. They have a nearby ranch raising cattle in their “spare” time. I’ve found my favorite type of cattle –Longhorn–on, coincidentally a road called Cow Creek where they roam freely. They always make me smile–I wonder what God was thinking when He created Longhorn!?! 😉

  14. Happy National Day of the Cowboy!🐎🐎 l grew up watching westerns on TV and loved them all so I don’t really have a favorite!! And love to read the Western and Historical Western Romance!!

  15. We liked to watch the old westerns on TV when we were growing up. The Big Valley was my favorite. I like to read western books that are Christian contemporary.

  16. I always thought John Wayne portrayed the cowboy the best. His own personal ideals always shown through.
    I enjoyed reading your comments and like the Code of the West.

  17. For my oldie cowboys, John Wayne in McClintock, the brothers from Seven Brides (kind of a cross between cowboy/mountain man) and Curly from Oklahoma.

    For my modern cowboy, George Strait in Pure Country. Mmmmhmmm! 😏

  18. One of my favorite cowboys is my 93 year old uncle. He is a Godly man.

    Growing up I remember Saddle Up Saturdays.

  19. I love Kevin Costner when he plays a Cowboy and I love Travis Thompson from your Grass Valley there was just something about Travis that got to my heart

  20. I love watching John Wayne movies! I especially love El Dorado with Robert Mitchum and James Caan. Another favorite is Rio Bravo with Ricky Nelson and Dean Martin. Silverado is another all time favorite with Kevin Costner!

  21. I’d have to say my favorite cowboy would have to be Jett Rink in Giant (played by the late, great James Dean)

  22. i love Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane . I also had a thing for Maverick as well as the guys on Bonanza.

  23. I love your books, and will be jamming to George Strait and Clay Walker tomorrow for National Day of the Cowboy! Thank you for the wonderful stories!

  24. I became fascinated with cowboys after watching Red River with my dad when I was a child. Since then i love To read books with Cowboys.

  25. I’ve been watching the show Yellowstone lately, so right now my favorite cowboy is Kevin Costner.

  26. I love Trey Thompson from Grass Valley and Thane Jordan from Baker City! ❤️❤️❤️

  27. I love cowboy stories, young and old. We lived in Elko NV for a while and went to the Cowboy Poetry gatherings there- interesting folks!!

  28. I just love your cowboy books. My favorite cowboy character is Gage Taggert…no Cooper James…no Chase Jarrett…OK I can’t pick a favorite so I’ll say all the cowboys from the Rodeo Romance Series.

    And my favorite real-life cowboys are JB Mauney, Ty Murray, and Adriano Moraes

    1. Oh, you gave me the biggest smile, Dawn. Thanks for being a faithful reader and for loving those rodeo cowboys, too! <3

  29. I grew up on Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gary Hayes, Hop-a/Long Cassidy etc. my biggest thrill was seeing all 4 of the Bonanza stars at the old Sacramento airport night waiting to pickup my father. They were on their way to Tahoe for location

  30. My favorite cowboy was Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans. The Roy Rogers Show was a TV show which went for 6 years in the 50’s and the theme song was “Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again.”

  31. I have always loved John Wayne,Tex Ritter,Roy Rogers, Audie Murphy, Gene Autry and The Lone Ranger

  32. Hi Shanna – I love Clint Eastwood in all the cowboy movies he made. Can’t believe the years have flown by & he is 90 now. Cowboys always warm my heart & they are hard, but fair. Enjoy reading any Cowboy book I can get my hands on.

  33. Happy Saturday.
    My favorite cowboy and hero is my dad. From the time I was six months old he had me on a horse. He not only taught me horses, roping, and his yo care for our tack & Etc. He taught me the value of life, how to treat others and everything in between.
    I loved your blog. Love and & hugs!

  34. I’ll never forget James Stewart playing Destry Rides Again, a 1939 classic black and white Western thriller with Marlene Dietrich as the heroine. It had the greatest knock-down-drag-out saloon fight scene I have ever seen.

  35. I live on the Grand Mesa in Colorado. It is the largest flat top mountain in the world. On the Grand Mesa there are still cattle drives. Families here have their children of all ages in the saddles before daylight moving cattle from one location to another. It is so awesome to see the major cattle drives go by my home several times a year. Cowboys and Cowgirls have a code of their own we should all appreciate.

  36. My fav cowboy will always be John Wayne. I have seen so many of his movies over and over. Thanks for the chance to win and Happy National Cowboy Day.

  37. WOW it is about time those good looking respectful men get a day to themselves. I love the program on TV with Kevin Costner called Yellowstone I have been hooked since the first one same as print books with cowboys. My dad used to pick me up from the foster home we would go to his house and eat a grilled cheese and they were so good . Then it was a trip to the library he would go to the westerns and I would go to the kids and take out all the girl books and read. We would spend a lot of time there and I just loved it. Then I didn’t get to get one as I was just there over night and he always got two or three he would read in a week. Then he would take my hand and we would walk home. My favorite memory of us. My favorite cowboy right now is Kevin Costner in Yellowstone he plays the series just perfect and loved the magazine he was featured in that I get Cowboys & Indians

  38. I love to Watch the old West movies with Jimmy Stewart and have devoured books about Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. My hubby and I enjoy staying up late on Friday night to watch The Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers on Grit TV.

  39. The word ‘cowboy’ brings back memories of spending time on the farm and all things ‘ranch’ related. Including the cowboys on horse back, early mornings in the barn, afternoons in the garden or taking lunch to the field and beautiful sunsets. A cowboy is a special person.

  40. I love a good cowboy story, they work so hard to keep everything going and finding love is not always easy but a good story about it is great.

  41. I’d have to go back to my first cowboy crush, and that would be Little Joe and Hoss , from Bonanza, or Marty Robbins, the country singer, because I loved the cowboy ballads he sang about.

  42. In 1970-71 for 14 months, we travelled across the US and some of Canada while my dad was on sabbatical from teaching. He made many Super 8 films while researching American Indians. My brother and I (aged 6/7 and 3/4 respectively) made many little friends, had real moccasins, fringed jackets and guns with holsters! It left me with a love for the southwest US and anything western ever since.

  43. Born and raised in West Texas in the middle of nowhere so cowboys and oil were what I knew most. Rodeos were not to be missed and boots were just part of getting dressed along with Levis! The Stampede with Hal Nix was a Saturday night out with a date or whole family. So yep, I read cowboy books, watch movies, and TV shows. May I say you do it justice when you write about them!

  44. Grew up watching westerns with my dad. Why is a cowboy so darn appealing? It’s so much more than just their looks, isn’t it?! 💜🤠🤠🤠 🐎🐎🐎

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