A Cowboy’s Faith: Cowboys sleep wherever they can

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“I don’t see how you can sleep or get any rest like that.”

More than one made such comment at the last horse show where riders stay overnight by the arena.

“Did you get a good night’s sleep?” is a rather frequent good morning greeting. Yet, it sometimes seems to be said with a bit of sneering, jiving tone rather than complete congeniality.

Remarks are actually being made in regard to the old cowboy’s slumbering arrangements. No arguing they’re quite different than the other couple dozen bedroom accommodations away from home.

Century-and-a-half-ago cowboys trailing herds from grazing lands to railroad towns for terminal shipping slept on the ground at night. There was no alternative, generally with saddle as pillow, a blanket as cover, maybe jacket was pulled on towards morning.

Early day rodeo cowboys tell stories with semblance often camping out at the arena as there wasn’t money for motels.

When horse shows gained popularity mid-last-century, most riders were country people enjoying the weekend family sporting entertainment. Trailers were almost non-existent early on with horses hauled in pickups or small flatbed trucks.

Family members crowded into the cab generally four deep, sometimes more, and the remainders rode back with the horses. That was typical when there were a handful of children.

Come nighttime each kid with their blanket found a spot to bed down on the grass perhaps under the truck. Mom and Dad sometimes had a bedroll possibly a portable cot generally sleeping in the back of the truck bed. Of course, horses were tied to the truck or staked out to graze.

None of those earlier horse-showing generations could ever imagine the “luxuries” of today’s exhibitors’ on-the-road lodging. Probably not necessary to even describe the horse trailer combination traveling home-away-from-home most horseshow families have nowadays.

But, they’re big and fancy with horse hauling area often seeming second priority. Participants’ living quarters include lights, kitchen, restroom, maybe shower, divan, several beds, air conditioner and heater when needed. Electrical hookup is urgency for modern ones staying overnight. They rent stalls or runs for their horses.

So when the old cowboy sleeps in the single-seat pickup cab, horses tied to the trailer, it is uncommon. Water must be nearby to bucket for the mounts.

Reminded of Proverbs 3:24: “Go to bed without fear, lie down and sleep soundly.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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