- MEMBERSHIP CARD -
- SUBSCRIPTION TO THE KANSAS COWBOY -
Official publication to the C.O.W.B.O.Y. Society
with News, Shootings, Roundups, and the like
- DISCOUNTS AT DROVERS MERCANTILE -
- ANNUAL FALL ROUNDUP -
Kansas' Largest Cowboy Encampment
in Ellsworth, Kansas
(A memorable year for cowboys!!)
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119 W. DOUGLAS - ELLSWORTH, KS 67439 - (913) 472 - 4703
And welcome to the C.O.W.B.O.Y. Society.
When cowboys still trailed cattle north out of Texas and the Strip, the railroad offered special Cowboy rates for the trip home and the Kansas Cowboy magazine offered reading material related to Cowboy interests of the day.
All over the country, we're seeing a resurgence in recreating the Cowboy life of old. What better way to keep track of today's Cowboy interests than in the pages of the Kansas Cowboy!
Perhaps, like you, I grew up on Hoppy, Gene, and Roy. Once, my frantic mother called all the neighbors looking for her lost son. Three quarters of a mile away, a little Cowpoke trotted up the neighbor's drive on his trusty stick horse. Just riding' over to chat a spell!!
I grew up wishing I could live where the Cowboys lived. Ridin', ropin' and shootin' all day. Savin' the town from the outlaws or driving steers up the trail from Texas. Sure, we had cows and I learned a few tricks from some oldtime Cowboys, but, I guess it was all that farmground and riding 'round and 'round on Dad's old John Deere tractor that clouded my mind.
Fact was, I was living smack dab in the middle of one of the greatest Cowboys states in the nation! The last few years of research have reinforced my belief that our history teachers have rarely served us well. Hopefully, the pages of the Kansas Cowboy will bring to us all a new understanding and a fuller awareness of the important role the cowboy played in the building of a country.
Today's Cowboy carries a tradition held fast for generations. While the world seems to be collapsing in chaos and confusion, honesty and integrity lives in the handshake of the Cowboy enthusiast. If they only say one thing about the C.O.W.B.O.Y. Society, let it be,
"They believed in the Cowboy Way!"
Did you ever get the feeling that your life was just a puzzle that hadn't reached completion yet? It's funny how things come together one piece at a time. Suppose it's one of those really large puzzles. You move on to another section and start putting pieces together, when all of a sudden, you run across a piece that fits the first section, and "Boom!" there you are back where you started, but this time, you see a little more. And, for a moment... you feel a little more confident about where you're going and what you're doing.
Well, that's the long way around telling the story of the Kansas Cowboy. Years ago I ran across the collection of the original Kansas Cowboy newspapers in the archives at the Kansas State Historical Society. This was back in the days when you actually got the originals for research. I was fascinated! The masthead drew me right in. Here was this mustached fellow in a cowboy hat, presiding over typical ranching operations with Longhorns and block letters announcing to the world that THIS was the Kansas Cowboy! My primary reason for being there was put on hold as I poured over the pages. I finally got back to my intended research, but never quite forgot about the Cowboy.
Published in the 1880's, the Kansas Cowboy was started by the Western Central Kansas Stock Association. The paper covered the cattle business as it shaped the lives of those on the prairies of West/Central Kansas. Letters were published from cowboys out in the line shacks and ranch houses of the plains. The Smoky Hill Cattle Pool was of special interest, with brands and specific information on the ranches that ran cattle on the Smoky Hill Range. With a circulation of 400 copies a week, and coverage of the cattle trade between the Arkansas and the Smoky Hill Rivers the Kansas Cowboy surveyed the territory for the cowboys of the Kansas prairie. Colonel S.S. Prouty, manager of the paper, moved the Cowboy from Sidney, Kansas to Dodge City because at that time it was "the livestock center of the Kansas range."
In the process of establishing the Drovers Mercantile, I found myself working on those old puzzle pieces that had been laid aside so many years ago. That masthead is the inspiration of our new Kansas Cowboy. Today, the Kansas Cowboy has been resurrected in Ellsworth, as it is fast becoming "the Cowboy Cultural Center of the Kansas Range." The Cowboy is alive and well in the beautiful Ellsworth County Smoky Hills! He is also very much a part of this great state, from border to border. On ranches and in towns and cities, he is there, as C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. carry on the traditions we all love. The legacy left to us by Colonel Prouty and thousands of cowboys is not forgotten by the C..O.W.B.O.Y. Society.
Long live the Cowboy!
A Cowboy's saddle was his pride and joy. If he didn't own one to start with he sure enough earned that ownership in time. Many outfits supplied a rig when the Cowboy hired on. As a matter of course, some of the ranches branded a number on each saddle for identification. As long as he was in the employ of the ranch, that saddle belonged to the Cowboy it was issued to.
Well, we thought that was a mighty fine way to identify C.O.W.B.O.Y. Society members. You'll find your membership number on yer saddle there in the middle of the card.
A Cowboy might run on to a streak of hard luck now and then, but a Cowboy without his saddle was "dead broke".
On the range, the Old Timers passed on one common piece of advice, "Never sell yer saddle!" Their meanin' was clear. It was the Cowboy Way!
The word spread down the trail. Ranches in Texas received flyers in the mail. The Kansas Pacific was building across Kansas. Cattle could be driven to railheads far west of the settlements. At Ellsworth, the Topeka Livestock Company proposed to build a cattle depot where the Texas cattlemen and buyers from all over the nation might carry on their transactions. At virtually the same time a young cattle buyer from Illinois was working on the same idea. Joseph McCoy was successful in arranging verbal contracts for shipping with the railroads and soon selected Abilene to build his cattle station, The Great Western Stockyards. Personal acquaintances served McCoy well. Colonel John J. Meyers supported the project and with that came the respect of most drovers. From his trading post at the mouth of the Little Arkansas River, Jesse Chisholm blazed a trail south into Indian Territory. Chisholm's trail is adopted by Texas drovers. By July, Cattle were grazing the flint hills far and wide and on September 5, 20 carloads of cattle were shipped to Chicago. Between 18,000 and 20,000 head were shipped that year.
To the west, General Hancock ordered Custer and his newly-formed Seventh Cavalry to seek out and subdue the warring plains tribes. At Hays City, a young fellow acquired the name Buffalo Bill while hunting buffalo for the railroad.
That year, 1867, the Cowboys rode up the trail to Kansas and into the pages of history.
Today's American cattle industry was founded on that trail as the great herds of Texas Longhorns spread across the high plains and the mountain ranges of the West.
When you sit down to have your way with that mouth-waterin', juicy steak, you're not just satisfying your hunger, you're participating in a Cowboy tradition that undeniably "takes hold" on the Kansas prairies in 1867.
There, you have it!
We hope tou've enjoyed our first attempt at the newspaper business. We got it started, but it's your paper of the Kansas Cowboy.
Write us letters, send information on Living History, Cowboy-type Celebrations (Forts, Pioneers, Buffalo Hunters, and Indians welcome), Balls, Poets, Music, Trail Rides, Ranch Rodeos, or aany other kind of yahoo' activity. We love it all!!
Plan to come see us in Ellsworth. The country around this old cattle town is so filled with history you can feel the spirit of the old trail Cowboy as he winds his way through the beautiful Smokey Hills.
When you come, wear yer duds 'cause Ellworth's the town where Cowboy culture can breathe free and natural. We know you'll feel it!
Till next time ...
© Copyright 1997 L.A.S.R.