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Overview of the National Day of the Cowboy Organization



The mission of the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization is to contribute to the preservation of America's Cowboy heritage so that the history and culture which the United States Congress's National Day of the Cowboy resolution honors, can be shared and perpetuated for the public good, through education, the arts, celebrations, gatherings, rodeos, and community activities.

July 23, 2005 First National Day of the Cowboy
July 22, 2006 Second Annual National Day of the Cowboy
July 28, 2007 Third Annual National Day of the Cowboy
July 26, 2008 Fourth Annual National Day of the Cowboy
July 25, 2009 Fifth Annual National Day of the Cowboy
July 24, 2010 Sixth Annual National Day of the Cowboy
July 23, 2011 Seventh Annual National Day of the Cowboy
July 28, 2012 Eighth Annual National Day of the Cowboy

Resolution Titles

Resolved that the House of Representatives......
"(2) encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

This is the entire mandate from every Cowboy resolution we know of (including the U.S. House and U.S. Senate resolutions), and is also the mandate of every resolution we and our volunteers work to get passed - simply to encourage celebration and involvement. The primary purpose of the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization is to fulfill this mandate. We encourage celebrations, proclamations, and passage, not just in communities and states, but in international countries as well.

The titles of the resolutions and proclamations we've helped achieve vary from Day of the Cowboy to Oklahoma Cowboy Day to Texas National Day of the Cowboy to National Day of the Cowboy. We recognize fully that the title of the resolution is certainly not as important as its mandate, however, we do not endorse the title "National Day of the American Cowboy" for a number of reasons.

First, we do not wish to appear as though we are promoting a single magazine, rather than a national holiday which should belong to everyone. Second, we feel that limiting the title to the "American Cowboy" sends a message of exclusion which marginalizes the many people in and from other countries who contribute to this preservation effort and who in fact, are a vital part of its history. Lastly, as a nonprofit organization it is our responsibility to educate the public at large about pioneer heritage and cowboy culture, in an open inclusive atmosphere, not influenced by private corporations or their individual marketing efforts.

All that being said, the bottom line for us is that all people should feel invited to honor and celebrate this phenomenal heritage, regardless of what they choose to entitle it or where they may be from.

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July 23, 2005 - US Senator Thomas reading the Letter of Support from President GW Bush at CFD

A western lifestyle magazine erroneously reported in 2005 that the Day of the Cowboy had been signed into law by then President, Geoge W. Bush. This is incorrect. The President sent an official "Letter of Support,"  which is the highest action he could take with regard to a resolution. Many people remain under the mistaken impression that the Cowboy resolution was made permanent at that time. We at the National Day of the Cowboy have a letter from the President stating his support. When Senator Thomas finished reading the 2005 letter, he and his wife, Susan, presented a National Day of the Cowboy flag to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Executive Committee and to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Volunteer Organization. We were honored to be on the platform that day as guests of Senator and Mrs. Thomas. The 2006 letter was given to us by Senator Thomas, after he read it to the crowd in attendance at Cheyenne Frontier Days on the National Day of the Cowboy.

The National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit corporation has been working to make this resolution permanent since we founded our organization in June, 2005.

US Senator Craig Thomas and his wife, Susan, present the National Day of the Cowboy flag to the
CFD Executive Committee and the CFD Volunteer Organization - July 23, 2005

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National Day of the Cowboy Organization

The National Day of the Cowboy organization was founded in June 2005, receiving non-profit status from the IRS on December 7, 2005. We have worked continuously to increase national support for the Day of the Cowboy, which first passed in the U.S. Senate in July, 2005, and, to publicize news and information about the resolution and campaign, so that active participation in celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy continues to grow each year, and so future generations remain aware of the Cowboys' contribution to America's rich Western heritage. Our goal is to see the resolution finally passed in perpetuity.

Our achievements include seeking and receiving Cowboy Day proclamations from many governors, cities and counties, in an effort to build national stature for the day. The first governor to grant us a National Day of the Cowboy proclamation was Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona, in 2006. We also approached Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and asked her to sponsor the National Day of the Cowboy in the U.S. House, which she was happy to do. There are several Historic Western Landmarks in her congressional district, including Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas, Arizona. In 2008, we also achieved passage in the Arizona State Legislature thanks to Senators Jake Flake and Jack Brown. Congresswoman Giffords was also instrumental in getting the National Day of the Cowboy flag aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle where it went on a five million mile wild west ride all the way to the International Space Station. Giffords sponsored the National Day of the Cowboy Resolution in the U.S. House again in 2009 (H. Res 322), naming Saturday, July 25, 2009 as the National Day of the Cowboy.

Another of our key projects begun in 2005, was the creation of a National Day of the Cowboy flag, intended to be an international symbol to bring awareness to all that the Cowboys and Cowgirls contribute to our pioneer heritage preservation and our culture. The flag now flies in twenty-six states and five countries. In 2008, the National Day of the Cowboy flag traveled 5,700,000 miles to the International Space Station and back, aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle, with NASA Commander, Mark Kelly. This historic event, taking the old frontier into the new frontier, was noted in the Washington Post, a newspaper not typically associated with stories about Cowboy heritage. In addition, the Cowboy flag flew over the barracks of our troops, the Desert Cowboys, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our dream is to see the flag fly in all fifty states and in as many international communities as possible.

Our overall goal is to demonstrate to congress that there is indeed a high enough level of national interest in preserving our cowboy culture and pioneer heritage that the judiciary committee will eventually let us ask to make the Cowboy Day permanent. To add to the depth of national participation, we began a campaign asking states legislators to pass the National Day of the Cowboy or Cowboy Day in their state legislatures. Arizona was the first state we approached in 2008 and the first state to grant our request. The Arizona Senate and House appproved it jointly and concurrently in June, 2008 in honor of Arizona's late cowboy senator, Jake Flake. In 2009, dedicated and enthusiastic NDOC volunteers lined up several legislative sponsors and achieved passage in New York, Texas, Kansa, Oklahoma and Arizona. We are extremely proud of all of our hardworking volunteers and grateful for their persistent dedication to the job at hand and the cowboy fortitude they demonstrate!

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Code of the West

The lack of written law on the range made it necessary for the cowman to frame his own guidelines for personal conduct in society, thus developing a rule of behavior which became generally known as the "Code of the West." These homespun "laws," simply an unspoken agreement to certain rules of conduct, were not written into statutes, but were respected on the range nevertheless. Because there was no formal law, pioneers who lived in and settled the west were bound by these unwritten rules which centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, honesty, integrity, a solid work ethic, and a deep and abiding respect for the land.

"Though the cowman might break every law of the territory, state and federal government, he took pride in upholding his own unwritten code. His failure to abide by it did not bring formal punishment, but the man who broke it became, more or less, a social outcast."

The basic tenets of this code are surfacing more and more in our interactions and conversations with others lately. We think that's a good thing for the planet, so we decided to post one version of the Code here for your consideration and perhaps adoption into your own life, if it's not something to which you already adhere. One of the more recent versions of the code, as listed below, is from James P. Owen's book, Cowboy Ethics: - What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West.

The Cowboy Code
1. Live each day with courage.
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
5. Be tough, but fair.
6. When you make a promise, keep it.
7. Ride for the brand.
8. Talk less and say more.
9. Remember that some things aren't for sale.
10.Know where to draw the line.

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NDOC Public Speaking

Bethany Braley, Executive Director & Publisher for the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit organization, is available for interviews or to speak to your group or organization regarding the history of this campaign and the challenges we face in achieving permanent passage of the Day of the Cowboy resolution. She has been working continuously on the effort since November 2004, and offers key information on how you and your community or organization may become actively involved in contributing to the success of this historic grassroots quest.

Email or call 928-795-0951 to discuss public speaking opportunities you may have.

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National Day of the Cowboy Resolution 2009
H.L.C.: P.L.

(Original Signature of Member)
111th Congress

Expressing support for the designation of July 25, 2009 as

‘‘National Day of the Cowboy’’.


Ms. GIFFORDS submitted the following resolution which will be referred to the Committee on

Whereas pioneering men and women known as cowboys helped establish the American West;
Whereas the cowboy embodies honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, respect, a strong work ethic, courage and patriotism;
Whereas the cowboy spirit exemplifies strength of character, sound family values and good common sense;
Whereas the cowboy archetype transends ethnicity, gender, geographic boundaries, and poitical affiliation;
Whereas the cowboy is an excellent steward of the land and
its creatures;
Whereas the cowboy lives off the land and works to protect
and enhance the environment;
Whereas cowboy traditions have been part of the American
culture for generations;
Whereas the cowboy continues to be an important part of the
economy, through the work of approximately 727,000
ranchers in all 50 States, and contributes to the wellbeing
of nearly every county in the Nation;
Whereas annual attendance at professional and working
ranch rodeo events exceeds 27,000,000 fans, and the
rodeo is the 7th most watched sport in the Nation;
Whereas membership and participation in rodeo and other organizations
that promote and encompass the livelihood of
the cowboy spans race, gender, and generations;
Whereas the cowboy is a central figure in literature, film, and
music, and occupies a central place in the public imagination;
Whereas the cowboy is an American icon; and
Whereas the ongoing contributions made by cowboys and
cowgirls to their communities should be recognized and
encouraged: Now, therefore, be it

1. Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) expresses support for the designation of a
‘‘National Day of the Cowboy’’; and
(2) encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

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Official NDOC Spokespersons

Lee Anderson - Arizona
Tom Bass - Florida
Kelsee Brady Bradshaw - Arizona
Hotshot Johnny Tuscadero - Arizona
"Dr." Buck Montgomery - Arizona
Julie Ann Ream - California

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Abbie Caplin's Frontiers
Ah-Ha Music Group
Arizona Sun Mercantile
Luckenbach, Texas
Larry Shell
Brian Lebel - Old West Auction
Mountain Pass Builders
Michael Martin Murphey
T-Bird Arnold
Larry & Jan Brady
Tom Ezell
Baker Hughes
James N. Scherer
Jeremy Joe Larsen
Allen Wilkinson, Bootking
Artector, Inc., Anthony Arnautov
Santa Fe Unlimited
Taos Unlimited
Brent & Janet Slutsky
Cowboy "Lucky" Lukianenko
Arizona Horse Council
Chronicle of the Old West

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Website harmonica music, "Muddy Waters," by Frank Bard

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Official National Day of the Cowboy Brand - T-Bone Brands
Official Hat Maker - Bronco Sue, New Mexico
Official Good Luck Cowboy- Vladimir "Lucky" Lukianenko
Official Buckle Maker - Gist Silversmiths
Official National Day of the Cowboy Posters - Hatch Show Print
Official National Day of the Cowboy Tie - Rockmount Ranch Wear

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