Excerpt from Pampered Cowboy:
Just about everybody, at one time or another, wanted to grow up to be a cowboy or cowgirl. Shoot, since the days of the half-dime novels, cowboys have been romanticized and glorified. That love affair continued with Owen Wister's The Virginian and on through the fiction of Zane Grey, Luke Short, Ernest Haycox, Max Brand, Louis L'Amour - with movies starring William S. Hart, Harry Carey, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea - with television shows such as Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian, High Chaparral. The list goes on.
Think Texas, and the images that come to mind often include longhorns and cowboys. Texas has never forgotten its heritage. Just consider the names of the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball franchises in Dallas-Fort Worth: Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers.
The truth of the matter, though, is the life of a cowboy in the late 19th century was far from romantic and glorious. Cowboys made about a dollar a day, worked from sun-up to sunset in the broiling sun and biting cold, and seldom, if ever, fought it out with Indians and outlaws, rescued women on runaway stagecoaches or faced down a gent with a black hat and blacker attitude on some dusty main street. They were far too busy branding calves, shoeing horses or mending fences. Heck, they couldn't afford all that gunpowder and lead to shoot it out with the baddies.
But the myth persists. And why not? It makes a great story.
Another common mistake is that we speak of cowboys in the past tense. They're out there today, working just as hard, putting hamburgers on our buns and T-bones beside our Texas toast. They aren't confined to dude ranches and corny shoot-em-ups in tourist towns; they're earning their keep on working cattle ranches.
Western movies aren't as prolific as they used to be, you'll be hard-pressed to find a Western series on TV and the shelf space for Western novels seems to be shrinking at many book stores. But the image, myth and popularity of the cowboy haven't died, especially in Texas, the state that gave birth to the trail drives to Kansas. Cowboys and the Western lifestyle bring more tourist dollars than a ten-gallon Stetson can hold for one simple reason:
We still want to be a cowboy or cowgirl when we grow up.
But we really don't want to rough it for too long.
And in Texas, you don't have to rough it. You can ride a horse up a mountainside, and enjoy a good meal and comfortable bed at night. Personally, I like to rough it. I've helped drive cattle until my eyeglasses were hopelessly scratched and my face wind-burned and blackened by dirt. I've been pitched off a horse a time or two. I've baked in the saddle and shivered in a bedroll. I've strained cowboy coffee with my teeth. These indelible memories come in handy when I'm writing a Western novel or short story.
But I also enjoy a gourmet meal and a soft bed. I like to gaze at stars and soak up history. A handmade pair of Paul Bond boots, custom Rand's hat, pair of 501 Levi's and a Stubbs shirt suit me just fine (and set me back financially). I'll admit it: I like to be pampered.
That's what brought me to write this book.
As the title suggests, this is a travel guide to the best Western-theme bed and breakfasts, hotels, ranches and resorts in Texas. Western-theme, let me explain, can be loosely defined. It's rather obvious that a dude ranch has a Western theme, but hotels, B&Bs and resorts can be difficult to quantify. Simply put, for the purpose of this book, the Western theme refers to place's history, location or decor.
West Texas has long been associated with cowboy culture, South Texas, especially the Hill Country, is known for its myriad dude ranches, and parts of North Texas saw the long herds of cattle moving to the railroads in Kansas. There are plenty of ranches and cowboys in East Texas and other regions, too, but for tourists and cowboy wannabes, I think West Texas, North Texas and South Texas/Hill Country offer the most diversity.
Also included are sections on cowboy shopping, "I See By Your Outfit," and cowboy eating, "Ridin' the Chuck Line," because cowboys and cowboy wannabes like to dress the part and enjoy a good meal. You'll also find profiles, "Top Hands," on some of the best in the business who go out of their way to help you. That's the cowboy way.
Enough of this. We'e burnin' daylight. It's time to saddle up.
See you on the trail.
Copyright 2000 by Johnny D. Boggs