Cowboy (cowboy) (English cowboy, from cow – “cow” and boy – “guy”) – the name used in the Wild West of the United States in relation to the herdsmen of cattle. The era of the cowboys began in 1865, when it was necessary to drive into the hijacking of the gigantic wild herds of bulls, mainly in the territory of Texas. This era ended about twenty years later. About a third of the cowboys were non-blacks who had been freed after the civil war, but had neither work nor property. Another third of the cowboys were Mexicans and a third – the descendants of immigrants from Europe.
Cowboys worked on the ranchers of livestock producers and were engaged in detour of the ranch territory, repairing fences, searching for cows strayed from the herd, marking young and many others. At first, pastures in the West were not fenced, and very often the livestock of different owners mixed and grazed together. Therefore, every year it was necessary to produce pens and cattle. Participation in such a corral demanded from the cowboy considerable skill and it was from the annual corrals that the rodeo cowboys’ favorite entertainment grew.
Cowboys drove cattle from cattle-breeding areas to the nearest train station. The cattle were driven across the desert prairies, in which one could always stumble upon Indians or white bandits. During the haul cowboys surrounded the herd ring and made sure that no cow fought off the total mass. The most experienced cowboy usually rode ahead of the herd, guiding the herd leader. The rest of the cowboys rode behind and on the sides, constantly changing places. It was the hardest of all to do the closing, because from a huge number of moving cows there was such a strong heat that the cowboy who followed the herd risked burning his face. During the drive each cowboy changed the horse several times a day. Most of the cowboys of their horses never had, they took horses for rent or used their owners. During the night, during patrols, patrolled around the perimeter, calling to each other through the verses, one began, the other on the opposite side finished. This is how cowboy songs, cowboy poetry, ballads, as well as all sorts of legends and fables were born, many of whom were the hero of the legendary cowboy Pecos Bill.
The cowboy’s earnings were low, and in winter many cowboys were forced to work at the ranch just for food and shelter. Cowboys received relatively big money only for moving cattle. A cowboy spent a significant portion of his money on drinks, and the most popular drink among cowboys was beer, and not whiskey, as it usually appears in westerns.
The most interesting thing began when they returned with their money. Authorities from townships on their route hired thugs to protect the population from the unbridled cowboys. In addition to the noisy “festivities”, cowboys in their free time arranged competitions – who better to keep on a wild horse, on a bullhead from the herd, who better throws a lasso and whose horse is better educated. Over time, these competitions “overgrown” rules, shared in the disciplines and closer to the middle of the XX century, formed a western sport.
After the 1930s, a nostalgic, glorifying look at cowboys became fashionable in America. It is reflected in the musical style of country music, comics, advertising, clothing, cinema (see Western). The indispensable attributes of a cowboy are jeans, a cowboy hat, boots, a vest, a plaid shirt with double yoke buttons (western yokes), a lasso, a revolver.
Modern Texas cowboys (USA).
Other American English cowboy names include cowpoke, cowhand, cowherd and cowpuncher. The cowgirls, named after men wearing hats, put covers on their feet from the thorny bushes (chaps, charapatas), had short lassoes and drove cattle into railway cars. Acted on the territory of New Mexico and Texas
And nowadays, real cowboys who breed cattle and horses can be found in the USA on a ranch. Some of the cowboy workers take part in rodeo competitions. Working cowboy horses and working cowboys take part in competitions for the best working horse – Versatility Ranch Horse].
Historically, cowboys have been and remain part of American spiritual culture. The first cowboy church was organized in Vaksahachi, Texas. Now the cowboy Christian movement is united in the American Association of Cowboy Churches. In Russian there is almost no research on Christian cowboys. This topic was opened in 2008 by article  of the American Bureau of the Christian Journal.
In South America, under the conditions of a pampa (an analogue of the prairie), in the 19th century there existed a cowboy-like social stratum: gaucho. Gauchos appeared much earlier (XVI — XVII centuries), by origin they were mostly mestizos, but in the 20th century Gauchos and cowboy became similar popular stereotypes. This was especially noticeable in the first half of the 20th century, when Argentina was a first-magnitude country and Argentine cinema competed with Hollywood.