Cowboy Life in Chickasaw Country

The dictionary defines a cowboy as a man, typically one on horseback, who herds and tends cattle, especially in the western US.

We get it. That’s how most people define cowboys. We picture John Wayne catching the bad guys or Lane Frost waving to the crowd after riding a bull for eight seconds. But, not all cowboys wear boots, ride horses and run cattle. They don’t have to be rodeo stars or own farms and ranches with hundreds of cattle and horses. 

We like to view cowboys a little differently. We like to define “cowboy” as someone who makes a difference every single day. A cowboy is your schoolteacher, who spends hours on end teaching children basic skills. It is your firefighter, who puts his life on the line every day to help his or her neighbor. It is your Sunday School teacher, who wakes up early on a Sunday to make everyone feel welcome. A cowboy strives to make the world a little bit better every day. 

Cowboys don’t just put in the hours. Cowboys take pride in what they do, and always finish what they start. They are the first to rise and the last to lay down at night. They are honest, courageous and optimistic. And they live by 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 your brand. 
  8. Talk less and say more. 
  9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale. 
  10. Know where to draw the line. 

Here in Chickasaw Country, we’re proud to be called home to all kinds of cowboys and cowgirls. The cowboy way of life is rooted deep in the traditions, values, and people of the region. While we know a cowboy is exemplified by many things, within Chickasaw Country there’s also a rich, authentic culture built around bull riding and rodeos. Here are just a few legends whose legacy lives on in Chickasaw Country. 

Clyde Burk 

A legendary roper, Clyde was born and raised in Comanche. When he was 19 years old, both of his parents died during the Depression, and he was left in charge of his two brothers and two sisters. Clyde practiced his tie-down roping skills and went on to win four world championships in 1936, 1938, 1942 and 1944. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979. 

Junior James Garrison

Junior was a cowboy legend around Marlow. He qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 10 times and won in 1966! In 1967, he tied a calf in 7.5 seconds and that held the record for seven years. After his rodeo career, he trained and sold horses near Rush Springs.

Everett Shaw

Everett always called Stonewallhome. He was born in 1908 and spent his early days perfecting his cowboy skills. For more than 15 years, Everett was THE man to beat in steer roping competitions. He went on to win five world championships between 1945 – 1962. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979. 

JW Hart

Rodeo has been in JW’s veins since he was born in 1975 in Marietta. Before he was born, his dad rode bulls and his mom barrel raced. JW went on to have his own successful bull riding career for 15 years. He was the 1994 Professional Bull Riders Rookie of the Year, and went on to win the 2002 PBR World Championship! Now, JW likes to spend time on his cattle ranch in near his hometown. 

We would like to tip our hats to all of the cowboys and cowgirls in Chickasaw Country keeping the cowboy traditions alive. Thank you for putting in the work, for having strong convictions and loving your neighbors. We truly appreciate you. Thank you for making our land great. 

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