Stamford may have been named for a city in Connecticut, but this place is all cowboy all the time. It’s been that way since the late 1800s when Swante Magnus Swenson, the first Swedish immigrant to Texas, began ranching here and helped the Texas Central Railroad found the town. To keep order in those early decades Stamford’s police chief—a slight, handicapped, cigar-chewing fellow—started each day with target practice at a stump outside city hall. To boost morale during the Great Depression and to celebrate cowboy culture, town leaders started the Texas Cowboy Reunion in 1930. The annual gathering still showcases the world’s largest amateur rodeo with working cowhands, not rodeo professionals, competing in roping and barrel racing events. Visitors enjoy chuckwagon cooking and horseshoe pitching, as well as Western music, art and poetry. The Old Timers Association even opens up a 1935 stone bunkhouse for ranch-hand reminiscing and storytelling. Cowboy traditions take center stage at Stamford’s Cowboy Country Museum which displays historic photos and ranch family heirlooms such as a chuckwagon, antique furnishings and period clothing.