Texas leads the nation in cowboy culture, dominating the western genre with its lineage of cowpokes, vaqueros, wranglers, bronc busters, cowgirls, bull riders, charros, rustlers, and drovers. In fact, today's lamentations about the end of the cowboy era are somewhat premature, particularly here in Texas where the working cowhand is alive and well and still getting kicked around by his charge, on occasion.
Many historic ranches, in operation for more than a hundred years, are still grazing and raising cattle before relying on the traditional roundup, with its choir of "whoops" and "gittiups" and "ti youpy yeas," to bring the livestock in from the pastures. Although 18-wheelers and train cars are the transports of choice today for getting cattle to market, the historic cattle driving trails once used by our cowpunching ancestors still track the Texas countryside, making it possible for cowboy culture enthusiasts to trace the remnants of the Goodnight-Loving, the Goliad, and the Great Western among others. Rodeos thrive in rural ranching communities across the state and chuck wagon campfires, complete with a guitar sing-along, still flourish under the stars. You don't even have to carry a tune to join the chorus; everybody sounds good in a cowboy hat.