My Cowboy Code


On this National Day of the American Cowboy, I felt inclined to post my version of the “code.”

  • Live by the Golden Rule.
  • Practice tolerance and understanding of others.
  • Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table.
  • Do not inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
  • Never pass anyone without saying “Howdy”.
  • Never steal or trespass. Thieves and trespassers pay with their life.
  • Defend yourself whenever necessary.
  • Family ALWAYS comes first.
  • Look out for your own.
  • Remove your hat for women, sitting at the table, entering a church and the barber.
  • Riding another man’s horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife.  Do not even bother another man’s horse.
  • When you make a promise, keep it.
  • Always drink with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.
  • Do not practice ingratitude.
  • A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters.
  • Always be courageous. Cowards aren’t tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.
  • Always help someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
  • Give your enemy a fighting chance.
  • Real cowboys are modest.  A braggart is not tolerated.
  • Be there for a friend when they need you.
  • Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and blacklisting.
  • Honesty is ABSOLUTE – your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.
  • ALWAYS take responsibility for your actions.
  • Live each day with honesty and courage.
  • Take pride in your work. Always do your best. Never take short cuts.
  • Stay curious. Study hard, learn all you can and never stop reading, especially the Good Book.
  • Do what has to be done and finish what you start.
  • Be tough, but fair.
  • Be willing to stand up for what’s right.
  • Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
  • No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse’s needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.
  • Be an excellent steward of the land, the wildlife and your animals.
  1. Robin Rastani
    July 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Love this Jeff! You are indeed a gentleman & a wonderful person!

  2. Serenity
    July 28, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    These are also good rules to live by coupled with how Christ has taught us to live too. Thanks!

  3. July 31, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    This applies to all humans, not just cowboys. Well stated, Jeff, wish everyone else had your great attitude about life.

  4. April 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I love these. Cowboys have always been knows as hard workers. Cattle sales and ranch work isn’t easy. I love this list. I especially like be willing to stand up for whats right.

  5. September 25, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Love this! As farmers and ranchers, we conduct ourselves in a little different manner….one often times more respectful than your average Joe! We know where food and products come from, therefore we respect them, know what hard work is, and wouldn’t have it any other way!

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