All the parade and fairground fellows can wear straw hats and fine boots and silver trophy buckles, talking big and taking the rides in front of all the people, but those shows do not make them cowboys. Deceiving the people who want to be deceived by a big hat and a pair of boots does not make them cowboys.
Having a young dedication of mind and body that fan, professions have in caring for the bovine so it is able to provide tasty protein for man, is being a cowboy. Doing it at a pace measured by the shod steps of the equine animal and disdaining any other conveyance is cowboy. Using natural tools of flesh and blood, leather and hemp and hair, in any country hot or cold, open or brushy, wild or tame, with verve; by himself with no audience, no ticket sale, and no background music, not even a just wage, is cowboy.
A cowboy would be a fool to do it for the money. He would be a fool to do it for the right to wear the big hat and pair of boots. He does it to care gently for the lives of the tough, smart bovines in country where the bovine, the mule deer and the wild horse use the same trails and he does it so people can eat beef steak which, he believes, is why the bovine is on the mother earth.