Vaqueros, Cowboys and Buckaroos
The outfit or appearance
regarding style and material of hats, scarf's, shirts, chaps, boots and spurs
are key factors that establish an individual as a vaquero, a cowboy, or a buckaroo.
Also important, his saddle - slick or swelled fork; rim-fire or seven-eighths
or three-quarter rigged, and rolled or straight cantle. If his rope is thirty
feet long - he is a cowboy; if it is sixty feet long - he is a buckaroo. Different
influences and geographic living contributed to evolvement of these styles.
In 1927 Charles M. Russell, the noted painter and interpreter of the West, commented early on the introduction of branding in America, which originated with the Spaniards, and confirming the early influence of the Spanish. His paintings He further states, "depict with the keen eye of the artist - their (Buckaroos) penchant for fancy gear: "These cow people were generally strong on pretty, usin' plenty of hoss jewelry, silver-mounted spurs, bits, an' conchas." Their tack also caught his observant eye: "Instead of a quirt" they "used a romal, or quirt braided to the end of the reins. Their saddles were full stamped with from twenty-four to twenty-eight-inch eagle-bill tapaderos. Their chaparejos were made of fur or hair, either bear, angora goat, or hair sealskin." He identifies the bits used by these men as the "Spanish spade." He had them pegged: "These fellows were sure fancy, an' called themselves buccaroos, coming from the Spanish word vaquero."
contrast, Russell notes, the cowboy "originated in Texas and ranged north."
Unlike the buckaroo, "he wasn't much for pretty; his saddle was low horn,
rimfire, or double-cinch." He identifies another of their salient characteristics
and the reason for it: "Their rope was seldom over forty feet, for being
a good deal in a brush country, they were forced to swing a small loop. These
men generally tied [hard and fast], instead of taking their dallie-welts, or wrapping
their rope around the saddle horn. Their chaparejos were made of heavy bullhide,
to protect the leg from the brush and thorns." He goes on to note that they
protected their feet "with hog-snout tapaderos," those with no flaps.
These characteristics are still typical of cowboys, although the tapaderos are
found only in brush country.
Lawrence Clayton, deals with the evolution and current life and work of the cowboy. Jim Hoy's final section on the buckaroo traces the development, life, and work patterns of the range hands of the Northwest United States.
Contact: Robert Sigman
© 2008 Last Buckaroo