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Bandera's National Day of American Cowboy - yee-haw!

By Mary Allyce Special to the Courier

Nothing says Bandera more than the National Day of the American Cowboy.

Again spanning a full weekend, Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28, this year the celebration promises to be "bigger and better than ever."

Event organizer the Frontier Times Museum - itself a celebration of the western lifestyle - has put together a two-day event overflowing with activities revolving around all things cowboy.

Bandera's participation in this relatively new American tradition - one of only a few in Texas - has become one of the most successful in the country. Initiated in 2004 by American Cowboy magazine, the National Day of The American Cowboy (NDAC) has grown into a coast-to-coast tribute to one of the most unique and recognizable icons of the United States worldwide - the cowboy.

A symbol of the United States for generations, the American cowboy continues to be one of the biggest tourist draws to Bandera - the Cowboy Capital of the World.

Framing the weekend's western activities is rodeo action on Friday and Saturday evenings at Mansfield Park on Highway 16 North. The South Texas Ranch Rodeo showcases real ranch skills. Gates open at 6 pm with the rodeo beginning at 8 pm. Also on tap is the Dude Ranch Rodeo featuring favorite local competitors, and the always popular Mutton Bustin' and Calf Scramble events for adventuresome young buckaroos.

Starting at 9 am, Saturday, July 28, the Bandera County Courthouse complex on Main Street is the place to be.

This year, the museum is expanding lawn activities. "We'll be using the entire lawn," said steering committee chairman Harry Harris. "We'll have activities and a flow of people completely around the courthouse."

Additional vendors are expected at the Western Arts & Crafts Show, along with Old West reenactments and fun and games for all ages. The popular big tent will be back offering visitors "a seat in the shade" for the music that made Bandera famous, in addition to cowboy poetry and storytelling throughout the morning.

At high noon, under the big tent, the Frontier Times Museum will present its 2012 inductees into the "Texas Heroes Hall of Honor." The centerpiece of the weekend, these honorees represent the best of Texas through their accomplishments and lifestyle. This year's inductees include Bandera's iconic musician and owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon, Arkey Blue; highly respected western horseman, Craig Cameron; local rodeo legend, Buddy Groff; and the quintessential Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson. Cameron and Jackson will also be at the Frontier Times Museum, 510 13th Street, at 2 pm on Friday, July 27, for a book signing.

Those yearning to "go cowboy" this weekend are advised to join the Frontier Times Museum on July 27 and 28, and pay homage to the cowboy heroes of the western heritage of Bandera and Texas. For more information, visit


Pictured: Courtesy photo
As always, Bandera's Day of the American Cowboy celebrates cowboys of all ages. The celebration starts at 8 pm, Friday, July 27, at Mansfield Park and continues through the evening of Saturday, July 28. For everything western, the Cowboy Capital of the World is the place to be this weekend.