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2013-03-07

CNN sez, 'Bandera - best place to go cowboy'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

It appears American Cowboy magazine might have deserted Bandera - at least for the 2013 April-May issue. The mag opined that Fort Worth "takes the prize as the state's 'most-cowboy' town, based on size, frequency of horse events and influence of cowboy culture." Well ...
Not to worry, however, CNN has taken up the slack. The media giant has designated everyone's favorite town in the Hill County as one of the "6 Best Places to be a Cowboy (for a While)!" So there ...
The travel feature, written by Jennings Brown, appeared on the CNN homepage Sunday, March 3.
The Cowboy Capital was spotlighted, along with ranches, "horse whispering" courses, cattle drives and bull riding schools in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and even Connecticut - Connecticut!? Hey, to paraphrase, "We just report, you decide."
The thrust of Brown's piece was that although the "the spur-booted buckaroo in the ten-gallon hat may represent a time gone by," there are still places in American that not only preserve the frontier spirit, but actively practice it. All it takes, according to Brown, is an adventuresome spirit and "good health insurance." But everyone in Bandera already knows that, don't they?
The Cowboy Capital of the World topped the list in the article, which referenced the county's many ranches - both guest and real - that welcome "dudes" as warmly as they do legitimate ranch hands.
Brown was much taken with scenes commonplace to residents and frequent visitors, such as horses tied to hitching posts outside watering holes and covered wagons hauling tourists throughout the municipality during weekends.
Also high on Brown's list of things not to be missed during a sojourn in South Central Texas is bunking at the Dixie Dude Ranch and whiling away an evening at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar.
Founded in 1937, the Dixie Dude is the "most historic" of the guest ranches available. According to Brown, the cowboy authentic activities include an overnight trail ride with chuck wagon meals and storytelling by the campfire; however, "cowboy" ends "where the massage therapy and pool begin."
As for the iconic Silver Dollar, Brown described it - and rightly so - as possibly "the best experience in Bandera ... one of Texas' greatest dance halls."
Brown concluded his hommage to Bandera by touting the upcoming National Day of the American Cowboy celebration, sponsored by the Frontier Times Museum and set for July 27. As he wrote, "You'll be in for a treat. As you might expect, the town puts on a hell of a hootenanny." Amen to that, brother.
And, our 10-gallon hats go off to you, CNN and Jennings Brown. Here's a big Bandera "Yee-Haw" for you!!!
For more information on the Cowboy Capital of the World, visit www.banderacowboycapital.com.

Pictured: Photo by Judith Pannebaker
During the 2012 Bandera County Day of the American Cowboy celebration, legendary Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson, left, "cuffed" former bull rider, rancher and famed horse trainer, Craig Cameron. Both men were inducted into the Frontier Times Museum's Texas Heroes Hall of Honor. Even for Bandera, it doesn't get more "cowboy" than that!