Of all the things Texas is famous for, cowboys top the list. That’s why we’re celebrating July 28’s National Day of the Cowboy with a quick look at three Lone Star State wranglers of note. Giddy up!
William “Bill” Pickett. Born in the 1870s in Travis County, William Pickett began working as a ranch hand when he was still a child. By the time he was 18, Pickett and his brothers started their own business, the Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association. The legendary cowboy gained fame with his skills at roping and riding and for a technique he invented known as bulldogging. The method required Pickett to wrestle a steer to the ground by its horns while also sinking his cowboy chompers into the beast’s tender nostrils and lips.
In 1905, he signed on with the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, which featured the likes of Will Rogers, Geronimo and Buffalo Bill Cody. Picket, sometimes billed as the “Dusty Demon,” worked at the ranch for about 30 years. He died in 1932 after being kicked by a horse at the 101 Ranch.
Oliver Loving. Born in 1812 in Kentucky, Oliver Loving spent the early part of his life as a farmer in that state and in Texas. In 1855, he moved his family to Pinto County, where they ran a store and got into the cattle business. Within a few years, Loving was so successful at driving cattle north—often through hostile territory—folks started calling him “The Dean of the Trail Drivers.”
A few years later, Loving teamed up with former Texas Ranger Charles Goodnight. In 1866, the two blazed a trail from Texas to Colorado, driving nearly 2,000 head of cattle and establishing what would be known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. A year later, Loving died after being attacked by Comanche Indians.
John Baker. Born in 1846 in Virginia, John Baker became an expert hunter, horseman and marksman at an early age. Seeking adventure, he made his way to Texas to work as a cowboy while still in his early teens. Baker, who was given the nickname “Texas Jack,” also worked as a scout and guide and later teamed up with the famous Buffalo Bill Cody.
In 1872, he appeared in Buffalo Bill’s show, “The Scouts of the Prairie.” Throughout the remainder of his relatively short life, he split his time between performing in Wild West shows, leading hunting tours on the Great Plains and writing articles about his experiences. Baker died of pneumonia at the age of 33.
From all of us here at Veteran Energy, happy National Day of the Cowboy, Texas.