State Capitol News
7:22 am
Wed March 27, 2013

State Cowboy Day?

A vote this week to create a state day to honor the cowboy is creating a bit of a stir. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The measure seeks to declare the fourth Tuesday of every July the National Day of the Cowboy in Arizona. Proponents said they want to honor the role that cowboys have played and continue to play in the state. Representative Jamescita Peshlakai said she has no problem with acknowledging the work that cowboys do or even the lifestyle. But Peshlakai, a member of the Navajo Nation told Arizona Public Radio after the vote that she could not support the measure because there's more to the historic concept of cowboys than riding the range and herding cattle. "The necessity of the cowboy was to clear out the west," Peshlakai said, "and create that westward expansion for the people that colonized this nation, the United States."

And Representative Jonathan Larkin said such a resolution ignores the diversity of the state. But Representative Kelly Townsend said during the debate she doesn't see it that way. "Cowboy doesn't denote a certain ethnic race," she said. "That there are cowboys in every race and so with that in mind, let us celebrate that spirit of getting out there and taking care of our livestock, our farms, no matter where you come from."

The measure still needs Senate approval.