Kindergartners enjoyed some special visitors this week when Graland parent Susan Beatty brought real-life cowboys to campus. Her parents, Jim and Dora Cash, shared fascinating details about the cowboy “uniform,” tools and lifestyle with students as part of the annual rodeo unit.
Starting from his toes, “Cowboy Cash” talked about his unique attire and why each piece of clothing and accessory is essential to a cowboy in action. The boots are tall, sturdy and have a pointed toe perfect for slipping into a stirrup. The chaps are made from heavy leather and protect the legs from prickly brush. The fob on his belt loop keeps his pocket watch — a family heirloom made in the 1890s — accessible. The vest is for warmth. The bandana, when wet, is worn over the mouth and nose to keep the dust out. The hat is for warmth, and shades his eyes from the sun.
Students also learned about the equipment a cowboy uses in his day to day work herding cattle. A 22-mile trip to move cattle can take up to two days, said Cowboy Cash.
Following the presentation, kindergartners got to climb onto a real saddle and feel how a horse moves. They also got a hands-on experience with the ropes, feed bag, bridles, bells, clothing and horseshoes.
Cowboy Cash is a third generation Coloradan. His grandparents joined the western expansion and settled on land in southeast Colorado through the Homestead Act of 1862. Mr. Cash spent much of his younger years working on the family ranch.
“My least favorite tool was the axe,” he shared. “We were constantly chopping wood for cooking, branding and making fires to stay warm. In the winter, we used the axe to break through ice so the cattle could drink water. Sometimes the ice was 3-4 inches thick.”
Thank you to Mrs. Beatty and Cowboy and Mrs. Cash for taking the time to teach students about cowboy living!