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Arizona cowboys to get their own holiday?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona's official historian said Arizona would be a much different place today without its cowboy history and now a day may be set aside to honor cowboys, both past and present.

The Arizona House has approved a National Day of the Cowboy, and if the Senate backs them up and Gov. Jan Brewer signs the measure, the fourth Saturday of each July would honor cowboys, albeit not with a paid legal holiday.

Marshall Trimble said if you could be a cowboy in Arizona you could be a cowboy anywhere after dealing with our rough terrain, heat, snakes and scorpions, among other challenges.

"Cowboys are the American icon," he said. "When people from Asia and Europe think of America, their first thought is 'Cowboys.'"

Trimble isn't talking about Hollywood movie cowboys. He's talking about working cowboys who still make their living from the back of a horse.

"The cowboy is a huge myth with a whole lot of reality thrown in."

One state lawmaker who opposed the creation of the day honoring cowboys is a member of the Navajo Nation. Democratic Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai questioned the honoring of cowboys when Arizona has no day dedicated to honor Native Americans.

Trimble said she should introduce a bill and he'll support it.

"I'm sure that would have wide appeal and some of the very best rodeo cowboys today are Native American," he said. "The Apache and Navajo; Rodeo is a big deal for them and that's the American cowboy."

Peshlakai may introduce legislation next January to create a Native American Day in Arizona on Oct. 12.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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