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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