Kansas: A Cowboy State

By Kansas Tourism on December 10, 2021


By Ron Wilson, Kansas Poet Lariat

Kansas is a Cowboy State it's in our legacy 
Kansas blazed a trail throughout Western history
It all started with the Native American Indian as you know
Who roamed the open prairie and hunted buffalo 
The new explorers chartered the wilderness braving harsh conditions 
Coronado, Lewis and Clark and John C Fremont's expeditions
U.S. Cavalry soldiers came out west to build forts
Fort Scott, Hays, Leavenworth, Larned and Riley of course 
Kansas was a key crossroads of the trails of the day
to Oregon, California and down to Santa Fe
When Texas Longhorns needed to be shipped East by rail 
the Cowboys drove those herds up the big Chisholm Trail 
It was the toughest cattle drive those Cowboys had ever seen 
up to Dodge City, Caldwell, Wichita, Ellsworth and Abilene
the town's folk knew they'd better have things all battened down 
Because some Cowboys sure went wild when they finally got to town 
They’d gamble and shoot and drink up their fill 
and a few left their graves up on top of Boot Hill 
But like everything else, those times went through change 
Homesteaders built fence where there was open range 
Brave pioneers came West to make a homestead as their perch
and built the institutions of the home the school the church 
Now the spirit of the cowboy in our state is living still
from the feed yards out west to the rolling Flint Hills 
in the heart of a Kansan the cowboy spirit lives on 
And the values our people will still draw upon 
They work hard and play hard, are honest and free 
Values that matter to you and to me 
It's part of the history that makes Kansas great 
So we're thankful Kansas is a Cowboy state.

Learn more