New Mexico October 12, 2017
12 Ways To Have A Completely Cowboy Themed-Day In New Mexico
Cowboys (and cowgirls, of course) are an integral part of New Mexico’s past and present. However, not all of us are cut out to ride the range, punch cows, and otherwise manage this never-ending and thankless job. However, if you want a taste of the cowboy life, we’ve rounded up a few experiences around the state that will make you feel like a cowboy, at least for a little while.
1. Look the part
Gear up at the Double Take Experience in Santa Fe. Unassuming from the outside, this combo retail and consignment store stocks some of the coolest stuff around, from vintage furnishings and clothes to jewelry, pottery, prints and turquoise. Among their western wear, find embroidered old Western shirts and hundreds of pairs of boots. Find Double Take at 321 South Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe's Railyard District.
2. Saddle Up
Riders of all skill-levels will enjoy riding among the scenic hills in the historic mining town of Cerillos. Rides are seasonal, with morning, afternoon, sunset and moonlight rides. All rides, both private and group, are by reservation. For information or to set up a ride, call Broken Saddle Riding Company at 505-424-7774.
3. Get some learnin'
A lot of us like to romanticize ranch life. Before you turn in your sneakers for cowboy boots, be sure to visit the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum for a little history, including a look at the cowboys of the Old West and today. The 47-acre facility is filled with gardens, exhibits and even corrals of livestock.
The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces.
4. Get some grub
Cowgirl BBQ, in Santa Fe, has been wowing diners since 1993. As well as lick-smacking barbeque and straight-forward American cuisine, this festive joint has a solid calendar of live music and Cowgirl Karaoke. Ride into Cowgirl BBQ at 319 South Guadalupe Street, in Santa Fe.
5. See some fancy shooting
Check out some old-school shooting at a Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) event. This international organization is dedicated to cowboy action shooting – a shooting sport where costumed cowboys compete with firearms like those used to tame the Old West: single action revolvers, pistol caliber lever action rifles, and old time shotguns. Keep an eye out for
SASS events around New Mexico
, especially the annual End of the Trail World Championships, in Edgewood.
6. Hit the range yourself
If you want to shoot for yourself, head out to one of the state's indoor or outdoor shooting ranges. With proper safety equipment, try out any number of shooting styles, from guns, rifles, or bows. A lot of ranges offer classes in firearms and self-defense too.
7. Visit a ghost town
If you travel along New Mexico’s backroads, you’ll encounter abandoned buildings and settlements – a legacy of mining boom and busts, and failed ventures. In the right light, though, these lost towns can be seen as a symbol of New Mexico's resilience against tough odds. If you don't have a favorite ghost town destination,
visit one of these abandoned places
8. Bunk at a ranch
The Circle A Guest ranch is tucked in the Santa Fe National Forest, just outside of Cuba. This two-story adobe lodge and a dude ranch is one of the few remaining working guest ranches from the 1920s in New Mexico. It's the perfect base for area day trips or just a relaxing cowboy-style retreat. Find
Circle A Guest Ranch
at 510 Los Pinos Road, in Cuba.
9. Catch a rodeo
There are still some real cowboys out there in New Mexico. Some are tending herds and others are vying for buckles and cash at rodeo events (and some do both). Many of the rodeo contenders are following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents and helping to preserve the Western heritage of the state. For a list of New Mexico rodeo events, see the calendar at the
New Mexico Rodeo Association
10. Sidle up to a bar
After a long day of cowboying, kick back at the Mine Shaft Tavern. This rustic roadside saloon has cold brews, hot New Mexican-style grub (including some darn-tasty burgers), and live music. Founded in 1895, the Mine Shaft Tavern is a popular hang for locals and tourists alike. On weekends, look for the iron horses hitched outside too. Bikers, cowboys, and even vegetarians; all are welcome. Find the Mine Shaft in Madrid, right on the main drag.
11. Make some new friends
Meet some real cowboys at the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium. Each year, during the second full weekend in October, Ruidoso Downs hosts one of the most noted cowboy events around. At this week-long festival, listen to old west storytellers, historians, and poets. Then, swing dance to spirited pickers and fiddlers. Don't forget the chuckwagon cook-off, the cowboy competitions, and horse demonstrations either. For more information and tickets, see the
Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium website
12. Take a roadtrip
If you want to make a weekend of it, try this
cowboy road trip
. This drive (almost 800 miles) winds through southeastern New Mexico, plus a little of the north. It includes even more cowboy culture, like wild west shows, chuck-wagon dinners, and a cowboy museum.
Have you ever had a yen to live the cowboy life? Where in New New Mexico is your favorite place experience the cowboy life? Let us know in the comments.