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There are a number of places laying claim to being the Cowboy Capital of the World - one of them is Bandera, Texas. Bandera is one of the places one can experience being a fully-fledged cowboy. Another place in Texas where one can experience the cowboy way of life is Fort Worth.

Being a cowboy in the Wild West was often a difficult and demanding job - sometimes even operating at the edge of the law. Go to Tombstone, Arizona, and one can see how cowboys (the Clantons) came to blows with the law (including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday) at the Gun Fight At The O.K. Corral. Go there, and one can see daily reenactments of the famous shoot-out at the O.K. Corral today.


History Of Bandera - The Cowboy Capital Of The World

Bandera is located in Bandera County and is around an hour's drive from San Antonio. It is nestled in the Texas Hill Country and once sat on the Great Western Cattle Trails, which existed during the second of the 19th century. The trail carried cattle and horses to the markets in the eastern and northern states and reached railheads in Kansas and Nebraska.

It also took longhorns and horses to ranches in the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, and Canada. It took around 100 days for the stock to reach its destination.

  • Population: 867 (2010 Census)
  • Nickname: Cowboy Capital Of The World
  • Great Western Cattle Trail: It Was Located On The Great Western Cattle Trail

Today Bandera offers a blend of Polish, Indian, Mexican, and Western cultures; according to the town's website, this mix gives it a "unique ambiance not found elsewhere in Texas."

The name "Bandera" is from the Spanish word meaning a flag. Long before Bandera was founded, many bloody battles took place between Apache and Comanche Indians and the Spanish Conquistadors in the Bandera Pass to the north of the town. According to legend, a red "Bandera" (or flag) was flown at the site to mark the boundary between Spanish and Indian hunting grounds.

  • St. Stanislaus Catholic Church: The Second-Oldest Polish Catholic Church In The United States

In 1855 sixteen Polish families migrated to Bandera to work at the mill that had been built there just two years before. One can see the Polish heritage in some of the town's architecture - like the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church.

Related: Think You Could Survive Cowboy Days In The Wild West? Here's What They Had To Eat

Check The Rodeos In Bandera

A town can't claim to be the Cowboy Capital of the World without a rodeo, and Bandera has three rodeos. These are:

  • Ridin' The River Cowboy Fellowship Rodeos
  • Riding On Faith Rodeo & Cowboy Capital Bull Bash
  • Bandera Pro rodeo

The Riding On Faith Rodeo is committed to promoting the cowboy way of life and holds summer rodeo events at the Mansfield Park Rodeo Area. Events include open bull riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, mini bull riding, open barrels, junior barrels, open team roping, and mutton busting.

To see their events and the calendar, refer to their website for up-to-date information.

Related: Experience An Old-Timey Train Robbery On The Grand Canyon Railway

Tour A Ranch Or Stay On A Ranch In Bandera

One of the things to do in Bandera to immerse oneself in the cowboy heritage of the town is to tour a ranch. There are a few ranches to choose from.

Lake Medina RV Resort

The Lake Medina RV Resort is a family-owned and operated 700-acre working cattle ranch on Medina Lake (it is now it in the sixth family generation). It is a great location for training events and retreats. They also have their Club House, which offers an open space for guests and private parties. It evolved from a fishing camp first built in 1912, and historic cabins built in the 1920s remain in use.

  • RV Sites: 95 RV Sites With Full Hook Ups
  • Accommodations: 6-1 Bedroom Cottages With Lofts (Each Sleeps 6)
  • Water Activities: Paddle Boarding And Kayak Rentals
  • Ranch Tours: Contact The Property For Ranch Tours
  • Wifi: Free Wifi

They have open and shaded sites and more. Guests can choose between spacious RV sites and deluxe cottages.

Flying A Ranch

Flying A Ranch offers hunting, nature sites, and ranch tours. It is a 9,000-acre ranch situated just south of Bandera. Lodging is also available at The Lodge on San Julian Creek on the ranch.

  • Offers: Ranch Tours, Hunting, Nature Sites
  • Size: 9,000 Acre Ranch

If one would like to see and experience what being a cowboy was (and is) like, then consider visiting Bandera, Texas.