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Wild West Cowboy Facts

Cowboy Pay & Cowboy Rope




Two essentials for the American western cowboy were his paycheck and his rope. 

While cows were the point, cowboys did make pay for the drive. A trail boss could earn as much as $125 a month, the average Old West cowboy drew $25 to $40 a month.

The rope was a critical piece of equipment for any cowboy. Some cowboys had lariats made from the Mexican maguey plant; others had rope made of sisal, which is a derivative of the agave plant; still others liked a lariat made of rawhide or American or Russian hemp.  But, by far the most popular of ropes was one made of Manila hemp, made from the Philippine banana plant. 

Standard rope moves included the backhand slip, forefooting, heeling, the pitch and the hoolihan.

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