Fade in: The familiar tune of a western whistle plays.
The idea of the wild west has always been quite fascinating ever since I was a child. Perhaps, there has even been this masked obsession with cowboys that has become more apparent in recent years. It all began with Toy Story and Woody instilling “reach for the sky,” into my head, which made me dream big and in my later years, there was Brokeback Mountain which, well … helped me discover other things about myself. The point is, it has always been there, whether it was a part of my imagination as a child or the fantasy I have as a grown man.
Canada has a rich cowboy culture and the Cariboo is home to that. In my opinion, it’s arguably the wild west of Canada, where you can find unexpected pockets of rustic charm. Never in my life would I have imagined myself living here, perhaps it would have always been something I thought about in the back of my head, but I am and it’s growing on me, week after week.
It wasn’t until my later years, that I started paying attention to fashion and curating an aesthetic. I’ve noticed many designers and stylist are influenced by western wear and it shows – the boots, tassels, chaps, suede, leather, denim. I kind of began expressing my liking for western culture back in the city as I started wearing more and more denim – as if the Canadian tuxedo was going out of style. I couldn’t get enough of it and I still can’t. Really all that was missing was a pair of boots and a cowboy hat, which I have acquired since living here. I don’t see myself walking into work with a cowboy hat on anytime soon, but I sure am ready for when the opportunity presents itself.
There’s more to it than just the fashion aspect.
I attended my first rodeo a month or two ago – I didn’t quite understand all of it at first, but it didn’t take long for me to catch on. I suppose I had all of these ideas in my head on what I would imagine it would be like and it didn’t quite live up to that, quite possibly because I have only ever seen one be portrayed in movies. That changed after I watched six cowboys try to straddle six angry bulls – that was exhilarating. From the beginning to the end. Just seeing them up on the cage, with their legs spread ready to drop down and ride the bull. I swear I was on my tippy toes in awe. I couldn’t imagine myself ever doing something like that, but it takes a lot of nerve to get on top of a bull and ride it – not knowing what’s going to happen. I couldn’t get enough of it and I swear by the end of it, I was shouting “yeehaw.”
I think it’s only a matter of time for me before I become a full-fledged cowboy – one who can look the look but can’t walk the walk.