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P.O. Box 62
Ellsworth, KS 67439
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About the Masthead!

Did you ever get the feeling that your life was just a puzzle that hadn't reached completion yet? It's funny how things come together one piece at a time. Suppose it's one of those really large puzzles. You move on to another section and start putting pieces together, when all of a sudden, you run across a piece that fits in the first section, and "Boom!" there you are back where you started, but this time, you see a little more. And, for a moment... you feel a little more confident about where you're going and what you're doing.

Well, that's the long way around telling you the story of the Kansas Cowboy. Years ago I ran across the collection of the original Kansas Cowboy newspapers in the archives at the Kansas State Historical Society. This was back in the days when you actually got the originals for research. I was fascinated! The masthead drew me right in. Here was this mustached fellow in a cowboy hat, presiding over typical ranching operations with Longhorns and block letters announcing to the world that THIS was the Kansas Cowboy! My primary reason for being there was put on hold as I poured over the pages. I finally got back to my intended research, but never quite forgot about the Cowboy.

Published in the 1880's, the Kansas Cowboy was started by the Western Central Kansas Stock Association. The paper covered the cattle business as it shaped the lives of those on the prairies of West/Central Kansas. Letters were published from Cowboys out in the line shacks and ranch houses of the plains. The Smoky Hill Cattle Pool was of special interest, with brands and specific information on the ranches that ran cattle on the Smoky Hill Range. With a circulation of 400 copies a week, and coverage of the cattle trade between the Arkansas and Smoky Hill Rivers, the Kansas Cowboy surveyed the territory for the Cowboys of the Kansas prairie. Colonel S.S. Prouty, manager of the paper, moved the Cowboy from Sidney, Kansas to Dodge City because at that time it was "the livestock center of the Kansas range."

In the process of establishing the Drovers Mercantile, I found myself working on those old puzzle pieces that had been laid aside so many years ago. That masthead is the inspiration of our Kansas Cowboy. Today, the Kansas Cowboy has been resurrected in Ellsworth, as it is fast becoming "the Cowboy Cultural Center of the Kansas Range."

The Cowboy is alive and well in the beautiful Ellsworth County Smoky Hills! He is also very much a part of this great state, from border to border. On ranches and in towns and cities, he is there, as C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. carry on the traditions we all love. The legacy left to us by Colonel Prouty and thousands of Cowboys is not forgotten by the C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. Society.

"Long Live the Cowboy Way!"


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