5 Reasons Why San Angelo is the Most Cowboy City In Texas
There's a good way to tell that most people who write about cowboys and Texas don't know what they're talking about. If you google it, you'll see that Bandera, Texas, is most often cited by those who don't know it as the "Most Cowboy City in Texas."
Sadly, even the poor folks in Bandera seem to have it twisted. Look at this sticker they sell.
According to the US Copyright Office, no one owns the copyright on the slogan: "Cowboy Capital of the World." In fact, Bandera isn't even the only city that uses that phrase. Their emblem is service marked with that phrase on it, but as far as our research could find, the slogan itself is fair game.
For all those obvious outsiders so quick to jump on the "Bandera" wagon (ok bad pun, couldn't resist), we're about to unload a little reality check. To the whole world, here is why San Angelo is the Most Cowboy City in Texas.
First, True West Magazine has not named Bandera to their Top Ten True Western Towns list. At last count, San Angelo has made the list five years in a row. We were even #1 in 2022.
Bandera is also much smaller than San Angelo and doesn't have as big an anything cowboy.
Here are 5 Reasons Why Those Who Know Designate San Angelo As the Most Cowboy City in Texas
1) History: While Bandera and San Angelo have cowboy histories, San Angelo played a more significant role due to its prominent position on the Goodnight-Loving Trail. San Angelo was a main stop along the trail, and the Concho River provided a water source for the cattle and a supply stop for cowboys.
What happened on the Goodnight-Loving trail contributed greatly to the shape of cowboy culture in the Old West. This trail brought thousands of cattle from Texas markets to Kansas and was used by legendary cowboys like Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving.
2) Rodeo: The rip-roaring San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo is recognized as one of the best in the world. Bandera's "Cowboy Capital Rodeo" is much smaller and not well-known.
Since 1932, San Angelo's rodeo has been one of the largest rodeos in the state. The recently held "Cinch Chute-Out" is without a doubt one of the most exciting competitions in the sport.
San Angelo hosts other rodeo events, including the San Angelo Cowboy Gathering Ranch Rodeo. This event showcases traditional cowboy skills such as team roping, bronc riding, and calf branding.
3) Ranching: While both Bandera and San Angelo are in the heart of Texas ranching country, San Angelo is home to more working ranches and cowboys who still practice the traditional cowboy way of life.
One thing that differentiates San Angelo is Angelo State University's extensive programs on ranch management and animal science. The university has a 1,900-acre working ranch that serves as a living lab for students.
Overall, San Angelo is home to thousands of head of cattle, and ranching is a significant part of the region's economy. Many family ranches in the San Angelo area have been in the same family for generations with highly skilled traditional cowboy skills passed down from generation to generation.
4) Western Art: Bandera has a few galleries that showcase Western and Cowboy-themed artwork. Let's give them some credit on that point. It's a mercy point.
San Angelo has a diverse art scene and several museums and galleries dedicated to Western and cowboy art. The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts has a significant collection of Western art. That collection includes over 7,000 pieces.
The annual San Angelo Cowboy Gathering showcases cowboy culture through music, poetry, and art. Their art show showcases Western and cowboy-themed artworks from artists worldwide.
5) Cowboy Culture: Two words Fort Concho. Bandera was NOT the home to a frontier fort like San Angelo. In fact, Bandera doesn't have the same depth and breadth of cowboy heritage as San Angelo, which had a significant military and frontier history.
No city in Texas, maybe even the entire country, has more restaurants that feature classic cowboy fare than San Angelo. Iconic restaurants like the Western Sky Steakhouse are scattered throughout the area.
This cuisine was invented along the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail that ran right through San Angelo.
So, the next time you see an article on the internet or in a magazine or newspaper mentioning Bandera or any other Texas city as "the most cowboy" or "the cowboy capital," just smile before you get your dander up. When you see that kind of horse manure shoveled out there for public consumption, know it is not being peddled by anyone who knows Texas.
If they did, they would know San Angelo IS the true Cowboy Capital of the State.
LOOK: Route 66’s quirkiest and most wonderful attractions state by state