First thing first. Buckaroos and Cowboys are not the same things!
You may think that American Cowboys are as original as apple pie, but cowboy culture came to the United States by way of Vaqueros and Buckaroos. Buckaroo is the Americanized version of Vaquero. Lo and behold, Vaqueros & Buckaroos were horsemen and cattle herders long before they invented English / Irish version cowboys. Lasso, chaps, reatas, and rodeo are also Mexican in origin.
The word "Buckaroo" sprang from the Spanish word "Vaquero". Vaquero is a Spanish term for a man who takes care of cattle. From the Spanish word "vacca" --meaning cow. In Spanish "V" is pronounced "B". Back then in the old days, Vaquero was used much more than Buckaroo but finally, it was corrupted to Buckaroo. Buckaroo word was not brought in by any specific group of early settlers as the Spanish word originated many, many years before this country was settled. The early Spanish Ranch owners in California used the word for their herdsmen and horsemen in the time of the first settling of California and when it was still owned by Mexico.
The Spanish style and custom of working cattle spread into Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho. Hence the Vaqueros or Buckaroos came with them. Even in this area in early days a large percentage of the riders were Mexicans or California Mexicans, especially on the larger outfits.
In around 1935 buckaroo became more popular in Nevada than Vaquero, and today buckaroo is the word of daily use. Buckaroo in itself has a rich cultural history, like the style of hat and clothes he wears, unique gears and the kind of saddle he prefers, is a sign of rich cultural origins and traditions. Knowledge and use of buckaroo techniques and culture separates insiders from the outsiders (Outsider = Cowboys)
A Buckaroo from the Great Basin country of northern Nevada, southern Idaho, northeast California and southeastern Oregon often wear flat hats, chinks, and ride A-fork saddles with post horns and bucking rolls. Traditionally their gear displays lots of silver and is fancier than some other areas of the country.
Buckaroo gears and style of handling horses is increasingly becoming quite popular in other parts of the country and the world due to unique techniques and cultural origins. Unfortunately, numerous American mistaken every Cowboy for Buckaroos as if they all were the same. Without meaning any disrespect for tradition cowboys, the Buckaroo Society is working to preserve their rich history, cultural origins, ways of life and techniques.
Fortunately, due to modern day technology, there are increasingly more museums, DVD, Videos, books and information on Buckaroos, in which we all hope to preserve and protect.
Montana Rio, Inc. - Established 2005