Cowboys: Sticking With It Till The End...Which Hasn't Arrived Yet

By John Langmore

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This photo is of Wade Cooper, the "legendary" (he'd roll his eyes if he read that) buckaroo boss on the ZX. When I rolled up to Binion's in 1975 with no more than a week's riding lessons to prepare me for a summer cowboying, Wade was the first cowboy's hand I shook as I got out of my parent's station wagon. I was twelve and he was 24, fresh out of Vietnam.

After that, Wade and I worked together three more summers at Binion's. When I photographed Wade on the ZX in 2013, the first time I'd seen him in thirty years, we spent the whole time retelling Binion Ranch stories. Back when Wade and I worked there, Binion's was the kind of place that generated stories.

Wade is one of the few men I rode out with as a young man that is still working as a big outfit cowboy. I'm not the least bit surprised he's the guy that stuck with it till the end . . . which hasn't even arrived yet.

-John Langmore is a former working cowboy who spent five years photographing cowboys on twelve of the country’s largest ranches for the soon to be released film, Cowboys: a Documentary Portrait, and also a book titled, Open Range – America’s Big Outfit Cowboy.