As we all know times have changed and few things are as they were. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that’s bad. Mostly though, it’s just life.
Three young women talked about this on a discussion panel during the 30th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering last week, tackling the issue of Being Cowboy in a Digital World. One might think that the panelists, Jolyn Young, Jessica Hedges, and Jessie Veeder have their heads down over cell phones or Ipads most of the time, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
All three women have diverse yet similar backgrounds in ranching and how they use the internet. Jolyn is a 26 year old cowboy’s wife and mother of one who lives on a remote ranch on the edge of the Jarbridge Wilderness in Nevada. She writes for the Nevada Rancher and uses her blog and Facebook to keep up with friends and family. The internet also allows her to research and submit her stories in a way she would not have access to otherwise.
Jessica is a 25 year old cowboy’s wife and mother of two who lives on the ZX Ranch in Paisley, Oregon. She began using social media and blogging as a way to promote her cowboy poetry, but was also able to create an accessories line, The Buckarette Collection, that she markets via Facebook. Jessica has found a better connection with her audience and customers because they have a relationship when they finally meet at a show or in her booth.
Jessie is 30 years old and owns a ranch with her husband on the edge of the Badlands in western North Dakota while traveling extensively as a singer/songwriter and speaker. She began blogging as a way to tell her personal story and it has blossomed into a photography passion and a way to promote her brand. When Jessie also has a regular column in the Fargo Forum and uses the internet to contribute regularly to other publications.
Yes, these ladies discussed the opportunities technology and social media have given them as wives and mothers in ranching communities but also how things are just the same. Jolyn recently posted in her blog, “there still is no app for doctoring calves or how to shape your hat.”
The Western Folklife Center is hoping to initiate things kinds of conversations and more in the gatherings to come. What topics would you like to see discussed?
By Jessica Hedges