Yeehaw! 18 Photos for National Day of the Cowboy

Tip your hat to cowboys from the American West and beyond with this roundup of photos from National Geographic’s archive.

Since the days of the Wild West, cowboys have held a beloved place in American popular culture. July 25th marks National Day of the Cowboy, a holiday dedicated to “preserving America’s cowboy heritage and culture.”

More than just the pistol-toting, rough-and-tumble tough guys of Western movies, cowboys helped settle the American West. They continue to play a key role in food production by herding cattle and caring for livestock.

Though cowboys are less visible now and their arduous lifestyle is often forgotten, cowboy (and cowgirl) culture has endured, especially in rodeos and horse-riding competitions.