Howdy, pardners! It’s mighty nice to see you here at the Movoto Real Estate Corral—er, Blog. Now y’all might be wonderin’ why I’m typin’ with a Texas twang. We’ll, that’s ‘cause I’ve been spendin’ a lot of time thinkin’ about the Lone Star state as of late.
I’m not exactly sure how anyone can talk like that all the time, but what I do know is that the fine folks of Texas take their cowboys very seriously. That’s why my fellow bloggers and I thought it would be fun to rank the biggest cities in Texas by how cowboy they are. Meaning, how they fare in a bunch of different criteria representing America’s rugged icons of the Old West.
What’d I find? Well, although Bandera, TX claims to be the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” the true title of the Most Cowboy City in Texas actually goes to a town called Tyler, just a stone’s throw from Dallas—a city that didn’t even make the top 10. Here’s what that looked like.
The 10 Most Cowboy Cities in Texas:
Now, don’t be too sore if you don’t see your hometown up there. There’s a chance that it made the top 50, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. In the following sections, I’ll go over how I ranked the cities and what exactly is so darn cowboy about them. So, lasso yourself up a sarsaparilla, put a saddle on your chair, and make your eyes Texas-size for some mighty interestin’ reading.
How’d I Rustle Up This Ranking?
Now, coming up with a definitive list of the most cowboy cities in Texas isn’t as simple as just picking names out of a ten-gallon hat. It involves research, and before that can even start, you need a set of criteria to go on.
If you’ve read any of our trademark Big Deal Lists in the past, you’ll know how this works. First, I had to come up with my criteria. What makes a city “cowboy,” exactly? Here’s what I decided on:
- Western wear stores per capita
- Steakhouses per capita
- Saloons per capita
- Gun stores per capita
- American truck dealerships per capita
- Country radio stations per capita
- Rodeos per capita
As for why I picked each of these, I’ll tell y’all about my reasoning—and which cities did especially well in each category—next. Before you mosey along, though, I should point out some caveats to consider. First of all, this ranking only looks at the top 50 most populous cities in Texas, which is why places like Bandera (population 859) didn’t make the cut. Then, in terms of geographic area, I only looked at businesses, rodeos, and radio stations actually located and held within city limits. All retail data came from Yelp, rodeo details came from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and radio station details came from the FCC.
I ranked each city on the individual criteria from 1 to 50, with 1 being the most cowboy and 10 being the least. This was done on a per capita basis, so the fewer people per western wear store, for example, the higher the cowboy rank. Then, I averaged the individual criteria scores together to end up with an overall Big Deal Score for each city. Like with the individual criteria, the lower the number here, the better.
Now get along, little doggies!
Western Wear: Like Neiman Marcus For The Cowboy Crowd
What’s the first place a cowboy or cowgirl heads when they need a new hat, pair of boots, fresh jeans, or a bolo tie? The Western wear store. These purveyors of cowboy fashion are absolutely crucial to a town being cow-folk friendly. So, I rounded ‘em up for each city and figured out how many people there were for each one.
Bryan, TX placed first in this category with 38,101 folks per Western wear store. Tyler, TX was second with 48,250 while Denton, TX came in third at 56,692.
Steakhouses: Keep Your Fancy Cookin’After a cowboy gets all gussied up, they’ll want somewhere to grab a bite to eat while showing off their shiny new spurs. What do cowboys like to eat? Steak. Well, and potatoes. There’s nowhere better at servin’ this kind of grub up than a steakhouse.
You’ll find the most of these excellent eateries in San Angelo, TX, which has one for every 9,320 people. Temple, TX, serves up one for every 9,443 residents, while Sugar Land, TX has one for every 9,852.
Saloons: Also Known As Waterin’ Holes
As in the days of the Old West, a cowboy’s favorite meetin’ place is still the saloon. Now, for this criterion, I didn’t just look up how many bars or nightclubs each city had; no, that wouldn’t do at all. I instead only considered establishments that 1) served alcoholic beverages and 2) actually have the word “saloon” in their name.
Longview, TX shot to the top of this list with one suitable watering hole for every 26,818 residents. San Angelo has one for every 31,067, while Odessa, TX has one for every 33,313.
Gun Stores: Grab Your Six-Shooters
Even though the need for cowboys to pack a pair of revolvers for personal safety have thankfully gone the way of the telegraph, the most cowboy-iest of cowboys still like to collect these iconic firearms—and hone their skills for competing in (sanctioned) sharpshooting and quickdraw challenges. Because of that, I chose to include gun stores and shooting ranges.
American Truck Dealers: Horsepower, Not HorsesHow’s a cowboy supposed to get to the range, meet their pardners at a saloon, or pick up that shiny new pair of boots if horses aren’t exactly the preferred mode of transport in the New West? In a truck, of course. More specifically, an American truck. With that in mind, I found how many dealerships in each city sell just that: domestic vehicles with plenty of hauling capacity and lots of ponies under the hood.
Tyler, TX drove away with the victory in this category, having one domestic truck dealership for every 24,125 residents. San Angelo, TX was second with one for every 31,067 and Temple, TX was third with one for every 33,051.
Country Radio Stations: Boot-Scootin’ Tunes
Whether cruising around town behind the wheel of a eight-ton pickup or line dancing in the privacy of their own homes, cowboys need tunes—country tunes. And even if they’ve got CDs or one of those new-fangled MP3 players full of it, they’ll need a country radio station to hear what’s hot and what’s new. That’s why I included them in the ranking, and I only included stations for a city that are actually based there.
In that case, Tyler, TX was at the top of the charts with one country station for every 48,250 of its residents. Odessa, TX was second on the list with one for every 49,970 people, and Wichita Falls, TX was third with one for every 52,277.
Rodeos: Where Cowboy Skills Are Put To The Test
No self-respectin’ ranking of cowboy cities would be complete without taking into consideration that most Western of events, the rodeo. After all, it’s the place where almost every cowboy skill gets shown off, excluding things like poker playing and whiskey drinking. Heck, if we had our way, they’d include those too. But, until they do, we’ll just have to be content with calf roping and bull riding.
Bryan, TX grabbed the bull by the horns on this one, having one rodeo for every 76,201 residents. Longview, TX held on second longest with one for every 80,455 while Allen, TX came in third with one for every 84,246 people.
Give ‘Em A Hand—A Cowhand
After my own sort of mathematical rodeo, the city that came out on top in terms of the average score across all seven criteria was Tyler, TX. This place is simply the most rootin’ tootin’ city in the great state of Texas, with plenty of everything that represents the cowboy way of life. Sure, it might not have a ton of dude ranches or boast that it’s the world’s cowboy capital, but its residents can sleep well at night—under those bright stars—knowing that on our list, they’re tops. For a full rundown of the 50 most cowboy cities in Texas, take a look at the chart below. Yeehaw!
Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, CA. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes and CBS News.