Cowboy | Fort Worth, TX | 2013

I wandered away from the hundreds of tourists at the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Texas livestock industry’s historical district, and found myself alone in the quiet offices of the former cattle market. The structure’s high ceilings, wood floors, old photos and artifacts captured a bygone era of cattle drives and cowpokes. I stood there awhile, listening to the building’s bones creak and crack, when I heard a door open behind me followed by the clomp-jangle of boots with spurs. I turned to see a bowlegged figure emerge from the shadows. His leathery skin, handlebar mustache, trail-beaten hat and steely blue eyes marked him as a cattle drover from the district’s exhibition pens. He sidled past me, then stopped and turned. He slowly pushed back his hat and gave me the once-over. I expected a dust-choked growl, but instead he asked in a thick New Jersey accent: “Hey, dude, where’s the little boy’s room?”