"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

The dwindling of a myth

A whole lot of the west still gets described as cowboy country. Wyoming has one on its license plates, and Idaho’s governor still goes out of his way to get described that way, but eastern Oregon and Washington fit the description too.

Or they have. Just how many cowboys in the usual meaning – that of handlers and managers of livestock and range areas, and not in practice usually referred to as “cowboys” – are there?

In Oregon, apparently, somewhat fewer than 2,500, in a state of somewhat over three and a half million people.

So says a new (and strongly-recommended) piece in the Oregonian about unemployment in the trade, how many ranchers who not long ago would often provide jobs for quite a few cow hands now can no longer do that. And that’s despite marginal pay: An estimated $10.26 on hour.

An icon, it seems, that doesn’t get paid much anymore.

Question: What’s the cowboy population in Idaho?

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