When someone asks you to think about the West, what typically first comes to mind is the West over a century ago, as depicted by movies. Cowboys not as they existed (mostly as hard-working farmhands), but as anti-heroes with one foot over the line of the law, kicking in the swinging saloon doors with a silver star belt buckle and big leather boots on, defying authority and daring to claim the American dream. Western not as a place in time or way of life, but as a genre of entertainment. With fantastic directors like Sergio Leone and iconic actors like Clint Eastwood bringing idealizations like these to life, nobody can blame you. Casting historical accuracy aside, Western entertainment is a uniquely American form of art, reflecting the raw sensibilities behind the American outlook of free pursuit of wealth and happiness. For those with a burning desire to chase down the town’s #1 wanted man through the desert on horseback, six-shooters blazing, the most fitting is the perfect western buckle. Whether it be based on Wild Bill Hickok or Billy The Kid, the two classic legends of the West.
But what would our image of the old west be without an eagle soaring overhead? Cowboys with no horses? And who can avoid respecting the strength and power of the longhorn? The animals of the old west have become just as iconic as anything else, and what about the cowboy poised on a raging bull, daring to defy the power of nature in a truly inspiring fashion. Speaking of rodeo, anyone catch the CRCA 4B’s Rodeo at the Great Western this past weekend? The bull riders came out with only bumps and bruises to show. Thank goodness for the other events to pick up a night that may have otherwise been forgotten.
Though much of our perception of the West is through symbols, we choose to embrace the classic art of the West as well with Western art buckles, featuring Aztec and Native American inspired designs. Due to the Native American and especially Mexican influence, the art style attributed to the old west dates back hundreds of years further, even as far back as 1300′s Aztec culture. As the old west era was a complex and fierce time for disputes over territory, the artistic sensibilities of multiple cultures eventually began to come together as the melting pot began to take form. With great Aztec belt buckles, you can keep that art alive.
Outside of entertainment and the symbols it has spawned, the West was still a fascinating and crucial time of the United States’ development, the image of the untamed wilderness a testament of the sacrifices required to bring the American idea of freedom to life. Perhaps it is for this reason that it’s symbols remain so endearing to this day, and that timelessness is why they will remain immortalized. And hey, lets be honest, high noon standoffs will never go out of style.