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Salary of a Cowboy

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The job of cowboy is the stuff of legend. Virtually unchanged for decades, it still is about roping, branding, herding, feeding and caring for ranch livestock. Those who yearn for one of the hardest jobs around receive great personal satisfaction and the great outdoors in return. The average annual salary, though, was just $22,650, as of 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. .

Highest Salaries by Area

Grouped by the BLS with agricultural workers, cowboys’ annual salaries were highest in western states such as Wyoming, at $31,020, and Washington, at $30,810. Some of the highest-paying areas, as of 2013, were Salt Lake City, Utah, at $41,110; Corpus Christi, Texas, at $37,690; and Visalia, Calif., at $36,270.

Salaries of Rodeo Cowboys

Also in a demanding job, rodeo cowboys earned considerably more, on average. According to the jobs website Indeed, the average professional rodeo cowboy made $150,000 in 2014. The annual average in California was $161,000. In Wyoming, it was $124,000.


Nate Lee was senior editor of Chicago's "NewCity" newspaper and creative director in a global advertising agency. A playwright and published poet, Lee writes about the arts, culture and business innovation. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Tulane University.

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