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Style Magazine

Get to Know...Cowboy Hay

Jun 30, 2009 05:00PM ● By Wendy Sipple

Photo by Dante Fontana.

Cowboy Hay is a living history performer who takes his character very seriously.

He portrays a cowboy, born in 1828 in the rough Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan. He took Horace Greeley’s admonition to heart when he was old enough to navigate on his own, and, whilst still a young man, he headed to the West. In his dynamic living history presentation, Cowboy Hay will tell you about his wild life and adventures.

He started his career as a teacher of history, in this manner, with the inspiration of Melanie Barton, now the administrator of Placer County Museums. He is grateful to Barton for setting him on this track, which has become so much of his life. Barton recognizes the magic when he fully takes on the character of an early 19th century cowboy. He sits in his rustic campsite and he weaves his tales for all comers.

He is completely comfortable in his character, and he interacts exactly as you would expect a cowpoke from the 1840s to interact with you. He is well spoken and a consummate storyteller. “When I am talking to a grade school class, I am not in the camp when they arrive. I ask the teacher to tell them to close their eyes and open their minds,” he says. And the kids do, and they become completely enveloped in Cowboy Hay’s world. And when you visit him, so will you.

For more information about Cowboy Hay, and other local happenings and information, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style – El Dorado County Foothills edition. Check out the "Get Your Copy" link above for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email  [email protected], or call 916-988-9888.