Harvard's Cowboys

When a pure-blooded cowboy is willing to come to the East Coast, there’s got to be a darn good reason.
By K.a. Crawford

When a pure-blooded cowboy is willing to come to the East Coast, there’s got to be a darn good reason. A sprinkling of people from the real, genuine West have found the long journey to Johnston Gate worthwhile, if slightly jarring, bringing their roots with them in symbolic ways and counting the days until they can return to the land where the skies are uncloudy all day.

Luke R. Long ’03 is a fourth-generation rancher and the first student from Jackson Hole High School to attend Harvard. He’s had to endure some aesthetic disappointment here in the big city. “Jackson Hole was gorgeous, an amazing way to live,” he shares. “To leave that was hard.”

Joseph A. Scott ’05 of Eagle Ridge Ranch, Wyoming, has had to adjust his perception of property values. In Wyoming, where men are boys and cowboys are real men, the 23,000 acres of Eagle Ridge Ranch are considered “small.”

Some hard-drinkin’ cowboys have also had to adapt to a more cosmopolitan/boring way of gettin’ down. “Another transition that was difficult to bear was the lackluster social scene,” explains Great Falls, Montana resident Alexander Blewett ’03. “My brother and I tend to throw blowout parties back in Montana, and it’s safe to say that even our chintzy Montana boondock parties far outclass the half-ass shmooze-fest social gatherings Harvard students refer to as parties.”

Long and his fellow Westerners strive to represent the wild, wild west in Cambridge, the most East Coasty of locales. Long believes that “as much as we need Harvard, Harvard needs us to maintain its culture. We all bring a bit of our background to the college.” Long accomplishes this sartorially. “It’s not easy to be the only guy wearing Wranglers, but you owe it to yourself to maintain part of your heritage.”

Lauren E. Kivett-Ripmaster ’03 listens to country music “religiously,” waiting to go back home to Boulder, Colorado. “I will move back west when I graduate. That is a promise,” she says. “But my time in the East has definitely been worthwhile. Everyone should at least experience it a little.”

Though he’s met “some great people,” Blewett plans to return home. “I’m bailing out of the East Coast and heading back to Montana to practice civil and environmental law. Montana provides a quality of life unmatched anywhere in the United States,” he says.

Long also realizes that his future lies in the West. He wants to return to Wyoming and become a force in local, state and national politics. “I’m learning and pushing myself here, so that I can return and help other people,” he says. “Being a cowboy is a dying lifestyle. People move into Wyoming who are well-educated and they begin to frame all of the laws and regulations for wolf preservation and against logging They don’t understand the techniques of the cowboy that help man and nature coexist.”

Harvard: Helping Westerners teach Easterners about man, nature and cowboy since 1636.

For The Moment