Category: cowboy names

Cowboy Names: Back in the saddle again

cowboy baby names

Just as we’ve been heralding the trend towards cowboy names, it looks like we could be in for a posse of new ones.

In the L.A. Times the other day, an article talked about prime-time television’s “reinvigorated love of the western, where projects are sprouting like cactus in the desert…and viewers may see the biggest glut of westerns since the genre’s heyday of the ‘60s.”

It was that heyday that incited the stampede of names that hadn’t been heard in a century onto the boys’ popularity lists of the 1950s, sixties and seventies, some of which are still riding tall in the saddle.

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There’s a whole posse of cowboy baby names in Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s roundup of this week’s newsiest names.

Some weeks, it feels like all of the birth announcements are from one big extended family.

Nameberry dubbed this style trend Iconoclastic Cowboy, and indeed, it does seem to be popular with parents everywhere.  Wyatt and Colton are both in the US Top 100.  For Real Baby Names spotted a crop of little cowpokes with names like Cayson Poe, Lathan West, and Adan Prayer in Connecticut – not exactly a place you associate with ranches and wranglers.

This week’s round-up of the nine most intriguing names begins in Manhattan:

Tristan – The Trump family is bigger by one, with Donald, Jr. and wife Vanessa welcoming Tristan Milos, a little brother for Donnie and Kai MadisonTristan reads medieval romantic hero, but Brad Pitt’s star turn as Tristan in 1994’s Legends of the Fall transported the name from Arthurian legend to the rugged Montana wilderness.

From New York to L.A., Jenna Fischer and husband Lee Kirk welcomed a son named Weston Lee.  I’d almost call Weston nouveau preppy rather than rugged, but his full name – Weston Lee Kirk – sounds right at home in boots and spurs.

Then there’s Nashville.  We’d expect country music stars to give us names at home on the range, and they have:

Boone McCoy – Country crooner Eric Church and wife Katherine welcomed a son.  Boone brings to mind American frontiersman Daniel Boone, as well as the word boon – blessing or bonus.  As for McCoy, the surname brings to mind the phrase “the real McCoy” and implies authenticity.  Yes, Boone McCoy Church sounds a little like a Dallas law firm, but it works.

Colt DanielJohn Rich has welcomed a second son.  He and wife Joan are also parents to son Cash.  Yes, that’s right.  Cash Rich.  Only in Nashville.

Bloggers have embraced the style, too.  Two of my favorite writers at Babble both have new boys with old west names.

Zeke Molly Thornberg, a.k.a Digital Mom, writes about life with her four kids, including new son Zeke.  Big brother is Izaiah, which is more edgy Old Testament.

Huck Natalie Holbrook blogs about life with baby Huck.  His full name is the impeccable classic Henry August.  But the Mark Twain nickname takes this tot from his New York City home to the mighty Mississippi.

Is there such a thing as an Iconoclastic Cowgirl?  Boy howdy, there is!

Brit Baywatch alum David Chokachi and wife Susan are new parents to daughter Brit MadisonBritt is a Swedish short form of Bridget, and the mostly masculine Brett was used for one of Orry’s sisters in the best-selling North and South trilogy.  Brit feels modern and tailored, but also tough.

Poet Poppin – Australian country singer Kasey Chambers has a brother called Nash and sons named Talon and Arlo Ray.  Now Kasey and husband Shane Nicholson have welcomed a daughter called Poet Poppin.  The literary Poet isn’t quite in this group, but paired with middle name Poppin, she sounds delightfully different, and equal to choices like Boone McCoy.

The ultimate Iconoclastic Cowboy name is coming soon to the big screen.  The much-awaited reboot of Footloose opens next weekend.  They’ve moved fictional Bomont from Utah to Tennessee, and invited country music stars to cover the movie’s iconic 80s pop soundtrack. Blake Shelton performs the cover song.  It is tough to imagine anyone filling Kevin Bacon’s dancing shoes, but early reviews have been mostly positive.  So let’s hear it for the character name: Ren.

Ren has never cracked the US Top 1000, but he’s been in steady use ever since the original Footloose debuted.  He’s my pick for the movie name most likely to leap from the screen to the crib in 2012, the perfect blend of rugged and urban, a modern sound with roots – something that seems very much in demand, at least this week!

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Nameberry Picks: Best Cowboy Names

Heroes and villains, famous and infamous, real life, big and small screen characters and the actors who played them—there’s a whole genre of cowboy names that have a certain swagger and western twang all their own.

Here are a dozen of the best: who they were and why we like their names.

Beau(regard) Maverick was one of the B-named Maverick brothers in the long-running TV series, along with Bret, Bart and BrentBeau was played by future James Bond, Roger Moore, and the name Beau has retained both a southern drawl and a western twang.

Cole Younger (born Thomas Coleman) was a real-life Confederate guerilla during the Civil War, who then became an outlaw with the James-Younger gang. Cole has been in the Top 100 since 1997 and makes a strong but sensitive choice

Cheyenne Bodie was the lead character in the 1950s western TV series, Cheyenne, set right after the Civil War. A place name in many old cowboy movies, it became a legitimate first name with this show, and became a cowgirl name beginning in the eighties, reaching a high of 72 in 1998 and now ranking at Number 184.

Emmett Dalton was another bad boy—an outlaw member of the Dalton gang. Nowadays the name is associated with a character in the popular Twilight serieswhich helped propel Emmett up more than 200 spots in the past year, but it still has something of a far west feel.

Flint McCullough was a co-starring character on the seminal TV oater, Wagon Train.  Flint is the kind of heavy-metal macho moniker being considered by some parents today, along with cousins Steel and Stone.

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Cowboy names first galloped onto the scene in the 1950s and 1960s, along with the cool Western TV shows and movies of the era.  A lot of these were Old Testament names that had not been heard much since, well, since the real Old West.  Some of the early choices that launched a trend that’s still going strong:

ADAM – – Bonanza

BARNABY — Wagon Train


BEAUWells Fargo, Maverick




CALEB  — Seven Brides for Seven Brothers


EPHRAIMSeven Brides

FLINT — Wagon Train

GIDEONSeven Brides

JARROD — Big Valley

JASON — Wanted: Dead or Alive; Here Come the Brides

JEBWells Fargo

JED – – Rawhide; How The West Was Won

JEREMY — Here Come the Brides

JOSH — Wanted: Dead or Alive

JOSHUA — Here Come the Brides

LUCAS — Rifleman

LUKEHow the West Was Won

MATT — Gunsmoke

SETH — Wagon Train


SIMON — Rawhide

ZEBHow The West Was Won

Females and their names were in short supply in the Old West, split between hardy pioneer women and dance hall girls. Their names help you tell which was which:

ALICESeven Brides for Seven Brothers

BELLEWells Fargo

BIDDIE — Here Come the Brides

CANDY –Here Come the Brides

DORCASSeven Brides

EVEHow The West Was Won

JULIEHow The West Was Won

KITTY — Gunsmoke

LIZASeven Brides

MARTHASeven Brides

MILLYSeven Brides

SARAHSeven Brides

Tomorrow: Names for thoroughly modern cowbabies.

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Names Riding Off Into the Sunset

We’re often asked to talk about and predict names that are on their way up, but recently someone posed the reverse question, about names that have peaked and are trending downwards.  So here are a few thoughts on some categories of names that have gone from cool to hot to lukewarm, and their possible replacements.

WESTERN PLACE NAMES: Adios to cowboys and girls Dakota, Montana and Sierra, hello to more distant and exotic locales such as Rio, Vienna, Geneva, Sahara, Peru, Kenya

JADEN & CO: Even if it hasn’t quite happened yet, parents are bound to rebel against the megapopularity of all the nouveau Aidan siblings–Jayden, Caden, Cayden, Brayden, Kaden et al–and go back to  the original (now spelled) Aiden, which is rising in popularity all the time.

BIBLICAL GIRLS’ NAMES: Rebecca, Rachel, Hannah  and Sarah may be eternal classics, but many parents feel they have been way overused during the past few decades, and are seeking out  less common examples in the Good Book–DinahJaelSalomeTamarMichal, anyone?–or choosing virtue names like Honor and Verity instead.  Biblical boys’ names, on the other hand, continue to thrive, with Jacob holding fast at Number One.

PREPPY SURNAMES: Upscale nineties favorites, such as the seriously striving Parkers and Porters, Carsons and Carters, seem to have lost their relevence in this changed economy, replaced by livelier, cheerier, unpretentious Irish family names like Sullivan, Brady, Reagan, Riley and Rafferty.  For what it’s worth, though, Cash is on the rise.

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