The Calling of a Cowboy
Ashton Lehmann wasn’t born in a saddle, but it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say he was. From an early age, it seemed destined that he would be a cowboy. Raised near Mayfair, Saskatchewan on a community pasture that was one of the largest in the country, he was practically raised on the back of a horse. Forced to choose between hockey and rodeoing at a young age, a young Lehmann (and his two brothers) chose the rope and the road and never looked back. After winning numerous awards at high school rodeos across the country, he moved to Texas on a roping scholarship, strengthening both his commitment to cowboying and his skillset. After a few years of chasing steers and reading the occasional textbook, he moved back to Saskatchewan to see if cowboying could be a viable career. A few tough winters of driving pump truck across the province, and opportunity arose under a newly minted community pasture (former PRFA) to be their first pasture manager. The second youngest manager in the province at the age of 23, Lehmann took on the responsibility of 900 cow-calf pairs, a large undertaking for someone even with years of experience. Two years into the job he considers himself lucky to call himself a working cowboy, and still pounds the pavement on weekends chasing belt buckle dreams at rodeos across western Canada.
Committing to being a cowboy is not for the faint of heart. It takes resolve, undying enthusiasm and unrelenting work ethic. To be a cowboy is to go full into one’s identity, to blend work and play and commit to the road less taken. Ashton doesn’t pull punches when he talks about the difficulty of being a cowboy. The uncertainty and the isolation can weigh on one’s mind, and the responsibility of controlling the livelihood of other’s animals can be daunting. But there is no way he would rather have it. Luckily for Ashton, he has had a long line of mentors that he has been able to look up to and learn from in paving his way to being a cowboy, and most importantly, his family. Between dreaming of being a rodeo champion and fortifying his livelihood as a cowboy, Lehmann’s future will be spent on the back of a horse if he has any say in the matter.
Nathan Jones is a Saskatchewan based photographer/videographer focusing on themes of agriculture and adventure.
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