The song suggests that mommas should not let their babies grow up to be cowboys. Which is weird, because babies and cowboys have so much in common. You know, like not being easy to love, or hold. The fact that they both like puppies. And even their predisposition towards girls of the night.
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Baby Names
There is a loophole, however, for mommas and poppas who still want their baby to have a little cowboy steeze. After all, Willie and Waylon said nothing about naming your baby after cowboys (or cowgirls). So dig deep into this list of baby names inspired by the Old West, which will even work for doctors and lawyers and such.
Names For Both Boys and Girls
These names that straddle the split rail fence:
Charley: You may be laboring under some outdated understanding that gender-neutral baby names are strictly a product of millennial post-gender zeal. Don’t tell that to the ghost of Charley Parkhurst. With her neutral name, she kept her gender secret for decades while driving some of the most brutally dangerous stagecoach lines of the West for Welles Fargo, which your little Charley will only ever know as a bank (and hopefully not rob).
Wilder: From the prairie clan that had the little house. These were some tough, resilient folks, which will hopefully rub off on your kid. Although, they’ll probably be far more likely to fall down during a VR experience of running through wildflowers.
Winchester: This is the tool that “won” the West (or lost it, depending on your perspective). It’s a powerful name with a ton of gravitas and the antithesis of all the boys and girls being named Arrow. Perfect if you feel you’re going to have a kid prone to going off half-cocked.
Names For Girls
The men of the old west have a tendency to get all of the ink, which really blows because there were a lot of badass women riding the range. More than that, they were far tougher than their names might suggest.
Pearl: Consider Pearl Hart, a famous bank robber who was caught but refused to be tried under a system “her sex had no hand in making,” and was eventually released. Or Pearl De Vere who ran the most expensive, cutting-edge brothel in the west. Sure, you can always say it’s because you love oysters and were feeling selfish.
Etta: Etta Hart, a school teacher-turned-outlaw who joined up with Butch, Sundance and the Wild Bunch, inspires this lovely name. She rode with them before they fled to Bolivia. Legend says she stuck around the states and stole cattle. A truly moo-ving story.
Willa: For those of a more literary bent, think about Willa Cather. She was a prolific novelist early in the 1900s who wrote primarily of pioneer life. Best known for her book O Pioneers, which is oddly not a book about searching for the female orgasm, she won a Pulitzer Prize for literature in the 1920s.
Colestah: A member of the Yakima Native American tribe, Colestah rode into the Battle of Four Lakes in 1858 with a stone club and fought beside her chieftain husband. When he was injured by being pinned by a fallen tree after a howitzer blast, the medicine woman, psychic and all around badass carried him out of the battle and nursed him back to health. Perfect for a girl who’ll do some clubbin’ in the future.
Names For Boys
Not all of the men of the old west were outlaws (only the super cool ones), but they sure loved making themselves a household name. Why not use some in your household?
Doc: This name works on several levels. It can either be an homage to Doc Holliday who was a famous gambler, gunslinger and dentist (?), or simply aspirational in terms of the kid’s future career. Either way, there is surely a reason to corral your partner into saying O.K.
Commodore: The storied Arizona sheriff Commodore Perry Owens took care of some very bad men in his first years as a lawman. He may not be as well know as some others, but his legend is worth reading. Also, “Commodore?” That was his actual first name.
Elfego: A rare Germanic name, meaning “spirit of the air,” it links to Elfego Baca, a lawman, lawyer and gunslinger. Elfego notably survived a 33 hour siege in San Francisco where he and his attackers exchanged 1,000 rounds. Like your bachelor party, basically.
Jedediah: This is the name for a survivor considering it hung on Jedediah Smith who was a trapper, and frontiersman who had a friend sew back on his scalp after a bear attack. So … Several nature preserves and a couple of rivers bear his name. Why not your equally amazing kid?