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The Cowboy Code: Q&A with Jim Owen



By Roger Ladd Contributor

In his 2004 book, Cowboy Ethics, Jim Owen made a case for a new approach to business ethics – one reminiscent of simple, timeless principles – the Cowboy Code.

Big Sky Weekly contributing writer Roger Ladd recently interviewed Owen at his seminar, “Standing Tall in an Upside Down World.” We found it particularly interesting because Outlaw Partners, the Weekly’s parent company, was founded with inspiration from Cowboy Ethics.


Big Sky Weekly: Outlaw Partners has incorporated the Code of the West into our mission statement. How do you feel about that?

Jim Owen: I never imagined the reaction to Cowboy Ethics. I am beyond delighted that it’s become a grassroots movement. The State of Wyoming has officially adopted the Code.

BSW: Why have your books and seminars inspired so many people?

JO: We have touched a deep core that America is on the wrong track. We’re getting confused between personal values and societal values. If we look at personal values, we can agree on principles like courage and honor.

BSW: What are our country’s biggest problems, as you see them?

JO: Our country’s ethical problems are much greater and more widespread than I ever imagined. In addition, politics are dividing our nation.

BSW: What message would you like to share?

JO: Everyone needs a code, a creed to live by. Having a code makes each of us a force for good, whether in the workplace at home, or in our community.

BSW: We will be sponsoring the Professional Bull Riders event again this summer in Big Sky. I noticed that you dedicated your new book, The Try- Reclaiming the American Dream, to bull rider Ty Murray. Why Ty?

JO: Ty is a co-founder of the PBR and is the king of the cowboys.

Visit to learn more about the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership. Visit to learn more about the upcoming Big Sky PBR, and to learn more about Outlaw Partners.

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