Cow Whips: Florida and Beyond


Tan and White Cow Whip

When the average American thinks about a whip, he will probably think of the famed American bullwhip that has been popularized by Hollywood for decades.  According to author George H. Dacy, Florida has a rich cattle ranching heritage with roots that can be traced back over 450 years. The Spanish brought cattle (and probably some whips as well) to Florida long before there was an American “Wild West.”

If you were to conduct an informal survey of modern Florida cowmen, you would probably find that virtually all cattlemen employ a whip that is quite a bit different than the bullwhip made famous by Hollywood. It’s the Cow Whip that rules the ranches of the Sunshine State. 

Older cow whips were made from buckskin, normally plaited from the tanned hides of the whitetail deer that the cattlemen hunted for food. Since the 1970s, the material of choice for “Florida Crackers” and whipmakers alike has been nylon. Nylon was resistant to the, bugs, humid climate, and swampy conditions that a cowboy often contended with while working the herds. That being the case, this material grew in popularity and has made the buckskin cow whip a rare item indeed. How durable is nylon? Just a couple weeks ago I put a new tail in a whip that has been in use since nylon first came on the scene in the 1970s!

Though the Florida Cow Whip was not well known outside of Florida for many decades, the internet has now made it possible for whipmakers such as myself to export the Florida cow whip to nearly every continent. From Australia to the Arctic Circle, the powerful crack of the Florida cow whip has now been heard!

For information on purchasing one of these legendary whips, feel free to visit or email me at Rhettswhips at Yahoo dot com.

About Rhett

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