Celebration of the National Day of the American Cowboy would not be complete without special activities at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Museum joins venues across the country in hosting a special event to honor the iconic American Cowboy on July 28, 2012 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Special to this year is the focus on the Hawaiian cowboy with the opening of a new exhibit titled “Hawaiian Cowboys” located in the American Cowboy Gallery.

“Here at the National Cowboy Museum we are proud to present the only permanent interpretive exhibition on the paniolo outside of the Hawaiian Islands,” said Don Reeves, McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture. “The colorful and important heritage of the paniolo truly deserves to take its place alongside that of vaqueros, drovers, cowpunchers and buckaroos—the legendary cavalcade of American cattlemen known around the world simply as ‘cowboys.’”

In addition to the cowboy culture and Western art in the Museum’s galleries and gardens, visitors can expect extra entertainment throughout the day. Music entertainers will be cowboy singer/songwriter and past Western Heritage Award winner for Outstanding New Artist Gary S. Pratt and Picket Wire of Davis, OK, along with Western music artists Jim Garling from Guthrie, Okla., and the A Bar Bunkhouse Band from northeastern Oklahoma. Additionally, three screenings of James Garner’s Disney film “The Castaway Cowboy” will be aired at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m.

Starting at 10 a.m. is the introduction of the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant contestants, followed at 1:30 p.m. by the announcement of the newly crowned royalty. Twenty young ladies are vying for titles in four age divisions ranging from age 4-24. The 2011 and 2012 pageant titleholders will sign autographs from 2 to 3 p.m.

Additionally with each Museum admission receipt, children can participate in The Passport to the West and receive chance to win a gift package from The Museum Store. The passport guides participants through the Museum with activities and educational questions.

On the plaza, the Oklahoma State University Rodeo Team will be on hand to demonstrate roping along with children’s story time at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. While supplies last, children have the opportunity to make foam leis and watch hula dancers perform at 11:30 a.m. Oklahoma County Mounted Sheriff’s Patrol will be a part of the activities again this year to greet guests as they enter the gates of the Museum.

American Cowboy magazine launched the campaign for this national day of recognition in 2004. In addition, the U.S. Senate has declared July 23, 2011 as National Day of the American Cowboy. Several permanent galleries at the Museum focus on cowboys including, the American Cowboy Gallery, the Western Performers Gallery and the American Rodeo Gallery.

The National Cowboy Museum, America's Premier Western Heritage Museum, is supported through memberships and private and corporate donations. Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy Museum is located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District at the junction of I-44 and I-35. For more information about the Museum or for a calendar of events, visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org or call (405) 478-2250.