El Paso's iconic "first cowboy" passes away

Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:24pm

El Paso's cowboy as some like to call him, the iconic Bowen rancher, has passed away.
Jimmy Bowen has lived in El Paso since he was 7 years old and since then he's built a cattle ranch, a restaurant, and most importantly, a family that will keep his memory alive.

"He still had spurs on even though he hadn't been on a horse in 10 years.That was just him you know and he looked the part, he had the cowboy hat and the beard. I mean he looked like a rugged cowboy all the way to the end," said Bowen's son Rick.

Rick Bowen remembers his dad Jimmy fondly; the man famous for his cowboy style and no bull attitude.

"He always told you what he felt like, you may not like it but and I think that's why a lot of people loved him," said Bowen.

Jimmy Bowen opened this restaurant with his beloved wife “Bucky” 15 years ago called The Edge of Texas. As its name describes, it gets its claim to fame for sitting on the state line right next to his famous cattle ranch. The restaurant is a destination for people from all over New Mexico and Texas.

Wearing a necklace that Bucky gave her, restaurant manager Joan Ruan, recalls the larger than life couple.

"They'd spin around the dance floor, 2 or 3 hours they'd be in the restaurant and she'd come out and visit with the guests. Then he'd visit with the guests in the bar. It was just a real tribute to the old cowboy ways," said Ruan.

They were always lending a hand to anyone that needed it.

"If a guest would run out of gas, or something like that, he'd make sure they got taken care of and sent on their way safely." said Ruan.

Even though Bowen has passed, everyone still feels his presence.

"That was his chair, even some of our regular guests knew that you don't sit in that chair, that's Mr. Bowens spot," said Ruan as she points to the lone wooden chair where a cowboy is placed.

"He created himself, he created his own image. He created the things he loved, the ranch, the restaurant, all of the stuff that he was a part of. He would want to be remembered as someone who was a self creator, someone that could do it on his own," said Bowen.

Jimmy Bowen passed away of natural causes. He was 79 and just two months shy of 80 years old. He is survived by his children and grandchildren.

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