Cowboys, Rednecks, Goat Ropers & Shitkickers

We bought a new boat this past week and for some reason the song “Redneck Yacht Club” by Craig Morgan keeps coming to mind 🙂 Well it got me to thinking about the term “redneck”.  I’ve heard it a lot growing up, especially in regards to my sister and her friends. So I thought I’d share with you the definition according to Wikipedia.

Redneck is a historically derogatory slang term used in reference to poor white farmers in the Southern United States. It is similar in meaning to cracker (especially regarding Georgia and Alabama), hillbilly (especially regarding Appalachia and the Ozarks), and white trash.

In recent decades, the term expanded its meaning to mean bigoted, loutish, and opposed to modern ways, and has often been used to attack Southern conservatives and racists. At the same time, some Southern whites have reclaimed the word, using it with pride and defiance as a self-identifier.

I agree with that definition for the most part. However, not all rednecks are bigoted, loutish or bass-ackward. In fact most of the rednecks I know are generally nice simple people.

There is another term I heard an awful lot growing up but haven’t heard it in recent years.  The term is goatroper.  I had a much harder time finding the definition as I heard it used.  There are several things on the web saying it is basically a “urban cowboy”  But that was not how I heard the term used. When it was used in my youth it was basically another word for “redneck.”

After a lot of searching, I did find this definition:

goat-roper n by 1960s A rustic; hick; = SHITKICKER [A farmer or other rural person]. (From _Dictionary of American Slang, Third Edition_ (1995) by Robert L. Chapman.)

So in my opinion Goat roper is one of those terms that has a couple of different meaning depending on the person using it and how it’s used.  But that definition brings up another very cool term. “Shitkicker”

From A shitkicker is:  Slang: Vulgar unsophisticated farmer, cowboy, or other rural person; country person. 2.a performer or fan of country-and-western music. 3.a heavy boot.

What other terms for a “cowboy” or “redneck” can you think of?

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7 Responses to Cowboys, Rednecks, Goat Ropers & Shitkickers

  1. Randi Alexander says:

    LOL – great vocabulary lesson, J.L.! My dad used to say, “Turn the radio off that hayseed station.” I’ve also heard the term used to describe country folk. According to the dictionary, it’s not deragatory, just means someone from a rural area.

  2. Marie Tuhart says:

    Great post, JL. I’ve heard redneck but not the other terms.

  3. Stacy Wilson says:

    I have never heard the term goat roper, but the rest, HELL YEAH! I have proudly stated for years that I am a Northern Redneck. Up there, (New England) it means, at least as far as my friends and I were concerned, someone who did not have money in the bank, did not put on airs, worked hard, usually in dirty areas, loved cars, loved working on cars, and did not give a rats ass is you liked us or not. We were happy as we were. Now that I live in Georgia, I have dropped the Northern part of the description. I’m not bigoted, I’m not rich, I’m not white trash. What I am is: proud to be of sturdy working folk who know how to work hard for what we have and will give you the shirt off our backs if you need it. That, to me, is the real definition of what redneck is.

    Stacy Wilson

    dragn_lady at yahoo dot com

  4. Kimmy says:

    Great Post! Growing up here in CO a “Shitkicker” is a pair of boots. (usually your boots that really had shit on them, that you had better take off in the garage or mom would woop your butt). My wonderful husband who was raised in Northern California told me one time that when I cleaned up I made a cute Goat Roper. ( We were suposed to go on a date. I told him that I had roped alot of things as a kid but never a goat because we didn’t have them, and shut the door in his face.) A Redneck is kinda like Barbra Mandrell’s song “I was country when country wasn’t cool” it seems everyone is a “Redneck” now. Gretchen Wilson’s song I think brought light to a part of the population that had been over looked. Redneck means that you work hard to take care of whats yours. You don’t take hand-outs, you give a hand-up. The one word I hated growing up was “Hick”. When my parents divorced we moved to a small coal minning town with my mom and I was called that little “hick” girl. It used to drive me crazy!

  5. Nancy S says:

    Amen Kimmy, the boots worn in the barn were left on the porch “or else”. I remember my brother being hosed off outside before he was allowed in the house a time or two. I was a bit of a priss and remember holding my nose because of stinky boots. Redneck does also mean literally that, the part of a farmer’s neck not covered by his collar nor shaded by his hat would be a strip of red after many days following the plow. You could spot the farmers in church by that strip of red, townsmen were pasty white. One thing that would identify a hick or hillbilly was the presence of a Maytag wringer washer on the front porch along with a hound dog or three.

  6. mathlady68 says:

    I didn’t know that’s what a shitkicker was! I thought of hick or hillbilly. I love word play.

  7. Pingback: Same stuff, new day. « My Loopy World

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