top of page

Cowboy at heart chasing his dream

Roy Rogers. Zorro. John Wayne. Matt Dillon. These were the cowboy heroes who fueled young boys’ imaginations. “Growing up, I pretty much wanted to be a cowboy,” Dan Cochran of Morgan said. “But I was in high school before I finally got my first pair of cowboy boots. “Before too long, I had 10 pairs,” he said, grinning. Dan didn’t grow up in “cowboy” territory. He’s a native of Muncie, Indiana – a city just a county west of Ohio.  Beginning in the year 2000, however, Dan started on the trail of moving closer to the dream.  It began with a friend from his college days who said, “I think you should meet this lady in our church.” “This lady,” Diane, and Dan were married in August 2000 and have resided in Morgan – in the heart of Southwest Minnesota farm country (but not quite “cowboy” country) ever since. Following their marriage, Dan resumed his career in retail sales. “I worked in retail management sales in Indiana since the mid-1980s – primarily in electronics,” he explained.  A few years ago, however, jobs in retail sales became shaky and, eventually, Dan found himself without a regular paycheck. So with much prayer and many steps of faith, several decisions were made – one of which was Dan joining Diane as full-time day-care providers. As a day-care dad (or – as some will call the 55-year-old man – day-care grandpa) Dan finds himself to be a role model. “Not every kid has two parents living in their house anymore,” he said, adding that he is usually the only guy who shows up at the various training sessions required of day-care providers. It’s certainly a different life than Dan could have imagined back in his retail days. There is no 9-to-5 in daycare – but, just as farmers, ranchers and small business owners were able to do in days past – Dan, Diane and their son, Conner are working together. And just like farmers have the barn, ranchers have the corral and small business owners have the store, the Cochran’s property houses a shop from which part of the family’s income is generated. Their product is handmade leather goods. Their business “Logos Leathercraft” produces and repairs home décor items, clothing, purses and – most recently, western gear. Oh, yes.  There’s that cowboy dream. About four years ago, Dan finally realized that dream. He was introduced to Cowboy Action Shooting – right here in Southwestern Minnesota. “There are six to 10 scenarios set up and you spend all day shooting up a bunch of lead,” he explained, grinning. “You get to dress up like a cowboy. “We’re a bunch of big kids – most in their 60s and 70s. And most wouldn’t be caught dead in cowboy boots during the week,” Dan admitted. But, as with most historical period re-enactments – be it Civil War, Rendezvous, or Back-to-the-50s – the appropriate clothing just isn’t readily available at our local stores. So Dan turned to leatherworking – the craft he’s been honing since the mid-1990s. “I went into it with a lot a fear and trembling,” he said, “but with a little trial and error, I got the western leather gear right.” Who would have thought hand-made western gear would come from Morgan, Minnesota, via Muncie, Indiana? Certainly not Dan. After graduating from high school, Dan traveled to Minnesota’s Twin Cities where he spent four years in seminary. Then, in a round-about way, he ended up back in Indiana – where, Dan mentioned – the weather is much more moderate. “By 1995, my brother and I were both tired of the 60 hour per week jobs. We put our heads together; he landed on pottery and I got looking at leather.” Dan was employed by the Tandy Corporation; part of the company included Tandy Crafts. “The Tandy Leather Store started in 1919,” he said. “I came across it in Indianapolis and picked up a few tools there.” Ultimately, he landed a six-month long job at the Tandy Leather Store where he gained even more respect for the sustainability of leather goods. “People would come with a leather check book that their kid made 30 years ago. Wow,” he said. “What I was working with before was plastics.” From plastics in Indiana to leather in Minnesota, it’s been an interesting trip – with unexpected, but ultimately welcomed, twists and turns for Dan. “It’s becoming more of a treasure to me to be at home and be more part of Diane and Conner’s life,” Dan said. “I’m kind of glad the bottom fell out of the job world for me. “God has blessed me. I’ve had a lot of breaks.”

8 views0 comments


bottom of page