The land-grant university and the cowboy church are two social institutions designed to engage communities. Research is abundant on the former and limited on the latter. The purpose of this study was to provide a descriptive report on cowboy churches, while identifying the potential for university-cowboy church collaborations and examining the direct implications to Cooperative Extension.
Rogers' Diffusions of Innovations conceptualized this study and was employed to evaluate the acceptability of university-cowboy church collaborations. This basic qualitative study utilized a purposive snowball technique to identify key informants of the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches (AFCC). Ten subjects participated in semi-structured, face-to-face and phone interviews. Data were analyzed for common themes and patterns within the context of each of this study's objectives. Findings described cowboy churches affiliated with the AFCC, the interpersonal and mass media communication channels used by these churches, and subject awareness of Cooperative Extension. Conclusions and implications suggest university-cowboy church collaborations are an acceptable innovation, especially in the context of Extension collaborations. There are relative advantages for such collaborations, shared compatibility through each institution's mission, and ample opportunities for trialibility. County agents should initiate contact with cowboy church pastors and collaborations should be initiated regarding in information exchange, horses, livestock shows, and youth.