Ryan Bell is a writer and photographer specialized in cowboy culture, backcountry adventure, and international travel. Born in New Mexico and raised in Colorado, he is a product of the American West. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado, and an M.F.A. in Nonfiction from The University of Montana, where he now teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor.
In 2015, Bell was named a Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow. He spent nine months traveling through Russia and Kazakhstan, doing follow up research to his award-winning article series “Comrade Cowboy.” The journey took him across the Eurasian steppes, birthplace of pastoralism 5,000 years ago. The multimedia project, published on NationalGeographic.com, won a Gold Award for Special Packages/Projects at the 2016 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
Bell’s work has won a total of four Lowell Thomas Awards, a FOLIO award, and multiple Equine Media Awards. In addition to food and agriculture, Bell writes about science and the environment for National Geographic, and is Editor at Large for Western Horseman, a cowboy lifestyle magazine. One of Bell’s earliest memories was of his cowboy grandfather reading the magazine. When his first story published, his grandmother gave him his grandfather’s cowboy hat. But the hat didn’t fit, which is true to the cowboy way of life, where a horseman must blaze his own trail. Elsewhere, his work has appeared in Outside, Men’s Journal, Town & Country Travel, Bloomberg, and EQUUS, among others.
Bell has written on a wide range of topics, including:
- Horse cloning in Texas
- The end of community pastures in Canada
- Nomads and monster trout in Mongolia
- The frontier life of Argentina’s gauchos
- American cowboys working in Russia
Anyone wanting to follow along can find him on: