Herding cattle from horseback has been a tradition in northern Mexico and the American West since the Spanish colonial era. The first mounted herders were the Mexican vaqueros, expert horsemen who developed the skills to work cattle in the brush country and deserts of the Southwestern borderlands. From them, Texas cowboys learned the trade, evolving their own unique culture that spread across the Southwest and Great Plains. The buckaroos of the Great Basin west of the Rockies trace their origin to the vaqueros, with influence along the way from the cowboys, though they, too, have ways and customs distinctly their own. In this book, three long-time students of the American West describe the history, working practices, and folk culture of vaqueros, cowboys, and buckaroos. They draw on historical records, contemporary interviews, and numerous photographs to show what makes each group of mounted herders distinctive in terms of working methods, gear, dress, customs, and speech. They also highlight the many common traits of all three groups. This comparative look at vaqueros, cowboys, and buckaroos brings the mythical image of the American cowboy into focus and detail and honors the regional and national variations. It will be an essential resource for anyone who would know or portray the cowboy?readers, writers, songwriters, and actors among them.
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Young Phoebe is raised as a Southwestern belle, which made her a genteel gal who was also a great rider and roper. One day she enters the territory rodeo to compete against the ill-mannered Tumbleweed Gang and their reign as champions is over. Clifford, Elmo, and Eustace Tumbleweed decide to get rid of sissified Phoebe Clappsaddle once and for all. But Phoebe fouls their devilish plot and teaches the boys some manners, too. Then, for a time, the desert blooms in the territory again. This thirty-two-page hardback and jacketed book is beautifully illustrated with the colors of west Texas. Illustrator Virginia Marsh Roeder uses collage effects to depict patterns from the cowboy’s shirts to the diamonds on a rattlesake’s back. The thirty-one illustrations complement the amusing story with delicate teasing and bristly fun to delight kids and grownups alike. Readers will enjoy the details of desert animals and faces with western character, or characters with western faces, that is. Melanie Chrismer is a fifth-generation native Houstonian who lived her elementary years in New England. She is a former newspaper stringer, who worked in libraries, schools, and bookstores while developing her writing career. Melanie, her husband, daughter, son, and schnauzer live in northwest Houston. Virginia Marsh Roeder has been an advertising artist, graphic designer, and an illustration artist. She is a retired St. John’s School (Houston) art teacher. Both Ms. Chrismer and Ms. Roeder are members of the Society of Childrenis Book Writers and Illustrators.
From the bestselling author ofJewelandThe Difference Between Women and Mencomes a haunting novel of home, family, and the pursuit of lost dreams.Ancient Highwaybrilliantly weaves together the hopes and regrets of three characters from three generations as they reconcile who they are and who they might have been. In 1925, a fourteen-year-old boy leaves his family’s farm and hops a boxcar in a dusty Texas field, heading for Hollywood and a life in the “flickers.” In 1947, a ten-year-old girl aches for a real home with a real family in a wide-open space, far from the crowded Los Angeles streets where her handsome cowboy father chases stardom and her mother holds a secret. In 1980, a young man just out of the Navy visits his elderly yet colorful grandparents in Los Angeles, eager to uncover his family’s silent history. For the Holmeses, a longing for something elseanother place, a second chanceseems to run in the family DNA. From Earl’s journey west toward Hollywood glory, to his daughter Joan’s wish for a normal existence away from the bright lights, to his grandson Brad’s yearning for truth, this deep-rooted desire sustains them, no matter how much the goal eludes them. But ultimately, in each generation, a family crisis forces a turning away from the horizon and the acceptance of a reality that is by turns harsh and healing. Inspired by stories of his own family, Bret Lott beautifully renders the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary faith in a mesmerizing and finely wrought tale of love and letting go.
Dan Mesa knows men like him are a vanishing breed. Once upon a time, he was a rodeo cowboy. He served in Viet Nam and the first Gulf War. He believes a man should stand up for himself and what he believes in, which is why he’s good at teaching high school. In the classroom, Dan expects nothing less than respect, and he will not back down. Just like the time he ran across a bank robbery … In his Arizona hometown, Dan witnesses a ranger get shot in the shoulder by one of the robbers fleeing the scene and he immediately runs to the aid of the fallen officer. Who knew just a few steps could change a man’s life forever? The Arizona ranger deputizes Dan and tells him to prevent the criminals’ escape. Having been in combat before, Dan doesn’t hesitate, and thirty minutes later, he’s a true Wild West hero. Turning in his teaching boots, Dan becomes an official member of the Arizona Rangers, where he can expect action, adventure, and some serious danger. The days of Wyatt Earp may be over, but that doesn’t mean all the bad cowboys are gone. Dan is ready to track them down and face them, head-to-head. A teacher becomes a law man, and it only took a couple heroic steps to change the history of the Grand Canyon State forever.