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Vaquero (2003)

Rogelio Agrasanchez

Sound | 2003

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  •  SHSU Professor Caroline Crimm-Castillo 
  •  Tio Kleberg of the King Ranch 
  •  Author Betty Colley 
  •  Author Jane Monday 
  •  Tio Kleberg 
  •  Olga Serna, vaquero widow 
  •  Jane Monday 
  •  Betty Colley 
  •  Jose Salazar, vaquero b. 1918 
  •  Paolino Silguero, vaquero c. 1921 
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This short documentary profiles the lives and traditions of the vaqueros, the Mexican-American cowboys who ranch cattle in South Texas. The film describes the history of the vaqueros from Mexico that gave Texas settlers the knowledge and tools to raise cattle in the region, then details life in the corrida - the work, the traditions, and the vaquero heritage that is passed down through generations. The Kenedy La Parra Ranch and the King Ranch are discussed by authors, professors, and King Ranch heir Tio Kleberg. Interviews with working vaqueros are also included.
Stephen J. "Tio" Kleberg is a former owner of the King Ranch, located in South Texas.  Born and raised on the property, he lived as a cowboy riding horseback, roping cattle, and working the land.  He took ownership of the ranch, one of the largest in the world, in 1977 at the age of 31.  The King Ranch had been run by a family member since its foundation in 1953 until the 1980s when it was decided to bring in others to lead the ranch.  Jack Hunt, a Harvard graduate, came in as president while Tio continued to run the farming and ranching divisions.  Kleberg’s directness and no-nonsense attitude created tension between the two, which eventually resulted in Hunt asking for Tio’s resignation after disagreeing on a potential replacement to head farming.  Tio did join the Board of Directors some time afterward but took a hands-off approach to managing the ranch he ran for so long.  He was the last family member to live on the ranch’s property.