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Fort Worth, Texas finally honors its Mexican cowboy history

LatinaLista — Fort Worth, Texas has long been famous for its ties to the Old West.

Fort Worth went from a sleepy outpost to a bustling town when it became a stop along the legendary Chisholm Trail, the dusty path where millions of cattle were driven North to market. Fort Worth became the center of the cattle drives, and later, the ranching industry. Its location on the Old Chisholm Trail, helped establish Fort Worth as a trading and cattle center and earned it the nickname “Cowtown.”

Fort Worth’s newest piece of public art pictures the Mexican cowboy, known as a vaquero, astride his horse in historically correct attire.

The town has also always been home to a thriving Hispanic community. Today, more than 30 percent of its population is Latino.
Among the cowboys and Latinos who have called Fort Worth home over the last century have been Mexican cowboys known as vaqueros. In fact, it’s said that many vaqueros taught the white cowboys the trade.
Now, finally the vaqueros are getting the recognition they deserve. The city has approved the first public art sculpture in the city to honor Latino — the vaquero.
The sculpture — a 10-foot tall bronzed sculpture of a vaquero on horseback — has been 20 years in the making. But come this year, Fort Worth’s salute to its vaquero history becomes a reality.

“This is a first for Fort Worth,” said Justice of the Peace Manuel T. Valdez, who served as head of the statue committee. “It’s a major piece that is important to Fort Worth, especially to the Hispanic community and to the city’s history. [Hispanics] don’t have anything; it’s like we don’t exist. Maybe with a statue like this, the Hispanic community that was so important to the development of Fort Worth will say, ‘Hey, we are recognized.’ ”

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  • Texano78704
    January 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    What a great tribute to a part of Texas history that often is overlooked. The King Ranch would never be where it is today without its Kiñeno vaqueros.
    And just to add a bit… the vaqueros taught both the “white cowboys” and the post Civil War freed slaves that traveled out west.

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