Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The King Ranch
Before Phil’s mom, Joan,left us, we took her on a tour of the King Ranch.
The history of the King Ranch is fascinating. Richard King is the epitome of a self-made man.
The place that is now known as the King Ranch was formerly called the Wild Horse Desert. I love that name.
We first went into the visitor Center that had some interesting artifacts.
Then we boarded a small bus and went for an hour and a half tour of the ranch.
There were lots of cattle, of course, and horses.
The Brahmans, which were native to South Asia, were well adapted to thrive in South Texas' hot climate; they were crossed with the ranch's Beef Shorthorns to produce the ranch's own trademark stock — the Santa Gertrudis cattle, which were recognized as a breed in 1940. The Santa Gertrudis was the first American breed of beef cattle.
The King Ranch has produced one 1946 US Triple Crown winner Assault and a 1950 Kentucky Derby winner Middleground. The King Ranch also had the honor of raising the first quarter horse registered with the American Quarter Horse Association. The stallion's name was Wimpy P-1 and he was given registration number one.
We saw a wild turkey. As a matter of fact the King Ranch is also a game reserve.
Hunters can pursue deer, wild turkey, quail, javelina and wild hog on the ranch. The exotic, but elusive, nilgai is also a popular hunter's pursuit on the Norias Division. King Ranch acquired the ranch's first nilgai brood stock principally from the San Diego Zoological Garden in the late 1920s. Today, as a living testament to Caesar Kleberg's vision for game management, the nilgai, like all the other game on King Ranch, are flourishing. The nilgai has been a particular success, and King Ranch is now home to some 10,000 of these majestic animals.
The original King house burned in 1912 but Mrs. King built a beautiful new home to replace it.
Love this barbed wire.
What I imagine the Wild Horse Desert looked like years ago.
A bump gate.
A bump gate is a drive-through gate used in rural areas to provide a barrier to livestock that does not require the driver to exit the vehicle. Pretty clever!
A real cowboy!
These men are Kinenos, or King's men, descendants of the cowboys brought by Capt. Richard King to the King Ranch from the Mexican village of Cruillas.
Since then, their skills, traditions and customs have been passed on from generation to generation, creating a unique culture shared by about 300 families who live and work on the King Ranch.
We got out of the bus for a bit to talk to one of the cowboys,Lolo
Lolo Trevino was the cowboy chosen to break the famous King Ranch thoroughbred Assault, who won the Triple Crown in 1946.
``I was 10 years old when I broke him. I think they picked me because I didn't weigh much. He was a very easy horse to break. His name wasn't Assault then. It was Igual.''
Trevino said he didn't know Assault would be a winner.
The Running W remains a mystery
Some have said that it represents one of the ranch's many diamondback rattlesnakes or the Santa Gertrudis Creek, while others are sure it signifies the sweeping horns of a Texas Longhorn bull. The Running W could also be interpreted as a section of a continuing wave pattern – signifying the uniting of the past with the present and suggesting continuity into the future. Regardless of its meaning, the Running W brand is handsome and practical, designed to heal quickly, thwart rustlers, and grow with the animal that bears it.
A Peacock in front of the house
Books I’ve been reading