Highly skilled, hard-working, and loyal to each other and to the ranches that employ them, the Mexican and Mexican American vaqueros who work on the famous King and Kenedy Ranches of South Texas' Wild Horse Desert are some of America's best cowboys. Many of them come from families who have lived and worked on the ranches for over a hundred years. They preserve the memories of ranch life handed down by their grandparents and great-grandparents, even as they use modern technologies to keep the ranches running smoothly in the twenty-first century.
This book tells the stories of the vaqueros of the Wild Horse Desert for fourth- through eighth-grade students. It begins with a brief history of the vaqueros and the King and Kenedy Ranches. Then, using in the words of today's vaqueros and their families, it describes many aspects of past and present life on the ranches. Young readers will learn what it's like to grow up on the ranches and how vaqueros learn their work. They'll also discover how much goes into being a vaquero, from using all the different ropes and equipment, to working a round-up, to showing prize-winning cattle and horses. Teachers and parents will appreciate all the supplemental material in the appendix, including a glossary, lists of related books and websites, hands-on learning activities, and even range and camp house recipes.