From Houston Public Media:
What happens on the Texas border with Mexico has a way of making the news these days. But sometimes, those who travel the roads from the Rio Grande Valley up to Houston are making the trip for symbolic reasons. Reasons of heritage and history, and these people make the trip on a horse.
I’m talking with 81-year-old Larry Ramirez when some of his friends pull into an abandoned parking lot off Highway 59, their wagons and horses moving a little slower than the cars flying by behind us.
“It’s a good ride, it’s a long ride,” Ramirez says. “A long, hard ride.”
He and his team are headed to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Ramirez founded this trail ride team, one of 13 teams converging on Houston from all over Texas. His group started their journey at the border.
A lifelong Houstonian, Ramirez drove big rigs for about two decades, but he wouldn’t call that his life’s work.
“I’ve done everything a man could possibly do,” he says.
Ramirez founded “Los Vaqueros Rio Grande” 45 years ago for one simple reason.
“Because there were no Hispanic rides when I started.”
“I approached the stock show and I said well, ‘how come there are no Hispanic rides coming in?’ And they said ‘well nobody has approached us,’ so I approached them and they granted me a permit.”
As to why he figured the ride should start from the border and travel the farthest distance of all the rodeo trail rides?
“Ah, it was just a wild idea” he says. “I just thought ‘why not start from Mexico?’”
Ramirez wanted this ride to honor his Hispanic heritage. He doesn’t know much about his grandparents or family further back, he says he was just too busy working most his life to investigate the family tree. So this is, in a way, his chance to explore that history.