Before the broncs and steers and the snappy comebacks from the rodeo clowns could begin, a ceremony was held inducting four men into the South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and naming this year’s Atascosa County Working Cowboy of the Year. For the past 47 years, cowboys have been honored, and this year was no different.
Mike Shearrer was named as 2012 Atascosa County Working Cowboy of the Year.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame were: Johnny Escalante (posthumously), Ysidro Regalado Jr., Jose Angel “Shorty” Calvillo and Wendell Munson.
To be among these heralded men, these cowboys should have the following qualities:
• Be an experienced cowboy;
• Have overall knowledge and ability with a horse;
• Have the ability in working with the trailing cattle herds of various sizes in the brush country;
• Have knowledge of cattle habits and ailments;
• Why they are worthy of the Cowboy of the Year title or to be inducted into the South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
The Working Cowboy of the Year must still live in Atascosa County.
The South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees should have formerly ranched in Atascosa County.
Each year a committee of former Cowboys of the Year help select the winners. The Pleasanton Express acted as roundup headquarters and Joel McDaniel, Cowboy of the Year in 1990, served as the chairman.
The nomination letters, which were full of such heart and history and read at the ceremony, are worth repeating.
Mike Shearrer Working Cowboy of the Year
When a man can say he looks forward to going to work each day it says a lot. Sometimes a person does not choose a career _ it chooses you. Being a true cowboy in this day and age is thought to have become a dying breed but there are still a few true cowboys out there and they are making their mark on the world. Many images come to mind when the word cowboy is spoken. Hard working, honest, trustworthy and respected are just a few.
Our Cowboy of the Year fits the description perfectly. The early exposure to ranching was a solid foundation laid down by his father. He has been riding horses from the time he could crawl in the saddle and has enjoyed riding all his life and is fortunate that it is part of his work. His love and respect for animals shows in the handling and care that is taken when he works with the horses, as well as the cattle. As any good cowboy knows, the better you take care of your stock, the better they can take care of you.
Our cowboy “worked and rode” along the side of his father learning how to tend stock until 1985 when he lost his battle with cancer. At the young age of 24, our cowboy, chose to continue his father’s legacy and took over the feedlot and ranching operation. Building on prior experience, he became a “vet without papers,” diagnosing and treating common cattle ailments and using preventative measures to avoid disease. Riding through the pens in the feedyard or through the pastures at the ranch on horseback is crucial in keeping a close eye on the health of the cattle and is an everyday occurrence. The sturdy business decisions he has made aided in the growth of the operation over the last 27 years and now many of the calves that go into the feedlot are from the family ranch. Furthermore, the horses that are used are raised on the farm and he has a hand in breeding and training them.
Education is the key to the agriculture industry and involvement in the support organizations is critical to success. Mike is a strong advocate to agriculture as evidenced by his assistance to the FFA and 4H programs throughout the years. He not only donates to the exhibitor’s projects at the Atascosa County Livestock Show Auction, but also provides job opportunities for students to gain valuable, hands on experience in the industry. He has been recognized for his dedication to agriculture in the past by being awarded the Lone Star Farmer Degree and the American Farmer Degree through the FFA Organization. In addition, in 1991, the Honorary Chapter FFA Degree was bestowed upon him for his continued support of the local FFA program. In recent years, he has served as a member of the Pleasanton Young Farmers’ Chapter and is a past president serving as a member of the Cowboy Homecoming Association and was chairman of the rodeo. As a member of the Young Farmers organization, he was honored as the State recipient of the Farm and Ranch Manager Award.
With great respect, I nominate Mike Shearrer for 2012 Cowboy of the Year.This modern day cowboy has the true spirit of the profession combining the traditions of his ancestors with the knowledge of today’s technology to continue the cowboy way of life.
Mike’s father…Kenneth “Buddy” Shearrer was inducted into the South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1991.
Mike was nominated by Darryl Ashley.
Jose Angel “Shorty” Calvillo South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
Our third inductee into the Hall of fame is 75 years old and is still a true cowboy to me; he worked days and nights all over south Texas to provide for our family. A lot of times I never saw him for days. His work required him to be away in the rough brush country of South Texas, when he did return he was beat and Mom spent some time pulling cactus thorn. He has at least 65 years of experience and to this day still speaks of the stories of cattle and men who he worked with. The older gentlemen already in the Hall of Fame know my father and worked with him. For he speaks of them still today, even the ones who are no longer with us. He is a proud man, but a true John Wayne of this era, we have very few left.
A Cowboy knows his horse like the back of his hand. He’s his partner. My dad still today helps those youngsters who think they know. He is a natural with horses and dearly loves the cattle that helped him provide for his family.
Where did he not go. Pulling his single horse trailer proud as can be to work cattle. You name it he was there and looking for work and was immediately hired. Big group was the Bob Hindes and the Rutherford group.
My dad can spot on a problem by just looking at a momma cow or calf, I was always amazed and not sure how he did it. He didn’t need a Vet; he saved a lot of ranchers vet bills and visits due to his ability. No one better. We’d receive calls from ranchers to come by their place at all hours of the day or evening to go check out a momma in delivery or having problems.
A Cowboy is true to his work and has problems sleeping at night when things were not good. Many times my Mom would get mad with my Dad for caring so much for the cattle or horses he was dedicated to provide for. Even though he may not be responsible for the cattle. We’d be driving along some county road and he’d see a problem, we immediately went looking for the owner. My dad never finished school in Charlotte, but he has me looking for phone numbers to call or pay visits to people who may know the owners. A very strong and never ending passion I would say.
Why I believe my dad is a worthy candidate is because he’s 75 years old. We’ve missed out on a very dedicated Cowboy who now dwindles down to the next stage in his life. Still sharing his stories with his grandkids and those who wish to listen, he never gets tired of repeating them, or maybe he doesn’t know he’s repeating them. A horse was a Cowboy tool of the trade. A cowboy loved his horse and when he’d lose him he’d hurt for a long time; because of the hard work and dedication it took to have a horse who would become your second half of the man. To replace him was so hard. Why, because they became friends and knew each other’s weaknesses and strong points. My dad supported four on .75 cents a day and it was HARD WORK. He broke his own horse. No Gatorade, ice chests, fancy diesel trucks to rest in and most of all the scars and the rough exterior from the hard sun from the hard long hours.
We, the Calvillo family from Charlotte, Jourdanton and all the way from Hopewell Junction, New York, would in very many respects, honorably, and wishfully nominate our Husband, Father and Grandfather of five beautiful grandkids. Plus, I can plan on visiting South Texas when he receives his award. My Dad and I are both the same, Cowboys with the Love of our family, but the Love for our Work always.
God Bless the American Cowboy and the Families who have supported them throughout the years. Words and expressing ourselves has never been too high of a trait for the Cowboy, but ask us to work on a ranch with cattle and we’re there. Please let me know when you have made a decision I can’t wait to visit my home and be proud of the man who made me who I am today.
Our inductee began ranching at about the age of twelve. He started when his father worked a ranch owned by the Weatherston’s, in Pleasanton. He worked this ranch for many years, with his father. Then he began working a ranch outside of Jourdanton owned by Bueno y Sano and then began taking care of a ranch owned by the late Laura Ormand.
He was born and raised in Pleasanton. He graduated from Pleasanton High School, and earned many awards in FFA and steer shows. Immediately upon completion he was sent into the Vietnam War, where he earned many honors. He was awarded an honorable discharge for being wounded in action, which caused many of his disabilities. When he returned back to the States, he continued his favorite hobbies. He married and soon later had a son. Some years later while ranching, our inductee got his arm caught in a baling machine. He lost his left arm and was given a prosthetic device to use; most knew him by his hook. Now you would think that he had suffered enough, but that didn’t stop him. He adjusted and continued with his daily ranching and horse breaking activities.
He had worked on ranches most all his life. He had always had an interest in rodeos. He was very involved in the Charro Association, where he rode and performed many stunts in their competitions. His day would begin at 7:00 a.m. and usually didn’t end until sundown. He was very good with a rope and whip. He has worked cattle for many years, has bred many cows and helped pull calves out that were in trouble.
His big interest was horses. He bred paint horses and broke them in. He has sold and helped many other horse lovers gain beautiful horses. His ranching abilities were just like every other rancher. He mended fences, fixed water troughs, opened gates while on a horse, branded cattle and rode through the brush. His experience in ranching is far more than most could imagine. In the heat of the day he would burn pear for hours so the cattle would be able to eat. He fertilized fields to provide good nutrition to the cattle. So what makes him any different from any other cowboy, well he did all of the above with one arm. He has lived a rough life with many complications, and it still didn’t bring his spirit down. In my eyes there is no other true Texas cowboy and I hope you can see that too.
Johnny Escalante passed away on April 30, 2004.
This was from a previous nomination received by his niece Jeannette Briones.
Wendell Munson South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
This year’s Hall of Fame inductee has been involved in the cattle business virtually all of his life. Born into a ranching family, he began to knock out his father’s, his brother’s, and his grandfather’s tracks from a very early age. He was on horse back nearly before he could walk, and he followed, listened, and tried to absorb as much as he could about cattle and horses. Even though his parents insisted on an education, this year’s honoree could hardly wait for summer and the ranch and the horses and the cattle--and cattle working.
When he was twelve, his father sold the ranch and purchased another--but without much fencing--so the twelve year old boy joined his family members and others in herding cattle on horse back until fences could be built. He has often said that was a wonderful experience for him because it taught him so much about the cattle’s temperaments and their habits and how to handle them and how not to handle them. He learned to think like the cattle, and this is something he has carried with him since that time.
After finishing school he went to college and rodeoed for a period of time. He supported himself in college by working cattle for several different ranchers.
School was okay, but the love of horses and cattle kept drawing him away from his studies and into the pasture. He became a brand inspector with Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, so this job afforded him the opportunity to deal with horses and cattle. He was the cattle inspector at Union Stockyards in San Antonio and also inspected cattle at Atascosa Livestock Auction. He still worked cattle for several ranchers and started buying some cattle for himself.
Later, our inductee decided to go back to school- -this time in Uvalde, but, with money being tight, he knew he had to do whatever he could to pay the bills. He approached an area rancher by the name of Clyde Watkins and asked for work. Mr. Watkins put him to work on a daily basis and taught him even more about the cattle business--more about cattle working plus what to look for when buying and selling cattle. He was horse back checking, gathering, doctoring, and shipping cattle. Soon, the inductee was order buying for Mr. Watkins, delivering cattle to him, and working cattle in the pastures and in the pens.
Another influential cattle person in this year’s honoree’s life was Paul Lockhart of Poteet, who was a cowboy deluxe. These two men worked, roped, and penned maverick cattle all over South Texas. There are not many ranches in this area where they have not worked. They “popped” a lot of brush together.
Eventually, with knowledge garnered from Clyde Watkins and another rancher, Billy Mitchell, this year’s inductee started order buying for others and buying and ranching for himself. Even though a great deal of his time was spent at cattle sales, he also continued to work cattle--but mostly for himself. In 1988 he and his wife bought some land outside Pleasanton and moved the cattle company to that location. He continued his order buying business as well as raising replacement cattle and feeding cattle in feed lots in the Panhandle and in South Texas. He runs cattle on leased country as well as at the home place, so he is still very active in the cattle business.
Through the years he has tried to help other young men who are interested in the cattle business, just as he was helped as a young man by others who also loved the cattle industry. A favorite expression of his is, “The cattle business isn’t easy. It isn’t glamorous. It’s hard work, but it is fulfilling--and the only life I would ever want to live.”
Submitted by : Joel Mc- Danie
South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
As I think about my father, I think of a man that I never really knew while growing up. He got up at 4 a.m. and returned home at 11 p.m. at night seven days a week.
Ysidro Regalado was born on June 25, 1928 in Christine, Texas. He was fascinated with ranching and began working for the 7PL when he was nine years old. The ranch is now known as the 74 Ranch in Campbellton, Texas. By the age of 12 he had already trained his first horse for the pay of ten dollars.
He worked in Campbellton until 1971 where he resigned with the position of foreman. One of his duties was to work cattle on horse back in the open range. He learned this at a very early age where older ranchers would worry about him and let him sleep between them because they were afraid he would get snake bit during the night.
Daddy witnessed good times and bad, from droughts to epidemics.
He knew what vaccines they needed, what medicines were needed when the animal was sick and would dehorn cattle and hunt for game.
When he left the 74 Ranch he continued his ranching duties on a part-time basis. After work he trained horses, up to the age of 66.
He has repaired saddles at his home, traveled to nearby ranches, farms and homes to shoe horses, mules, minor doctoring and dehorning cattle. Many would call him at all hours of the night to ask if he can would come care for their animals before calling a vet. He knew what vaccines they needed, what medicines were needed when the animal was sick and would dehorn cattle and hunt for game.
Daddy’s knowledge and abilities go beyond cattle and horses. I have seen him care for dogs, cats, goats, pigs and chickens, as well as be able to shoot and process game for food.
Many who know my dad say that I am very lucky to have a father with such ability. He always made the skill of ranching look so easy.
When I was young I thought my father was the greatest man in the world as most sons and daughters do. He would take me sometimes to work the horses. There wasn’t a horse or cow in my eyes that didn’t fear him. Now years later, it makes me feel proud, and a little sad, knowing he is one of the last original cowboys.
My own sons remind me of that special loyalty and dedication my father has to being a cowboy as we drive by the working cowboys statue in downtown Pleasanton. They scream and holler, Mom! Mom! “That’s Grandpa! That’s Grandpa”. To me and my family that statue does represent all the long days and nights my father worked faithfully as a cowboy.
As I see my dad it brings tears in my eyes knowing the hard work my father has done for his family, at being the best cowboy he could be. He is getting older now and it is very hard for me to see the scars, aches and pains of the past catching up with him.
As former Cowboys of the Year, several of you know I am speaking the truth. I look at my father every year around this time as he awaits the next name who will represent our town and in the back of my mind hoping he will one day be a part of such a dedicated group.
Daddy put a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes to wear, and paid for college tuition with the knowledge and skill of a cowboy. I would like to thank him in a special way by nominating and asking the committee to consider my father
Submitted by his daughter
Aurora Rosa “Rosie” Gonzalez