Ashley receives Cowboy of the Year honor



Derek Ashley, with certificate, was named the 2018 Cowboy of the Year at the Pleasanton Young Farmers’ Rodeo. Left to right are Jackie Brown and Dana Briones, Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce (sponsors of the custom buckle), Darryl Ashley, 1994 Cowboy of the Year and Cowboy Selection Chair, Gus Wheeler, Atascosa Livestock Exchange and saddle sponsor. Princess Megan Huizar, Queen Aubrey Guerra, Queen Amber Guerra, Princess Bailey Lopez and Princess Bobbie Rice of the Cowboy Homecoming court assisted with the ceremony. Derek’s nephew and niece Dunn and Ella Evans were excited that their uncle won. They are the children of Megan Ashley Evans and Cole Evans. Derek also received a handmade halter and rawhide slide from Roy Alonzo (2013 Cowboy of the Year) and a Cinch vest donated by Patty and Ricky Jo Lee, monogrammed by TNT Graphics. TOM FIRME | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Derek Ashley, with certificate, was named the 2018 Cowboy of the Year at the Pleasanton Young Farmers’ Rodeo. Left to right are Jackie Brown and Dana Briones, Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce (sponsors of the custom buckle), Darryl Ashley, 1994 Cowboy of the Year and Cowboy Selection Chair, Gus Wheeler, Atascosa Livestock Exchange and saddle sponsor. Princess Megan Huizar, Queen Aubrey Guerra, Queen Amber Guerra, Princess Bailey Lopez and Princess Bobbie Rice of the Cowboy Homecoming court assisted with the ceremony. Derek’s nephew and niece Dunn and Ella Evans were excited that their uncle won. They are the children of Megan Ashley Evans and Cole Evans. Derek also received a handmade halter and rawhide slide from Roy Alonzo (2013 Cowboy of the Year) and a Cinch vest donated by Patty and Ricky Jo Lee, monogrammed by TNT Graphics. TOM FIRME | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Derek Ashley followed his father, Darryl, in joining the long list of prestigious cattlemen when he was named the 2018 Working Cowboy of the Year on Aug. 17 before the start of the rodeo.

“It’s just an honor to be in it and follow in his footsteps,” Derek Ashley said. “There are a lot better cowboys to be in it than me, but it’s an honor.”

Ashley, who received the award 24 years after his father, works on his family’s ranch with his father, managing the herd, land and the workers on the ranch. He has worked on the ranch since he was a young boy.

In nominating Ashley, Cuatro Hines stated, “He has had years of experience learning from his father and grandfather about the ways a cattle operation is run. Early on, when his mother [Lucy] started working in town, he was his dad’s buddy riding along checking the livestock. … The dedication of this young man is shown through the stock he handles. Not only cattle, but his love of cow dogs and horses hold a special place in his life.”

Darryl Ashley (center) fixes the neckerchief slide on his son, Derek (right), as he was named the Working Cowboy of the Year. TOM FIRME | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Darryl Ashley (center) fixes the neckerchief slide on his son, Derek (right), as he was named the Working Cowboy of the Year. TOM FIRME | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Ashley, a 2012 graduate of Texas A&M with a bachelors degree in animal science, said that ranching is in his blood since his family has had the ranch registered since 1873.

Ashley said that being a cowboy is more compli- cated in the 21st century.

“It’s a lot of the same work, but it’s different equipment and it’s harder to make a living,” he said. “It’s some of the same challenges. You’re fighting drought. But you’re going into a global market. Other countries produce it cheaper. I don’t know if they produce it better.”

Before Ashley was recognized for the award, Ernie Bandy was sitting in the stands as a family member during the recognition of Avant Burmeister Coward, a 2017 South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee, and turned to say of Derek Ashley, “That’s one hell of a cowboy.”

Bandy recalled one day last year when Derek and Darryl came to help him lock down an 1,800-pound bull, which Bandy called “The Bull from Hell.” He terrorized the cowboys for hours bulldozing through fences and dodging capture by escaping through thick brush.

Bandy said the “Bull from Hell” story is just a regular part of a working cowboy’s life.

Bandy said Derek and Darryl Ashley are the very definition of working cowboy. He said there are no two finer men.

“They are as good as men get, then you take it up a notch and that is Darryl and Derek,” Bandy said.

He added that no one really knows what a working cowboy does. While everyone knows cowboying is hard, few, he said, realize the dangers. To Bandy, Derek and Darryl Ashley bring to mind his favorite John Wayne quote, “Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.”

Please take time to look through this entire issue to read about the 53rd Pleasanton Young Farmers Rodeo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *