Local cowboys are event’s focus

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By The Staff

Pull on your boots on and head for the historic Plaza Hotel for the Cowboy Shindig on Sunday July 11.

The event will be at 2 p.m. Entertainment will be by Rod Taylor.

Mingle with the famous and not-so famous stars of the film. Grab a refreshment and get ready to watch on the big screen a flick featuring local cowboys and cowgirls and the ranches where they work.

Filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer spent two years researching and filming the story for Tierra Encantado. Las Vegas was originally a Mexican land grant. In the heyday of the Santa Fe Trail, it was the first town of any size for 600 miles east of Kansas. Branding, roping and horsemanship may have come from Spain and Mexico, but it was Texas longhorns making their way up the Goodnight Loving Trail that stocked the ranches here. Out of this mix of cultures, the New Mexico Cowboy evolved. This is the subject of the film, and the Historic Plaza Hotel is a fitting place to see it.  Built in 1882, it was the “Belle of the Southwest” and the place where the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association met.

Several ranches in the area are featured in the film. Included is the Bell Ranch, once so big it had its own zip code. Bert and Debbie Ancell live in what Bert calls the “West Wing of the White House,” while presiding over the ranch’s 300,000 acres.

Rod Taylor has a most fortunate position at Cimarron’s Philmont Ranch. It is required in the ranch’s deed that it must remain a cattle ranch and Rod just happens to be the livestock manager.

This vast landscape has few towns and Mosquero is one of them. On the high plains of northeastern New Mexico, it’s surrounded by some of the largest cattle ranches in existence. The film features the school kids who under the guidance of teacher Donna Hazen, are taking on the project of “painting the town” by creating murals reflecting the rich tradition of cattle ranching they know so well.

Cowboy Artist Gary Morton is from this area and once worked on the Bell Ranch. Now he has his own livestock company. The filmmakers caught up with him on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, where he leases land to run cattle. As Gary says, “the Apaches know how to take care of their land and they make good use of it.” Working his cattle here gives him plenty of inspiration for his paintings.

In this part of the country, you see a lot of different cowboy styles. Tierra Encantado captures the good-natured rivalry between the “dally ropers” (Buckaroo-style) and the “tie and hard fast boys” (Texas-style) — and the comical tribulations of a Nevada-raised cowboss running an outfit full of Texas-raised punchers.  To say one style is better than the other is futile — the argument has existed, as long as there have been cowboys but Alex Carone, a dally man and manager on the Singleton Ranches has been able to stick close to his buckaroo roots.

The San Cristobal Ranch (part of the Singleton Ranch holdings) is known for their finely bred horses. The ranch raises hundreds of horses for the Singleton ranch hands. Horses exhibiting potential for the show circuit are selected and put through their paces by trainer Terry Riddle. This has resulted in a win record.

Grant Mitchell, manager of the San Cristobal believes in teaching his kids right from the “get go” how to ride, hobble their horse and handle cattle. His sons, seven-year old Trey and 3-year old Sterlin, were both horseback by the time they were one. These kids help with daily ranch chores and learn early the value of hard work.

This documentary is sixth in the Vaquero Series. Filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer have followed the Vaquero Trail from Spain to Mexico, to the far corners of the West.  

Tierra Encantado is 96 minutes of family entertainment.  Beautifully underscored with the music of

New Mexico’s own Pedro Marquez, Rod Taylor, Jeff Nourse, Ken Moore, fiddler Bill Bailey and many other cowboy singers who have spent many long hours in the saddle. Filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer will introduce the film. DVDs will also be for sale. If you can’t make the showing, a DVD can be purchased at: www.Tapadero.com or at www.Amazon.com

DVDs will be for sale at the event.