Mount up for the King Ranch Annual Ranch Hand Breakfast
The King Ranch outside of Kingsville, Texas, is legendary.
I took a tour of the ranch, but they didn't let us off the bus except at the museum, housed in a former weaver's workshop. Still, I wanted to walk on the land of legends.
I had my opportunity a few months later at King Ranch's annual Ranch Hand Breakfast. When we got there, the line moved pretty quickly toward the $6 plate of eggs, refried beans, biscuits and gravy, sausage, and a tortilla.
After eating, my wife and I walked around to watch the action in the rodeo arena and to look at the displays. A band played cowboy songs and cowboys handed out samples from the back of chuck wagons.
Then, I saw Alberto "Lolo" Trevino in his blue work shirt, red bandana, and white leather chaps: the retired ranch hand who told stories about the ranch in the weaver's workshop.
In 1854, Richard King hired an entire Mexican village. They were called "Kineños" or King's men. Alberto was a fifth generation Kineño.
In 1946, a King Ranch horse named Assault became the only Texas-bred Triple Crown winner. At age 13, Alberto was first to ride the horse.
I asked Alberto where Assault was buried. He pointed to a stand of oak trees.
"What kind of horse was he?"
"He was a very fine horse," Alberto said softly. "He never got a big head from all the fame."
I walked over to the simple headstone. It was special to see the marker of a horse whose trainer, 64 years later, still thought had maintained its humility and dignity.
King Ranch's annual Ranch Hand Breakfast is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It's a family affair with no thrilling rides, but lots of excitement. For details, go to www.king-ranch.com.
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