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Youth learn the cowboy way in Cuero (video)

By Sonny Long
Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:08 a.m.
Updated Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:09 a.m.

Sam Crockett, 12, who says Davy Crockett is his 18th generation cousin, practices calf roping at Cowboy Camp in Cuero.

A Boy's Journey As A Real Cowboy

An excerpt from the essay by Austin Chavez about why he wanted to attend the second annual Cowboy Camp at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum in Cuero:

"Once upon a time there lived a young boy by the name of Austin. Austin was a good-hearted young man that loved to help the community. His dream was working cattle, building fences and planting crops. But his main interest was his desire to be a real cowboy...so he sat down and started to pray. He told God that he really did not know how to be a real cowboy and needed some help ..."

CUERO -- For 11-year-old Austin Chavez, wanting to attend Cowboy Camp was a no-brainer.

"I enjoy the cowboy way," said Austin, who helps his grandfather Obert Sagebiel in Meyersville around the ranch from time to time.

"I liked the roping the most. I liked the knot tying and leather making, too," he said.

Austin and about two dozen other 8- to 12-year-olds are taking part this week in the second annual Cowboy Camp, hosted by the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum.

The camp's mission to teach students about the history and importance of the cattle industry in the area is enhanced with guest presenters who also teach students cowboy skills.

"We wanted to have some activities for the community, especially the children," said camp coordinator Candy Glidden. "We want the children to know what happened, right here where they live."

Beverly Hadley, the museum's executive director, agreed.

"This Cowboy Camp is a great example of what we intend to do once the museum is open," Hadley said. "Taking things from actual exhibits and transfer them to an educational setting. One of our goals is to help the past stay alive by teaching people what we used to do."

The museum is expected to open in fall 2013.

Students mapped cattle drives and talked about their hardships, Glidden said.

Among those teaching the cowboy way during the camp were saddle maker Tod Slone, horse trainer Van Hargis, leather worker Carolyn Heist, weapons experts Dan and Travis Glidden, and chuckwagon cook Joe Adams.

Ron Sitton is scheduled to bring in his longhorn shotgun for the children to experience.

"The Alamo education department came and gave a presentation on early life in Texas," Glidden said. "The kids got to make corn shuck dolls and see a working spinning wheel."

The event is a real community effort, Glidden emphasized, with the number of business sponsors increasing from a year ago and the addition of a major underwriter.

Audrey Odom, a 10-year-old from Dripping Springs, is at the camp for a second year.

"It sounded like fun and it was," she said. "I visit my grandparents during this time, so I can come to the camp. I like the roping the best."

Applicants for the free camp had to write a short essay about why they wanted to attend.

"The essays were awesome," said Glidden. "Some of them brought tears to my eyes."

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