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Old Spanish Trail Ride to San Antonio: Photos by the Zintgraff Photography Studio

February 17, 2014

Each year over 3,000 participants, on horseback or in wagons, travel from various locations and make their way to the annual San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.  The tradition began in February 1955 when about 150 people traveled from Altair, in Colorado County, to San Antonio in order to publicize the sixth annual stock show and to help preserve the ways of the Old West.  The 135 mile journey was sponsored by the Old Spanish Trail Riders Association, with Colorado County residents Ed Johnson and Elbert Tait serving as co-chairman of the event.

Zintgraff Studio, the official photographers of the stock show, took numerous publicity photos before and during the trail ride.  Several of these images were published in the two San Antonio newspapers, neither of which sent photographers to the rural areas to record the event.  Zintgraff continued to photograph the trail rides through the 1960s.  These photographs are also housed in Special Collections.

These are some of the photographs taken during the Old Spanish Trail Ride in 1955.

Advertising the upcoming event are Leon Kahanek, Hallettsville resident and chairman of the rodeo calf scramble committee, and Ed Johnson, president of the Old Spanish Trail Riders Association.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-58)

Advertising the upcoming event are Leon Kahanek, Hallettsville resident and chairman of the rodeo calf scramble committee, and Ed Johnson, president of the Old Spanish Trail Riders Association. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-58)

Ed Lobpreis , Garwood resident designated the “village blacksmith” in order to take care of last-minute horse and mule shoeing before the start of the trail ride that began on February 13, 1955.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-21)

Ed Lobpreis , Garwood resident who was designated the “village blacksmith” in order to take care of last-minute horse and mule shoeing before the start of the trail ride that began on February 13, 1955. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-21)

Members of the Old Spanish Trail Riders Association register participants at tables beside highway near Altair.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-55)

Members of the Old Spanish Trail Riders Association register participants at tables beside highway near Altair. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-55)

Round-up barbecue for riders and their guests on the evening before the start of the five-day trip.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-59)

Round-up barbecue for riders and their guests on the evening before the start of the five-day trip. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-59)

Senior participant John J. Hopkins, a Garwood area rancher who rode horseback to San Antonio before the advent of the automobile, gives advice to Oscar (left) and Les Bunge, Jr., sons of the trail boss.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-20)

Senior participant John J. Hopkins, a Garwood area rancher who rode horseback to San Antonio before the advent of the automobile, gives advice to Oscar (left) and Les Bunge, Jr., sons of the trail boss. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-20)

Outriders pass through prairie in Colorado County during the first day of the trail ride.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-59)

Outriders pass through the prairie in Colorado County during the first day of the trail ride. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-59)

Women are among the outriders beside the wagon.   (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-44)

Women are among the outriders beside the wagon. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-44)

Students watch as the wagon train passes near school in Lavaca County.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-65)

Students watch as the wagon train passes near school in Lavaca County. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-65)

Wagon fords a creek as the caravan crosses ranchland.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-43)

Wagon fords a creek as the caravan crosses ranchland. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-43)

Riders gather around campfire before bedding down in the open.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-70)

Riders gather around campfire before bedding down in the open. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-70)

Lawmen--(l. to r.) Colorado County Sheriff J.O. Walker, Constable R.P. Simmons, and Texas Ranger Zeno Smith-- welcome Don Puckett and the trail riders to Rock Island.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-46)

Lawmen (l. to r.) Colorado County Sheriff J.O. Walker, Constable R.P. Simmons, and Texas Ranger Zeno Smith welcome Don Puckett and the trail riders to Rock Island. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-46)

Residents gather on Avenue East to watch the trail drive pass through Shiner.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-B-68)

Residents gather on Avenue East to watch the trail drive pass through Shiner. (MS 355: Z-2475-B-68)

Trail riders take a break next to a chuck wagon.  (MS 355:  Z-2475-C-10)

Trail riders take a break next to a chuck wagon. (MS 355: Z-2475-C-10)

The day after they arrived in San Antonio, Old Spanish Trail Ride participants are among those in the Western Parade that officially opened the sixth annual stock show and rodeo..(MS 355:  Z-2475-D-101)

The day after they arrived in San Antonio, Old Spanish Trail Ride participants are among those in the Western Parade that officially opened the sixth annual stock show and rodeo..(MS 355: Z-2475-D-101)

 

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