Hoofin it to the Valley

HARLINGEN — Texas trail riders from San Antonio, Orange Grove, Goliad, Victoria, Houston, and Pasadena are participating in the Cowboys Horseman Association’s 11th Annual Trail Ride.

The event is an eight-day ride that takes participants from La Copa Ranch just outside of Encino to the Mercedes Livestock Show Grounds to participate in the parade on Saturday morning.

The group is being led by George Tovar, who is the President of the Cowboys Horseman Association.

Tovar and his wife, Rita, organized the event.

During the 8-day ride, they camp along the way at predetermined sites.

“We do it just to have fun,” said Rita Tovar. “Family and everybody gets together and joins in to BBQ, dance, and eat.”

Yesterday, they made a stop at the Harlingen Storage and Mini Warehouse on Business US 77 for a quick lunch before continuing on their way to Guilly’s in La Feria where they were scheduled to camp overnight.

With light drizzle falling as they arrived, they made their way to the grounds and unmounted.

Riders gathered at the “chuck wagon” where sandwiches and chips were being handed out.

Ray Ruiz, a rider from Goliad, heard about the trail ride through friends a couple of years ago and decided to participate.

When asked what he likes best about it, Ruiz said, “Camaraderie, good people, and I just love it!”

George Tovar said the out of area riders go to the Houston and San Antonio Livestock Shows and that a lot of the times it tends to get too congested there.

So, last year when they heard about this trail ride, they wanted to participate because it was in a more open and “country” area.

Houston trail riders Paul Castro and his wife said they heard from others who had participated in it what a good time they had and decided to give it a try.

“We’ve been trail riding for about 20 years,” he said.

“We came out last year but had to leave early,” Castro said. “This year we’re doing the whole week and we’re having a great time with Cowboy and the rest of the group.”