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December 2015 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

The Doctor Is (Still) In

I am a descendant of Dr. Benjamin Crumley [The Old Indian Doctor, March 2015]. My grandmother was a Crumley. I currently do not have access to my family lineage that I have researched that says exactly how I am related.

Sherri Hooker | Manor
Bluebonnet EC

More Endangered Places

I was very interested in Endangered Places [September 2015]. While three examples of places that continue to be threatened were mentioned, unfortunately there are many more that could have been cited.

Here in Erath County, we have the Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge that was named on the 2009 list and at the ceremony in Austin was called “the rarest bridge in Texas,” because it is considered the oldest cable-stayed bridge in the state. It is a treasure not only to historians, but also to engineers and bridge enthusiasts, and it is well-known by the Historic Bridge Foundation.

Every time the Paluxy River gets out of its banks, the cable support erodes, and there is a real danger that the historic old bridge could fall into the creek. An engineer who specializes in historic bridges came to look at the bridge and gave us a bid of $500,000 to totally rehabilitate the structure as a footbridge.

As with those mentioned in the article, we struggle with how to finance preservation in a rural county that has no funds to allocate for such a project. We have even considered the possibility of giving the bridge to a park or location where it could be utilized and protected, but necessary funds would still need to be raised. Here in Bluff Dale, the “old swingin’ bridge” is a historic landmark that we hope will not be lost.

Cathey Hartmann | Bluff Dale
United Cooperative Services

In Defense of Hunting

In reply to the recent letters stating opposition to hunting [Right With the World, August 2015], the statement that hunters do not care about the animals they kill is not true. As a lifelong hunter, I know that herd size is important to keep the animal populations healthy for all to enjoy—hunter and nonhunter alike.

Hunting has been a part of this great country since it was founded, and man has been a hunter for thousands of years. Hunters are part of the ecosystem. Hunters pump millions of dollars into the state’s economy, helping landowners and the animals themselves through supplemental feeding and the purchase of permits. In short, there are many benefits of regulated hunting.

Ed Fourton | Abilene
Taylor EC

No Waffling Here

I would like to thank you for the Multigrain Pecan Waffles recipe [Breakfast Foods, August 2015]. I have tried many waffle recipes over my 48 years of marriage, and this is, hands down, by far the best. It makes nice crispy waffles that stay crispy.

Carol Toberny | Midlothian

Editor’s Note

Texas Co-op Power readers readily share opinions about many topics, but space in the magazine itself is limited. So we post letters online. One of the recent features that generated a lot of response was the September 2015 feature Showtime at the Charreada about the charreada tradition. The concerns of some readers are that the charreada includes events that result in painful or dangerous injuries to horses.

Background From the Author

First, writer-photographer Julia Robinson, shares background about her feature story:

I understand readers’ passion for animals and appreciate the letters regarding my piece on charreada in Texas Co-op Power. The issues raised about horse tripping are serious, and it is absolutely worth bringing awareness to the topic. However, in my 18 months of reporting and photographing charreadas all over Central and South Texas, I never witnessed horse tripping.

I don’t doubt that the practice existed, but, starting many years ago, the teams in Texas stopped the practice. The event is still called by its traditional name, manganas, but participants no longer actually trip horses. The charreadas I have attended have not used electrical shocks to prod the mare, nor do they trip her. The charros lasso the front legs and then let the rope go slack as she runs by. The rope is never tightened, and the mare doesn’t break her gait or fall in the arena.

I cannot speak for all charro teams or all charreadas but can report what I have witnessed. I attended dozens of charreadas in Central and South Texas, and it is from this experience that I wrote my article. I spent hundreds of hours in the company of the charros and their animals and didn’t once witness an act of cruelty.

In response to concerns about horse tripping, the American Charro Association, which sanctions Mexican rodeos in the United States, revised the rules of traditional manganas 14 years ago. “Horses are not knocked down anymore,” says ACA President Ramiro Rodriguez. Instead, he says, the charros rope one or both front legs, without tightening the ropes or causing the animals to fall. “If any of our members knock down a horse, they are suspended for one year,” Rodriguez adds. “There are five charro groups, and they follow the same rule.”

From Readers

I am stunned at your September article glorifying the cruel and inhumane charreada event of horse tripping (which your article calls “forefronting”). The galloping mares subjected to this often end up with broken legs and necks as well as serious rope burns and other injuries, not to mention shell shock. And since they are considered expendable, they receive little care before or after their injuries.

The other event in the article, so-called “steer tailing,” isn’t much better. And please don’t defend these practices as “cultural.” They are cruel no matter who practices them.

Patricia Nichols
Trinity Valley EC

Can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your September edition. The charreada story was so well-written and illustrated, and it reminded me of Charro Days in the Brownsville of old. And I also appreciated the photos and discussion in Endangered Places.

D.A. Crossley Jr. | Athens, Georgia

I’ve always enjoyed Texas Co-op Power for its diversity and vast amount of unique and interesting information and events around Texas. I was disappointed to see the feature on Mexican rodeo, however. While I have always advocated that accurate history is critical to preserve, and storytelling is a valued method by which to do so, I take offense that no mention was made of the lack of animal welfare regulations in this “sport.” As a former animal cruelty investigator, I saw that there are cruel practices that continue at charreada events, especially the smaller venues.

Modern-day rodeo contractors and event organizers, most notably those who promote and manage the larger venues, have responded to the animal welfare community over the years and do employ animal welfare professionals so that the ticket-buying public, those of us who continue to support rodeo, can be assured that the animals are handled and treated with humane standards throughout their rodeo careers.

Until the animal welfare community’s voice is heard, the brutality will continue in the name of this tradition.

Sandy Grambort | Mansfield
United Cooperative Services

I read with horror the glorification of the cruel practice of horse tripping in Showtime at the Charreada. The procedure is described in the story as “a charro jumps in and out of wide, spinning circles of rope, adding as many as he can before trying to lasso the running horse by the front legs.” This is horse tripping. The result of roping a running horse’s front legs most often results in a fall.

I witnessed this practice when visiting Mexico. It is not a practice that we need to import to the U.S.

Sandy Venneman | Sealy