Buckaroo John's Blog

A Brief History of the Reata

Posted by John Brand on

The reata (or riata) was a long braided rawhide rope used by the early Mexican Vaqueros and was no doubt first introduced into Mexico by the Spanish conquerors. Reata is from the Spanish word "reatar," meaning "to retie," or "to rope," which ties one animal to another. Though the word reata is often used to refer to any rope, the genuine Vaquero reata was and is a special item. It was usually 40 to 80 feet long and made from twisted strands of rawhide. The finest riatas used rawhide strands, cut by experts, from the primest part of several young heifer...

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A Thanksgiving Thought

Posted by John Brand on

Well, here we are. Thanksgiving week of 2020. What a year. I'm not sure of a single person I know that wasn't effected by 2020 and all it entailed. Jobs were lost. Homes were lost. Businesses closed doors and sadly, some never reopened. People were scared. People hated. People divided. People struggled. However, in it all was beauty. Did you see it? Did you feel it? If not, do you remember how to find it? In the midst of all that encompassed 2020, and let me tell you, it was a year of barely keeping our heads above water, I...

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Leather and Winter

Posted by John Brand on

The Problem Winter weather is no friend to leather, especially polluted rainwater. Microscopically, leather is made up of collagen fibers. During tanning, hides are soaked in chemicals to prevent its fibers and their bonds from decomposing. Natural fats and oils are tumbled with the hides to keep the protein bonds from drying out and to make the leather supple.Protein bonds must be lubricated and kept supple, this is the key to long lasting leather. If the bonds dry out completely, they shrink, become brittle and break. Once broken, they are permanently weakened. Soaking leather in oil may make it supple...

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Ropes and Lariats Used by the Vaqueros in the Old West

Posted by John Brand on

The Lassos were used by Vaquero’s to hunt wild cattle. Until the late 18th century, the Vaquero tied the lariat to the horse’s tail. But the development of heavier, more substantial saddles changed this technique. Vaquero’s began wrapping the end of the rope around the horn of their heavy saddles. This wrapping technique called “Dar la Vuelta” ("take a turn" in Spanish) passed over to the American cowboys, who corrupted the Spanish term into “dally” or “dally welter." Vaquero’s and the cowboys who copied the practice could slip the rope against the saddle horn and gain leverage against a roped...

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Vaqueros, Cowboys and Buckaroos

Posted by John Brand on

Cowboys of the old west were referred to as "vaqueros." (The Spanish word "vaca" means cow.) The term "cowboy" was rarely used back in the old west. It is more commonly used today. The word vaquero pronounced by American cowboys, was "bukera" and finally "buckaroo." For a period of time anyone working cattle, whether in Texas, California, or elsewhere was known as a "buckaroo". It wasn't until the late 1860's when the Texans began to drive their cattle north to the new railroads in Kansas that the term "cowboy" came into widespread use. Vaqueros were poor, owned no land, probably not even...

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