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San Diego's cowboys — a varied lot

Largest rancher, last vaquero, rodeo ropers, cowboy songs, Tijuana River stables, rustlers in Pine Valley, the Cauzzas of Julian

“See that skinny cow there? There’s something wrong with her — probably ate some nails or wire or something." - Image by Robert Burroughs
“See that skinny cow there? There’s something wrong with her — probably ate some nails or wire or something."
“They’re all city people moving up to Campo now,” he complains. “Hippies and kooks and dopers."

Cowboys, cattle, and time

Jim Kemp is the largest cattle rancher in San Diego County, but the few thousand animals he keeps in the East County are only a whisper of the huge herds that were raised in Southern California a hundred and fifty years ago. In fact, when Kemp’s family first acquired ranch land here in the 1870s, Southern California was still known as the state’s “cow counties.”

By Gordon Smith, Jan 8, 1981 Read full article

Archie Chillwell, George Cameron, Manuel Taylor, 1904. "The Chilwells had lived down in the Tijuana Valley, and the border was allus kinda fuzzy."

The last vaquero

“Well, if you want to go to work I’ll put you down on the desert at the Vallecitos camp. Ol’ Amos is down there, the only fella we got. We already got a thousand head down in that country, gonna be puttin’ in about 1200, and Amos is gonna have to have help. The pay is seventy dollars a month, with the best o’ meat and the worst o’ everthing else.”

By Neal Matthews, May 17, 1984 Read full article

Jeff Moore: "Well, I'm sorry, partner. He got a step on me. I heard that steer ran out an 18.2 on a team last night, and I should have been ready for him."

The ropers

"They're not cowboys anymore they're athletes,” he went on. "Punk bastards'll rope a steer in four, five seconds. They got timing reflexes and all like top-condtioned athletes you'll see anywhere. But understand, that's all they do is rodeo. You tike Carter and some of the guys around here, hell, they all got jobs. They'd starve before they beat most of these professionals."

By Joe Applegate, Dec. 7, 1989 Read full article

Cowboy Frank Morris

Cowboy songs

"Requirements for bull ridin’ are only two-fold, that is if you want to be good. The first bein’ a butt made of iron and the second a brain made of wood. The latter is harder to come by, as most start life with some sense. But it all liquefies and runs out your ears, ’Bout the time your head hits the fence...."

By John Brizzolara, Oct. 18, 1990 Read full article

Cattle penning at Wigginton Ranch. The image of the men who loped across the range is still a pervasive one.

You're always the cowboy

“I took riding lessons the way some people play golf. I was the only one in my family. I started doing weekend trips. I’ve led pack trips in the Sierras for Red’s Meadow Pack Station. I worked on a friend’s ranch in Arizona helping during roundups. My mother says it must have just been in my blood.”

By Bay Anapol, Aug. 7, 1997 Read full article

Pine Valley. Ries and Rodriguez decided that they’d place Kriss under a tree, then use Cline’s wagon to ship the body back to town.

Horse rustler escapes justice

The herd plowed through an area thick with tall brush. Visibility was so limited, the deputies devised a plan: Ries and Rodriguez would circle in front and turn the herd around. As they rode, however, Kriss spotted a man and ordered him to stop. They exchanged words in English. Kriss drew his pistol, fired, and missed.

By Jeff Smith, June 8, 2000 Read full article

With a herd of 200 cow-calf pairs and a 2450-acre ranch, Cauzza estimates can feed one cow for every 10 to 15 acres.

Moo twilight

Cauzza's property occupies the part of the valley where the grassy floor curves upward and becomes the foothills that reach up toward Volcan Mountain. He runs 200 cow-and-calf pairs of mixed-breed beef cattle -- "hereford, angus, limousin" -- on these 850 acres and another 1600 acres he owns in Mesa Chiquita.

By Ernie Grimm, Sept. 27, 2001 Read full article

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“See that skinny cow there? There’s something wrong with her — probably ate some nails or wire or something." - Image by Robert Burroughs
“See that skinny cow there? There’s something wrong with her — probably ate some nails or wire or something."
“They’re all city people moving up to Campo now,” he complains. “Hippies and kooks and dopers."

Cowboys, cattle, and time

Jim Kemp is the largest cattle rancher in San Diego County, but the few thousand animals he keeps in the East County are only a whisper of the huge herds that were raised in Southern California a hundred and fifty years ago. In fact, when Kemp’s family first acquired ranch land here in the 1870s, Southern California was still known as the state’s “cow counties.”

By Gordon Smith, Jan 8, 1981 Read full article

Archie Chillwell, George Cameron, Manuel Taylor, 1904. "The Chilwells had lived down in the Tijuana Valley, and the border was allus kinda fuzzy."

The last vaquero

“Well, if you want to go to work I’ll put you down on the desert at the Vallecitos camp. Ol’ Amos is down there, the only fella we got. We already got a thousand head down in that country, gonna be puttin’ in about 1200, and Amos is gonna have to have help. The pay is seventy dollars a month, with the best o’ meat and the worst o’ everthing else.”

By Neal Matthews, May 17, 1984 Read full article

Jeff Moore: "Well, I'm sorry, partner. He got a step on me. I heard that steer ran out an 18.2 on a team last night, and I should have been ready for him."

The ropers

"They're not cowboys anymore they're athletes,” he went on. "Punk bastards'll rope a steer in four, five seconds. They got timing reflexes and all like top-condtioned athletes you'll see anywhere. But understand, that's all they do is rodeo. You tike Carter and some of the guys around here, hell, they all got jobs. They'd starve before they beat most of these professionals."

By Joe Applegate, Dec. 7, 1989 Read full article

Cowboy Frank Morris

Cowboy songs

"Requirements for bull ridin’ are only two-fold, that is if you want to be good. The first bein’ a butt made of iron and the second a brain made of wood. The latter is harder to come by, as most start life with some sense. But it all liquefies and runs out your ears, ’Bout the time your head hits the fence...."

By John Brizzolara, Oct. 18, 1990 Read full article

Cattle penning at Wigginton Ranch. The image of the men who loped across the range is still a pervasive one.

You're always the cowboy

“I took riding lessons the way some people play golf. I was the only one in my family. I started doing weekend trips. I’ve led pack trips in the Sierras for Red’s Meadow Pack Station. I worked on a friend’s ranch in Arizona helping during roundups. My mother says it must have just been in my blood.”

By Bay Anapol, Aug. 7, 1997 Read full article

Pine Valley. Ries and Rodriguez decided that they’d place Kriss under a tree, then use Cline’s wagon to ship the body back to town.

Horse rustler escapes justice

The herd plowed through an area thick with tall brush. Visibility was so limited, the deputies devised a plan: Ries and Rodriguez would circle in front and turn the herd around. As they rode, however, Kriss spotted a man and ordered him to stop. They exchanged words in English. Kriss drew his pistol, fired, and missed.

By Jeff Smith, June 8, 2000 Read full article

With a herd of 200 cow-calf pairs and a 2450-acre ranch, Cauzza estimates can feed one cow for every 10 to 15 acres.

Moo twilight

Cauzza's property occupies the part of the valley where the grassy floor curves upward and becomes the foothills that reach up toward Volcan Mountain. He runs 200 cow-and-calf pairs of mixed-breed beef cattle -- "hereford, angus, limousin" -- on these 850 acres and another 1600 acres he owns in Mesa Chiquita.

By Ernie Grimm, Sept. 27, 2001 Read full article

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