Get a glimpse into the life of a real South Texas cowboy through the Witte’s Juan Salinas: Rodeo Roper and Horseman, on view in the Laura and Sam Dawson Gallery of the South Texas Heritage Center through May 27.
The exhibition features historical ranch and rodeo photographs including large format panoramic images, promotional images and candid snapshots; plus, trophy buckles, a silver loving cup and more, gifted to the Witte by Salinas’ nephew Ricardo Palacios. Juan Salinas was a South Texas cowboy and rancher who began competing in rodeos in the late 1920s. By the early 1930s he was well-known and competing as a professional. From 1936 to 1946 Salinas, together with his wife Bertha Hargraves Salinas, younger brother Tony and his star pupil, Bandera roper, Toots Mansfield, toured the United States. They traveled from coast to coast participating in as many rodeos as possible and finishing out each year at the World Championship rodeo at Madison Square Garden in New York City and the rodeo in Boston, Massachusetts. During this era, Toots Mansfield won the World Championship in calf roping seven times riding Juan’s horse Honey Boy. In 1991 Salinas was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Salinas spent most of his life at his ranch near Encinal, Texas and died in Laredo in 1995 at the age of 94. In 2007 Texas A&M Press published Salinas' biography, Tio Cowboy, written by Ricardo Palacios. The book is available for purchase at the Witte Museum Store.
The exhibition is included with museum general admission. For more information call 210.357.1900 or visit www.WitteMuseum.org.