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CCRA dedicates rodeo to Alfred Anderwald

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The Cowboy Capital Rodeo Association, sponsor of the Memorial Weekend PRCA rodeo, set for the Mansfield Park arena May 25-27, will honor rodeo veteran Alfred Anderwald during the 3-day performance.

Anderwald grew up on a Bandera County ranch and spent his early years as a "ranch hand." He started riding bulls in local rodeos as a teenager for "Saturday night fun," he says. "Eight seconds on a bull wasn't a big deal after working hard all day!"

Although he was born in Medina County, Anderwald, 84, came to Bandera County with his parents, Frank and Elizabeth Anderwald, when he was 3-years-old.

His parents mostly raised goats on their ranch at a time when coyotes and wolves managed to depredate the local herds. "There was a government hunter who came out to hunt them," Anderwald recalls.

Ranch chores were shared with four brothers and two sisters.

Near the end of World War II, Anderwald signed up with the US Army, where he served "a very short time."

It was 67 days, to be exact! When he was a child, he injured his right eye when a string he was cutting popped up and cut the eye, leaving him with very little vision. Over the years, he had completely adjusted to this challenge. However, the Army, which was releasing floods of soldiers as the war ended, didn't see any need for a one-eyed recruit.

Undaunted, Anderwald returned to Bandera and went to work on the 6,000 acre Merrick Ranch, now the Hill Country State Natural Area. "I was a ranch hand, not a cowboy," he affirms. "We did everything. We plowed, we planted, we dug post holes and we rode some."

He worked there for five years. The ranch had purchased a bulldozer and Anderwald became a heavy equipment operator.

"My friends at the OST call me 3-Bs," he says, "'cause I've been a bullrider, a bulldozer and now I'm a bull shooter!"

In 1948, Anderwald won the first championship buckle ever awarded for the Bandera County rodeo in bull riding. He still has that buckle.

According to the engraving on the back, it was donated by the Frontier Shop. "This was a summer series rodeo, I think 17 weeks," he says. "At the end of the summer, I was in second place. Everyone said if I drew that old High Horn steer, I could earn enough points to win the championship." As luck would have it, Anderwald got to ride the notorious High Horn and got his buckle.

High Horn became something of a rodeo legend, purchased by the Crider rodeo family and renamed High Lonesome. "You went up high and came down lonesome," Anderwald recalls of the animal's reputation. The feisty bovine lived 23 years and after his passing, the Criders mounted his head with its impressive horns.

Anderwald rodeoed around Texas, "riding bulls just for fun."

Locally, he also helped Bo Chesson with his rodeo, and his brother Frank Anderwald at the Twin Elm Ranch rodeo.

Anderwald married his wife, Mary Helen, in 1951. When they were expecting their son, Todd, a couple of years later, "That's when I quit riding bulls. I hung it up."

His last ride was in 1953 at the Mayan Ranch.

The CCRA's PRCA rodeo kicks off Friday, May 25, at Mansfield Park Arena with performances starting at 8 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children, $5 for parking.

Proceeds benefit the CCRA Scholarship Fund.

Associated events include the CCRA 5th Annual BBQ Cookoff, Saturday, May 26 from 8 am to 5 pm at Mansfield Park; the 12th Annual Golf Tournament, Sunday, May 27, 8 am at the Flying L Golf Course; and a parade and arts and crafts show in downtown Bandera.

For more information, go to


Tickets are available at the Bandera County Chamber of Commerce.

Pictured: Top- Alfred Anderwald

Alfred Anderwald received the first buckle awarded to the Bandera County Champion in Bull Riding in 1948. He later added the curved ends and the turqouise to the buckle.

Photos courtesy Alfred Anderwald
An unidentified rider on the big-horned bull with a big reputation, High Lonesome.

In his later years, Anderwald paid a visit to the remains of High Lonesome.

Anderwald received a complementary buckle from the 1948 Bandera Stompede recognizing his success at riding High Lonesome.

Anderwald on horseback in his youth.

Alfred Anderwald provided some muscle for a PR shot at Bennie's U Bar Guest Ranch. He's holding up the front end of the jack, while friends Scooter Fries (on horse) and Dee Fries work the other end. The threesome in front are unidentified.