French cowboys to form working relationship with Bandera wranglers
By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor
Together, Elenora Dugosh Goodley and Oriane Clauzel, owner of a longhorn ranch in Armargues, France, branded a longhorn calf and named it Bandera. Aimargues has been designated a sister-city of Bandera.
The statue in the town square of Aimargues, France, shows a woman riding a Camague horse herding the famous black bulls of the district.
Whether it's in Aimargues, France or Bandera, Texas, behind the chutes, all rodeo competitors warm up the same.
It appears nothing can stop the hardest working set of siblings in the Hill Country. The brother and sister duo of Roy Dugosh and Elenora Dugosh Goodley have secured Aimargues, France as another sister-city for Bandera.
Bowing before the inevitable on Nov. 14, Bandera City Council unanimously approved accepting Aimargues into the sister-city fold, which also includes Strzelce Opolskie, Poland and Tysmenytsia, Ukraine.
In October, Goodley and Dugosh traveled to France on a fact-finding tour to determine which French city of the two touting a western-centric lifestyle would fit in best with Bandera. Both Goodley and Dugosh agreed that Aimargues, located in the Camargue region of the country, won hands down.
Clearly still excited by the coup, Goodley told city council, "The population is 4,500 and there's a longhorn ranch with 90 head of cattle and a rodeo arena. Aimargues is a smaller city and much more cowboy." She added, "The people are really anxious to partner with Bandera." Goodley also made it clear that no public funds were used to finance the fact-finding mission.
Specifically, Aimargues is a commune in the Gard (Cowboy) département, in the southern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon. A département is one of the three levels of government below the national level, in between the region and the commune.
Additionally, French communes are roughly equivalent to townships or incorporated municipalities in the United States. A French commune may be a city of two million inhabitants, like Paris; a town of ten thousand people; or just a 10-person hamlet.
Situated beside the Vidourle River on the floodplain of the River Rhône, the town of Aimargues is thought to have Roman origins. Traditionally, it has been an agricultural and wine-producing community but because of its excellent roads to the north of France as well as to Spain and Italy, the area now has several new industries and employers.
Aimargues is famous for breeding bulls and many of the best bulls from the Camargue region have been raised and bred in the area. The typical black bulls of the area are destined for the bullrings of Languedoc and Spain. These bulls are different from those raised on the longhorn ranch.
According to the website www.expatica.com, the men of this area spend a lot of time in the saddle - and not only those who tend to the local livestock. Camargues' les Gardians - who are considered Europe's only cowboys - are extremely proud of their traditions. And the black long-horned cattle they tend rival the snowy-white horses they favor for riding.
Considered one of the oldest breeds in the world, Camargue horses live in semi-feral conditions in the marshy land of the region. Due to its location near the Mediterranean Sea, Camargue's wild landscape includes red salt lagoons that teem with flamingoes, reedy marshes and rice paddies.
"During our meeting, Mayor Franc presented us with the Aimargues medallion for the City of Bandera," Goodley told the council. "He sends his best wishes and greetings from the city to the officials and citizens of Bandera and welcomes a sister partnership with the City of Bandera. He is looking forward to meeting the Mayor of Bandera."
To cement the Franco-Cowboy bond, Goodley presented Mayor Don Clark with the impressive medallion from Mayor Franc.
Goodley also noted that Orian Clauzel, owner of the longhorn ranch in Aimarues, is very anxious to form a working relationship with Bandera. "There's so much she wants to learn from us," she said.
With council's unanimous approval of the French sister-city, Cluazel's cowboy tutelage appears ready to begin.
(Sources: www.creme-de-languedoc.com and en.wikipedia.org)