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The Gruene Cowboy rides again at Comal County Fair & Rodeo

Special to the Courier

Courtesy photo
The Gruene Cowboy is a reprint of The Trail Drivers of Texas, will be released Sept. 23 at the Comal County Fair and Rodeo.

Long-forgotten, first-hand accounts of the hundreds of South Central Texas cowboys who drove cattle up the trails between the 1860s and 1890s return to life at the 2015 Comal County Fair & Rodeo, Sept. 23-27.
The Gruene Cowboy, a collection of stories first gathered by the San Antonio-based Old Time Trail Drivers Association between 1915 and 1923, launches Sept. 23 in the Agriculture Barn.
"The Gruene Cowboy shines a new spotlight on the fantastic stories captured in the original Trail Drivers of Texas," says Rebecca Huffstutler Norton, executive director of Frontier Times Museum in Bandera. "The Gruene Cowboy continues their efforts of preserving these stories by introducing a whole new audience to the hardworking, amazing cowboys that made their way up the cattle trails."
These accounts of life on the range and on the trail are told by the early cowboys who fathered the cattle industry in Texas - including HD Gruene, whose family founded the now-famed Central Texas tourist town and music mecca, and in whose honor this reissue of the 1924 masterpiece The Trail Drivers of Texas is named.
"These riveting true stories of the real old West will change everything you thought you knew about cowboys and Indians - and reveal how the early settlers who lived in this area shaped the future of Texas before, during and after the Civil War," says Gruene Cowboy editor Stephanie Johnson. "We invite readers to saddle up with the men, women and teenagers who blazed the cattle trails north to Dodge City and beyond."
This new release includes only the most-colorful stories from the original 1924 edition of The Trail Drivers of Texas. Typos, archaic spellings and old-school style points that might distract modern readers from the cowboys' visceral storytelling also were updated.
The Trail Drivers of Texas was the brainchild of San Antonio resident George W. Saunders, a self-described "old-time" cowboy who worried that he and other old-timers would soon die, taking their colorful accounts of the Wild West with them across "the Great Divide."
Fed up with inaccurate, fictionalized depictions of frontier life, Saunders urged his group of aging cowboys to submit accounts of their youthful exploits.
Added the book's original editor, J. Marvin Hunter, "The old-time trail drivers, as well as the youth of Texas, owe him a debt that can never be paid for thus rescuing from oblivion and preserving this important link in the chain of Texas history."
The Frontier Times Museum was established by Hunter in 1933. He had but three months to edit and compile all of the stories in The Trail Drivers of Texas, which is well over 1,000 pages long.