Cowboys knew how to have fun at work

My mother was a teenager during the 1930s. That decade was one of the busiest for the cattle and sheep raisers in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

In 1885, the railroad company built a spur line from Socorro to Magdalena. Livestock growers then had a market for their cattle and sheep. They drove their livestock from as far west as Springerville, Ariz., to the “trail’s end” at Magdalena, where they were loaded on the train and shipped to eastern markets.

The driveway was about 125 miles long and varied from five to 10 miles wide. Cowboys drove their herds slowly, allowing them to graze on the way. Sheep covered about five miles per day while cattle traveled about 10 miles per day.

It’s said as many as 150,000 sheep and 21,000 head of cattle per year were driven to the shipping pens and loaded on the trains headed for slaughter houses in the eastern U.S.

My mom told me that from September until Christmas the San Agust