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De Anza Trail cattle drive begins

April 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A tradition continues in Riverside County, California as a group of riders saddle up to honor a trailblazer. A hundred de Anza Trail Caballeros began their journey Saturday in Palm Springs. For 71 years, riders have taken the trail to honor Juan Bautista de Anza. He was a captain in the Spanish Army and he played an important role in California's history. In 1775 de Anza forged an inland supply trail from what is now Mexico to San Francisco. The Caballeros are retracing part of de Anza's journey.

The trail can be straining on the horses and the riders. "I did a lot of preparation to get the animals in shape for the ride and that kind of got me in shape as well", said cowboy Gregg Palmer.

One rider, Louis Tavaglione, has been on 55 de Anza trail rides and he celebrated his 80th birthday on the trail. He told eyewitness news "The first one I went on I told my wife I'd never go again, I was so tired. That was from Mexico to Riverside. But you just miss everybody, and the horseback riding, and I just wouldn't miss it again. I hope I can make more."

The struggling economy has had an impact on the number of riders this year. According to Jerry Stewart, "We're down a few riders that have lost their job. But we will continue."

The de Anza trail Caballeros' ride will last for seven days. They will finish the trail in Diamond Valley near Hemet this Saturday.


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