Vaqueros were the original cowboys of Texas. Vaqueros started herding cattle in northern Mexico in the 1590's. They lived in Texas a long time before cowboys did because Texas used to be part of Mexico.
Say "vaquero" - VAH-CARE-OH. Do you notice how it sounds like "vaca" at the beginning? That's because it comes from the Spanish word "vaca" which means "cow." In Spanish to add "ero" to the ending makes a word mean "worker."
So...the word vaquero means "worker of cows:" vaca = "cow"; ero = "worker."
Another name for vaqueros is "charro." Today we use that word a lot more than vaquero. Try it: "CHAR-OH." Good job!
Charros compete in something called "charreadas." Charreadas give charros places to show how well they can do vaquero skills.
What kind of skills? Doing things like:
- roping a runaway calf
- handling your horse with skill
- getting cattle to do what you want
- roping a wild horse
What Vaqueros Wore:
In Spanish "sombra" means shade. A vaquero's hat gave him shade - or "sombra" - in the harsh south-Texas sun. Whew! Things get very hot when you're outside working on a ranch all day long!
Sure, vaqueros used serapes to keep warm, but they also helped with herding cattle. Vaqueros waved serapes to steer wandering cattle back to the herd.