Frank "Pancho" Perez, Jr.


December 28, 1935 -
Role: Tophand, Cowhand
Nicknames: Pancho
Known for: Fearlessness on Horseback

Frank "Pancho" Perez was born on the Duke Ranch “way in the brush. I was born among cowhands and horsemen. I guess it must run in my blood. I love workin’ with horses and cattle but my favorite thing is breakin’ and handlin’ horses”. His paternal grandparents died in Mexico but his father, Frank Perez, Sr., and his uncle came to South Texas in the early part of the twentieth century “walking up from Mexico with his saddle across his back and becoming a legendary horseman on these ranches.” His father worked mostly for the O’Connors while his mother’s family worked for the Murphy Ranches. Pancho went to school with Mrs. Wilma Copeland but would miss three or four school days in a row and Mr. Copeland (O’Connor foreman) would say “I don’t think Pancho is going to learn much, he likes to rope”. Pancho was young when his father passed, so he had to learn on his own and from the older ranch hands. Pancho became famous as the consummate tophand in the area. He could ride and rope like no other and was completely fearless. He would rope a freight train if asked to do so. His skill as a horseman was unsurpassed, staying on a horse that fell head over heels with him on it and coming up on the horse smiling and riding hard. Tom O'Connor, Jr., [IV] declared "the best damn cowhand alive", Pancho never backed down from anything.

Introduction to Pancho Perez

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Pancho Perez
Pancho Perez – So I used to miss three or four days, go to school, work cattle. Then when I come back, I love to go work again, but I got to go to school. But I had no more on my head to go to school. I had…Mr. Copeland spoiled me! Mr. Copeland say, "Rope that calf, Panch!" They want to see me. I used to be a little bitty kid, but I could rope them calves. And Mr. Copeland told Mrs. Copeland, "I don't believe Pancho gonna learn much. He wants to go rope. He wants to go rope." My favorite, you know, when I started to work at the Duke, there was Willie Jones and Ervin Gibson. They used to rope in the herd. If you rope in the herd, you got to be overlooped, because if you start swinging, you make them calves wild and you got to be kind of pretty quiet and just one throw. Overloop like that. Turn your loop like that, and just one swing. Running. Well, you got to swinging, throw to his head, neck. Well, somebody got the head. Somebody roping the head, it's called healing.

Julian Tijerina - No. Somebody got him by the head.

Pancho Perez – Back feet. Well, if you wants to just try to catch him by the front foots, you got to run him and turn your loop over, over the neck. I was love roping that time. I ain't like roping no more.