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The Marks Family Films, no. 4 - Rodeo Footage

Milo Marks

Silent | 1940s

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  •  Visitors attend a rodeo 
  •  The participants make their entrance on horseback onto the rodeo grounds 
  •  The longhorn cattle arrive on the field 
  •  Riders round up cattle for branding 
  •  Participants compete in a calf roping event 
  •  A pair of cowboys show off their lasso tricks, one standing ON their horse 
  •  Next up: the saddle bronc riding competition 
  •  A rodeo clown performs with a pony 
  •  Horse and dog tricks 
  •  Steer wrestling is the next rodeo event 
  •  A female rider runs the course with her horse 
  •  A performer does gymnastic tricks atop a horse 
  •  Final event: bull riding 
  •  The Marks family enjoy the events from the stands 
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This home movie contains black-and-white, silent footage of a rodeo in Texas, likely held at E.H. Marks' ranch, the LH7. The footage highlights the events of the day, beginning with the riders making their entrance onto the rodeo grounds. Several rodeo events are featured, including cattle branding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, and bull riding. Multiple participants also perform tricks for the crowd, from rodeo clowns to special acts. The rodeo grounds of the LH7 Ranch were claimed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers during World War II to create flood reservoirs along Buffalo Bayou in order to protect the war industries of Houston from flooding. Marks abandoned the LH7 rodeo when the land was claimed, indicating that this film was likely shot in the early 1940s, before the rodeo was shut down in 1945.
Emil Henry Marks, also known as E. H. Marks, was born in Addicks, Texas on October 26, 1881. He began working as a cowboy at age ten, registering the LH7 brand in Harris County in 1898. The ranch opened near Addicks in 1907, and moved to Barker in 1917. Marks was one of the first cattlemen on the Gulf Coast to cross breed Brahman bulls with common longhorn cattle. The LH7 also protected the foundation stock of Texas longhorns in an attempt to save the breed from extinction. Marks maintained a herd of 500 purebred longhorns, one of the nation’s largest. In reviving the breed, the Texas Longhorn Breeding Association of America declared the Marks line one of the “seven families” of Texas longhorn cattle. The LH7 hosted an annual ranch rodeo from 1918 to 1945. Marks was also one of the four original riders to participate in the inaugural Salt Grass Trail Ride from Brenham to Houston in 1952. The annual event now kicks off the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Marks died in Houston on September 15, 1969. After his death, two of Marks’ children, Maudeen and Travis, split their father’s herd and ranching operation to open their own ranches, with Maudeen settling near Bandera and Travis near Fannin. Both kept the LH7 brand. In 1985, the Texas Historical Commission designated the LH7 Ranch in Barker a state archeological landmark.