It took years for Richard Collins to write Riding Behind the Padre. It’s tough to be a first time writer when you have a 13,000 acre ranch that demands daily attention.
Collins Ranch, The C6 in the Canelo Hills of Southern Arizona, is 25 miles from the Mexico border. What prompted Collins to write this book? In his words: “I wrote Riding Behind the Padre out of admiration for the horseback reenactments of Sonora’s Por Los Camino de Kino group, but also to inform the public, especially Arizonans, about the forces behind today’s turmoil and political misinformation on the borderlands.”
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If you are not familiar with Father Kino, this book gives you an interesting insight into the man and his love of the Primeria Alta. He spent 24 years traveling back and forth between Mexico and Arizona, establishing missions and also improving the lives of the indigenous people with the introduction of cattle and crops. Each year a group of Mexican riders recreate a portion of the journey ridden by Father Kino in the 1600’s. Richard writes about the lives of these dedicated riders on their quest to honor Father Kino. Be prepared for long days in the saddle, ending with a cooked meal on the trail and sleeping under the stars in all the elements.
Richard is one tall, lanky cowboy. Look closely at this head, even bareheaded you can see the outline of his cowboy hat. There were over 55 people attending this talk . Richard shared a few stories from the book. It is an interesting essay not only about the rides, but how Mexicans view our border issues. You may be surprised at their insight. At the end of the book Richard expresses his views of how this conflict have impacted the land, the people and why it needs to be resolved.
Authors like nothing better than selling and signing books. Richard sold quite a few this day. Most of the audience hadn’t read his book or purchased one yet.
Living close to the border, we see first hand the destruction done to our beautiful country. How it has impacted the lives of Mexican families, the Tohono O’odham Nation, the migration of animals and the destruction caused by annual flooding. Sadly these issues are debated and/or ignored in Washington DC. Very few of the people in our nation’s capitol understand the impact border policy has locally. No matter what your stand on the issues, please take the time to read this informative book. It’s one man’s perspective on an issue he lives with on a daily basis. When you read it, I would be interested in reading your comments on how it impacted you and your thoughts on our border issues. If nothing else, it’s a wonderful piece of Father Kino’s history.