Armando “Mando” Gonzalez first started working for the East Ranches in 1963 at the age of 18. Mando came to work at San Antonio Viejo because his father and uncle worked there. They grubbed mesquites from roads, right of ways, and in water lots, by hand, with either a pick axe, axe, or machete. When Mando started working for the East family, he worked with his father and uncle.
Mando also worked on the windmill crew with his cousin, Miguel Moreno, repairing windmills. In 1986, Mando was sent to another ranch, La Mula, where he lived for the next 20 years as a “Ranchero.” A Ranchero makes daily rounds in each pasture, checks the water wells and windmills, puts out mineral for the cattle, and traps cattle that need to be worked. The Ranchero is the eyes and ears for the Ranch Manager. They know everything that goes on at the ranch and anything that needs to be fixed.
When Mando went to La Mula, his father moved to the Casa Verde on the San Antonio Viejo Ranch. He took care of the goats for Robert East, until Robert passed away in 2007. After Robert’s death, Mando’s father retired and went back to Mexico where he lives today.
After 20 years at La Mula, Mando returned to live at San Antonio Viejo where he continues his role as Ranchero. Each day he checks on a different pasture and gives a report of any problems. He checks the water systems and determines the amount of mineral that needs to be put out for the cattle. At the young age of 67, Mando says he has many years left working for the East Ranches.