José Barrera (1882 – 1949) became famous as Wild West showman, Mexican Joe.
Barrera was reportedly born in Juarez, Mexico in 1882. In 1897, Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show was the first to hire Barrera as a performer. Only fifteen years old at the time, Barrera was already an expert equestrian and roper. Because of his accomplished use of the lariat from horseback, Wild West Shows billed him as the greatest trick roper in the world. He toured throughout the United States and Europe with Pawnee Bill, Buffalo Bill Cody, and the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Show. He and other performers executed the spectacular "Bailable a Caballo" in which riders and horses danced in pairs to the music of a twelve piece band.
In 1905 José Barrera married Effie Cole. Effie became a star in her own right. Her specialities were hurdle jumping, piloting four horses in a chariot race, the High School Horse Act, and the Western Ballet. The couple had three children, two who died in infancy and a daughter, Mary. With their daughter, the Barreras lived and worked at the Pawnee Bill Ranch near Pawnee, Oklahoma for decades. Barrera was the Pawnee Bill Ranch foreman, overseeing livestock and agricultural activities. He died of old age in Pawnee Oklahoma on November 17, 1949.
Read more about Mexican Joe: Song
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