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Official Visitors Guide

2012 A Publication of ZAPATA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Where We Have It All

David Mendosa

Events • Restaurants • Entertainment • Hotels & lodging


Welcome to Zapata County.. . .and, welcome home!

Come and enjoy our warm South Texas hospitality. Whether you’re here to spend a day fishing at our storied Falcon Lake, walking the legendary streets of San Ygnacio or on the hunt for some big game, we’re glad you’re here. Once you’ve explored this precious South Texas treasure, we know you’ll be back for more. On behalf of Zapata County and Commissioners’ Court, thanks for visiting us! We look forward to seeing you again!

Joe Rathmell

Honorable County Judge


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Contents Welcome to Zapata!

About the Cover It doesn’t get any bigger than Zapata’s legendary Big Mouth Bass. It’s the lure that draws thousands of avid fisherman, amateur and seasoned pro alike, to the clear blue waters of Falcon Lake. Falcon Lake holds court as one of the nation’s top 20 fishing destinations. It’s no wonder that ESPN shines its spotlight on this magnificent South Texas treasure.

From San Ygnacio’s rustic historic buildings to the fine feathered gems known as the White-Collared Seedeater to the lush blue waters of the world-famous Falcon Lake, Zapata beckons you to explore! Walk along San Ygnacio’s historic streets, featured in the Marlon José F. “Paco” Mendoza, Jr. Brando film classic, “Viva, Zapata!” Zapata County Chamber of Take a hike along the shores of Commerce President/CEO Falcon Lake and catch a glimpse of a rare bird species that might very well complete your life list! Engage in the sport of kings, the hunt! Zapata boasts a wide array of game, including deer, javelina, doves and quail. Along with our unique heritage and natural beauty, Zapata also knows how to celebrate its enchanting mix of American, Texan and Mexican cultures by way of the Zapata County Fair, arguably the best little county fair in South Texas. Billed as the unofficial family reunion capitol of the world, the Zapata County Fair attracts scores of relatives from all throughout the United States and Mexico who make the annual trek to visit family and friends alike. Then, there’s the food. Zapata boasts some legendary cuisine, including some of the best Chicken Fried Steak around. Of course, Tex-Mex fare remains popular. Appetites, beware! Zapata aims to satisfy! But, it’s the Big Mouth Bass at Falcon Lake that reel in the visitors! Beneath these clear blue waters swim Bass behemoths, some large enough to rival the biggest fish tales. In fact, Falcon Lake holds the record for the largest big-mouth bass ever caught.

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Welcome to Zapata, where we have it all.............. 6 Zapata, Texas: Birding Paradise............................... 8 Zapata County Museum of History.......................10 Historic Sites & Markers around Zapata...............14 Winter Texan Haven..............................................14 ZCTAEC: Closing the gap on distance learning.....15 Falcon Lake: World Premier Bass Fishery.............16 Falcon State Park: Flora, Fauna Paradise...............17 Day Trips: Half the Fun is Getting There................18 Zapata County Fair................................................20 San Ygnacio: Spared by the River’s Wrath............21 Hunting Season in Zapata, Texas..........................23 Zapata Health........................................................24 Community Directory...........................................24 Zapata Public Parks...............................................25

Whether it’s for the bass, the birding or the bucks, we proudly welcome you to Zapata!

José F. “Paco” Mendoza, Jr. President/CEO The Official Zapata County Chamber of Commerce Visitors Guide magazine is provided as a service by the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce / Convention and Visitors Center / 601 N. Hwy 83 | PO Box 1028 | Zapata, TX 78076 | 956.765.4871

José F. “Paco” Mendoza, Jr.

President / CEO

Celia Balderas

Membership Services Coordinator

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Graphitiks Advertising Design , Inc. Publisher:

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Contributing Photographers:

Jose A. Garcia Yolanda M. Garcia

Olegaria Plasencia Macedonio Martinez

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Michelle Romani M. Lizeth Flores Jose A. Garcia,

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The Zapata Texas Chamber of Commerce is not responsible for any discrepancies or changes made after September 1, 2011. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication, yet this is not guaranteed. All advertising is the sole properly of Graphitiks Advertising Design, Inc. unless otherwise specified and is protected by copyright law.

5415 Springfield, Suite 6A· Laredo, TX • (956) 723-4389 2900 Mossrock, Suite 110 • San Antonio, Texas • (210) 767-2212 www.graphitiks.com


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Welcome to Zapata Where we have it all

Sometimes, the biggest surprises come from the smallest packages. A beautiful lake teeming with the biggest bass around, ideal birdwatching, bountiful hunting, rich history and down-home South Texas hospitality make Zapata County one of the most ideal small town destinations around.

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In the 260 years since the area was first settled, Zapata County has grown significantly. Yet, even with this growth, Zapata retains its natural beauty and its charm. Its peaceful, country living make it a magnet for both Winter Texans and avid fishermen, who, while casting their lures for fish, wind up being caught up in the beauty of both Falcon Lake and the community. Zapatans gladly share their culture and their zest for life with everyone. And, they share it in grand fashion during the community’s biggest annual event, the Zapata County Fair. Dubbed the best small-town fair in Texas, the Zapata County Fair stands as everyone’s favorite gathering place, literally. The fair serves as Texas’ unofficial capitol for family reunions. It’s as though everyone comes home for the fair. Even outside of the fair, a visit to Zapata County is like coming home. Even first-time visitors seem to experience an air of comfortable familiarity. It’s as though they belong there. It’s as though they’ve come home. From the rustic streets of San Ygnacio to the lush shores of Falcon Lake, Zapata invites visitors to engage in a venture in adventure and a homecoming of sorts.

Of course, there’s more to Zapata than the bass, the birds and the bucks! Zapata boasts a rich history, a vibrant present and a promising future! Along with the legendary Falcon Lake, Zapata offers its visitors a rich historical legacy. San Ygnacio, located in the northern part of Zapata County, showcases residences and other buildings preserved in pristine condition, many of them located on cobblestone streets. In fact, come Christmas time, many owners of these historical treasures invite visitors to take an informal tour of their residences. In keeping with history and preservation, this year, Zapata County proudly unveiled its brand new museum, the Zapata County Museum. With its multi-media exhibits and rare historical artifacts (some of them dating back to pre-Columbian times), the Zapata County Museum invites visitors to learn about the area’s rich heritage. Zapata also ushered in a brand new era in higher education with the creation of its virtual university. The wonders of technology and education are now readily available to thousands of Zapata-area students in a virtual classroom setting.

Welcome to Zapata! Welcome home!

Falcon Lake famous for record breaking bass

Photo by Tommy Law, courtesy of Lone Star Outdoor News, Jan. 12, 2011

Tom Law hunted it down at Falcon Lake for the better part of 40 years. The owner of Outlaw Guide Service lay in patient wait for his treasure and, on January 7, 2011, fate handed him the biggest fish story in Falcon Lake history, a 20-year record-breaking large-mouth bass. Weighing in at 15.93 ounces, Law’s catch smashed the previous record of 15.12 pounds. 7


Courtesy of Tom Ulrich

Zapata, Texas Birding Paradise

Birding Sites: TPWD Boat Ramp Zapata, Tx. Zapata County Bravo Park Zapata, Tx. Texas Lower Coast Birding Trail Site #87 San Ygnacio, Tx. Bird Sanctuary San Ygnacio, Tx.

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Courtesy of Dr. Edward Haight

Sometimes, it’s the smallest treasures that reap the biggest rewards. With Zapata’s birds, ranging from the rare White-Collared Seedeater to the Olive Sparrow to the Great Kiskadee, there are enough birds to fill any avid birder’s life list. In fact, Zapata County boasts some 290 species. Many of the birds congregate around the lush banks of Falcon Lake, while some gather around the various ponds and streams. Others can be found nestled in the huge brush country terrain. The White-Collared Seedeater, considered by many birding

enthusiasts to be one of the most rare birds in the world, can routinely be seen in the Bravo Park area, feasting on the carrizo. For avid birders, finding the White-Collared Seedeater or any of the other rare birds in Zapata County is tantamount to discovering the Holy Grail. Many will travel around the world for the sake of catching sight of that one bird that is missing from their list. When they find it, the excitement over this finefeathered discovery is incredible!

The County offers many great sites for birders. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for more information at 956.765.4871 or 800.292.LAKE • customercare@zapatachamber.com

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Courtesy of Tom Ulrich


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Zapata, Texas

The Zapata County Museum of History Provides A Unique Set of Experiences Located on Main Street in the center of town, the Zapata County Museum of History offers a comprehensive storyline ranging from the geologic formation of the continent and the local biozone to a complete account of the human experience. Presented in English and Spanish, the Museum collection lets its story unfold through the use of graphics, text, and interactives providing the visitor with a depth of regional history rarely seen at other similar institutions. It is surprising and rewarding to find the same adventurous, enterprising, and optimistic spirit brought by the original European settlers who first arrived in 1750 in the citizens of today. In addition to an attractive, modern architecture that fascinates most visitors, the Museum possesses the only Butterfly Garden in South Texas where a diverse collection of Swallowtails, Monarchs, Cabbage, and Sulphur butterflies can be observed and admired. Also, an Arboretum on the Museum’s grounds counts with ten species of native trees.

(956) 765.8983 805 Main St., N. US Hwy 83 Zapata, Texas 78076 Museum Hours: Tuesday thru Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Group Tours Only By Previous Appointment www.ZapataMuseum.org


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Historic Sites & Markers around Zapata

Bustamante (Rancho Las Comitas) From Zapata, take SH 16 NE about 12 miles.

Jesús Treviño Home At Trevino & Uribe Avenues, San Ygnacio.

Mission Dolores a Visita From San Ygnacio, take US 83 north about 11 miles. Site is just north of Dolores Arroyo.

Mission Revilla A Visita Courthouse Plaza, US 83

Old Falcón US 83, R.O.W., Falcon.

Old Lopeño US 83, R.O.W., Falcon.

Old Ramireño From San Ygnacio, take US 83 SE about 5 miles.

Site of Uribeño 4 miles north of Zapata on US 83 right-of-way

Old Zapata Courthouse, US 83, Zapata.

Winter Texan Haven RV Parks Beacon Lodge & RV Park Box 6304 313 Lake Shore Dr Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-4616

As soon as the leaves change from green to brown, orange and gold up north, the annual Winter Texan pilgrimage begins. Like the birds that set course due south to escape the frigid temperatures, Winter Texans make their way to Zapata, trading in their snow boots for sandals. These “snow birds”, as they are affectionately called, instinctively know the route that leads to this little corner of South Texas paradise. Four Season Mobile Home & RV Park 126 Sunshine Circle Off Hwy3074 Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-4241

Lakefront Lodge & RV Park 5901 Stop 59 493 Oak St Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-4346

New Harbor Lodge & RV Park 6405 Stop 64A 209 Lake Shore Dr Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-3095

Thousands of Winter Texans call Zapata home every year, with more coming every season. While the warm weather remains a strong draw, it’s Zapata’s down home hospitality that lures them back for more. They know they’ve come home the minute they’ve driven into Zapata County.

Sabins RV Park PO Box 15072 End of FM 496 Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-8524

San Ygnacio RV Park PO Box 100 1109 N. Hwy 83 San Ygnacio, TX 78067 (956) 763-1320

Sunshine RV Park FM 3074 Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-4827

For more information please contact The Zapata County Chamber of Commerce (956) 765-4871 or 800-292-LAKE (5253) 14

Stinson RV Park PO Box 68 3299 S Hwy 83 Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-5162


An epicenter of learning opportunities deep in the heart of Zapata, Texas

ZCTAEC

The campus, with its enrollment of over 900 students, sits in front of the Zapata County Community Center on 7th Street.

Closing the gap on distance learning The Zapata County Technical and Advanced Education Center connects the community to the world, bringing the marvels of the 21st century to the South Texas brush country.

The facility has already earned an award from the prestigious American Institute of Architectural Design for its energy efficiency and for its aesthetic, contemporary modern architecture.

Higher Education Within 150 Miles: • Laredo Community College - Laredo, Tx. • South Texas College - McAllen, Tx. • Texas Southmost College - Brownsville, Tx. • Texas State Technical College - Harlingen, Tx. • Texas A&M Corpus Christi - Corpus Christi, Tx. • Texas A&M International - Laredo, Tx. • Texas A&M Kingsville - Kingsville. Tx. • University of Texas-Brownsville - Brownsville • University of Texas-Pan American - Edinburg • Zapata County Higher Educ Adv Tech Ctr - Zapata, Tx. • Rio Grande Community - Rio Grande

For more information please contact Zapata County Chamber of Commerce (956) 765-4871 or 800-292-LAKE (5253)

Dr. David Malcolm Brown, Dean of ZCTAEC, states that the campus sets two ambitious objectives. “We want to create workforce development and training in different fields such as tourism, healthcare, oil and gas,” he explained. “We also want to give our students the opportunity to take college level courses without having to make the expense of leaving home.”

the surround sound rivals that of the best theater and the microphones used by the students to communicate with their instructors transmit clearly. “It’s as though our students and teachers are in the same room.”

In the area of higher education, the ZCTAEC enjoys solid academic partnerships with five institutes of higher education: Texas A&M International University in Laredo; the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, Laredo Extension; UT-Pan Am; Texas State Technical CollegeHarlingen; and Laredo Community College. Brown hopes to include other colleges and universities, such as Harvard, Notre Dame and UCLA, and even international campuses.

“County Judge Rathmell and the Commissioners Court displayed the foresight to get this project completed,“ Brown said. “Peggy Umphres from the Zapata County Economic Development Center, Paco Mendoza, from the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce, and Norma Garcia, Superintendent of Zapata County ISD, also played a major role.”

At this state of the art campus, students experience distance learning in a unique manner. The classes are taught in real-time and completely interactive. Brown explained that

Brown credits the foresight of both Zapata leaders and elected officials in turning this vision into a concrete reality.

He also credits the collaborative efforts of State Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Texas and State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. “They believe that this facility is a rock-solid investment in our future, Brown said. “They are committed to its success.” 15


Falcon Lake’s enduring popularity comes from the countless visitors this lush paradise attracts year in and year out. Whether they come to cast their nets in the hopes of landing the big one or simply want to enjoy the beauty of Falcon Lake, they come, and, nearly all of them return, for it’s the lure of Falcon Lake that reels them back.

Beneath the clear blue waters of Falcon Lake lies a bonanza of bigmouth bass just right for the catching. Fishermen (and women) from all over the country make their annual pilgrimages to this storied lake in the hopes of landing the Big One. Anglers, too, find the lure of Falcon Lake hard to resist. In fact Bass Masters, Bass Champs, and FLW Tournaments have all hosted events on the shores of Falcon Lake attracting scores of fishing enthusiasts. A flotilla of fishing boats converge on the lake as competitors vie for the chance to land the biggest bass of all. And, some have. Just ask Tom Law, who, this past year, broke the record for having caught the biggest large-mouth bass in Falcon Lake history, snagging a behemoth that weighed in at just under 16 pounds. For more information please contact The Zapata County Chamber of Commerce (956) 765-4871 or 800-292-LAKE (5253)

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Of course, one should also consider the beauty of Falcon Lake. Daybreak bathes Falcon Lake in a bright golden light as the sun makes its way over the horizon. The waters seem to glisten as the morning sunlight hits them, almost sparkling like diamonds. Then, comes twilight. There is something about looking out at the golden pink hues of the setting South Texas sun as they dance over the blue waters, especially as the fishermen bring their boats to the shore after a day of fishing. One could not ask for a better place to fish. Just ask the WFN! This year, the prestigious organization named Falcon Lake one of its Ultimate Top 20 Fishing Towns in the United States! That’s a mighty big honor for this little piece of heaven. In fact, Falcon Lake is the only spot in Texas to have earned this special distinction. The honor puts Falcon Lake in the same caliber as legendary fishing spots like Lake Tahoe.


Photo by Russell Fishbeck

Photo by Nancy Beard

Falcon State Park Flora, Fauna Paradise I

Photo by Russell Fishbeck

Photo by Russell Fishbeck

It’s not every day that the presidents of two neighboring countries meet on a structure that separates their respective lands. But, it happened here back in 1953, when native Texan and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made the long trek from Washington, DC to Zapata, Texas to meet his southern counterpart, Mexican President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines to dedicate Falcon Dam. While the dam was meant to both tame the Rio Grande and harness its water, something greater sprang forth from the massive project: in a word, paradise. Tucked within the mesquite trees and the rugged rolling hills between Zapata and Starr counties, Falcon State Park offers visitors and natives alike a little taste of the heart of the South Texas brush country. With its thickets, huisache, ebony, wild olive, cactus and native grasses, Falcon State Park offers a lush habitat for rare

bird species, deer, javalina and colorful butterflies. Falcon State Park sits on an area leased from the International Boundary and Water Commission back in 1949. The erection of Falcon Dam led to the creation of a magnificent 70 mile lake, located behind it. Zapata County holds a sizable, 40-mile stretch of Falcon Lake, while the other 30 miles lie on the Mexican side. Falcon Lake takes its name after Spanish explorer Miguel de la Falcon. Falcon State Park officially opened to visitors in 1965. It remains a popular spot for fishing, sailing, water skiing, scuba diving and swimming. Rare birds, too, have flocked to the lake’s shores. Now, many locals and tourists say that the best way to enjoy Falcon State Park is to make the trek before sundown. Just as evening falls, visitors can experience one of the finest sunsets in all of South Texas, gazing with wonder as the setting sun casts its pinkish gold hues right onto the crystal blue lake. 17 17


Day Trips Half the Fun is Getting There Laredo, Texas Laredo’s history and architecture is a reason for a visit. The atmosphere of oldtime Laredo pervades side streets around Plaza San Agustin area where settlers first located in 1755 to form one of the first Spanish colonies on the north bank of the Rio Grande. Get your historic bearings straight at the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, 1003 Zaragoza St., (956) 727-3480. Wildlife Refuge A Sanctuary for birds and other wildlife nestled just outside of Falcon State Park. The world famous and elusive White Collared Seedeater can often be seen here. Bring plenty of memory cards for your camera. You are going to need them. Open daily 8am - 4pm. Call World Birding Center (956) 849-4930. Roma, Texas The World Birding Center can be found on the old plaza of a once-thriving steamboat port. Part of a national historic district it includes a riverside nature area of 3 acres. The gateway to unforgettable birding adventures. Diverse activities such as walking tours, to birding float trips along the RG are operated by Friends of the Valley Wildlife Corridor. For information call (956) 849-4930.

San Ygnacio, Texas The oldest town in Zapata County, was settled in 1830 by former residents of revilla (now Nuevo Guerrero, Tamaulipas) under the leadership of Jesus Treviño. The site was in the southwest corner of the original Hacienda de Dolores, a grant made in 1750 by Col. José de Escandón to José Vázquez Borrego and was named for the patron saint of Guerrero, Saint Ignatius Loyola. In 1830 Treviño built a sandstone home, known as Fort Treviño, 100 by 140 feet. Jose Villarreal placed a sundial at the home in 1851 and has become a tourist attraction.

Rio Grande City In the City is located the Chachalaca Wildlife Refuge. Chachalacas are tropical

birds indigenous to Central America, Mexico and the extreme reaches of South Texas. The Chachalaca Refuge is a lush and placid 94.2 acres reserve discretely nestled in the middle of the town. Birdwatchers travel to the RGV to spot Chachalacas as they perform their rancorous mating chorus from where they derive their name. Another place La Puerta Tract is the eastern entrance to the 11 sites in the Lower Rio Bravo section of Starr County. Within La Puerta’s large encampment can be found several rare species of plants and animals.

Falcon State Park at the southern end of the International Falcon Reservoir in Starr and Zapata Counties. The park was leased from the International Boundary and Water Commission in 1949 and opened to the public in 1965. The waters of the Rio Grande River have formed a beautiful 60-milelong lake behind the dam. This dam was built for conservation, irrigation, power, flood control, and recreational purposes. The park features camping, swimming, fishing, and water skiing. There is a 1-mile, self-guided nature trail. Campgrounds and cabins available for reservation by calling Falcon State Park Office (956) 848-5327. La Gloria The area newest form of entertainment is bloodless bullfighting, featured October-

March at the 900-seat Santa Maria Bullfighting Arena, one mile east of La Gloria. Matadors train here for matches in Mexico and Spain. Margo Ranch at La Gloria , provides a lodge, B&B accommodations, native plant, nature and historical tours, (956) 487-3827.

King Ranch a living legend King Ranch, the birth place of the American ranching industry and a National Historic Landmark. On guided tours, you can see the Santa Gertrude’s and King Ranch Santa Cruz breeds of beef cattle and the Quarter Horses that have garnered fame. The King Ranch offers public bus tours of the famous ranch, and in recent years nature trips have been offered as well. With the entrance of the King Ranch into the nature tourism business, trips solidly devoted to bird watching may be arranged at (361) 592-8055. 18


Hebbronville, Texas Located slightly northeast of Zapata County lies the tiny hamlet of Hebbronville, Texas. The seat of Jim Hogg County, Hebbronville boasts a rich treasury of history, rustic buildings and a culture all its own.

The town takes its name from its founder, rancher James Richard Hebbron. The land on which Hebbronville sits was originally part Las Noriecitas (the Little Wells), one of the area’s earliest ranches. Hebbronville, itself, was incorporated in 1883 when the Texas-Mexican Railway Company laid a railroad through the area. Thanks to this, Hebbronville enjoyed a solid reputation as the country’s largest cattle-shipping center and, to this day, the area still stands as a major ranching center. This explains why Hebbronville also holds the title of “Vaquero Capitol of Texas and the USA”. The town also holds an interesting footnote in Texas history. One Helen Sewel Harbison became the first woman cast a vote in a Hebbronville election in 1918, two years before women were granted the right to vote.

Hebbronville’s many rustic buildings bear a silent witness to the town’s storied past. One, in particular, the Scotus College, holds a fascinating tale. In 1926, the Mexican government unleashed a deadly persecution of Roman Catholic priests. Many priests and nuns fled Mexico, making their way into the United States. One group of priests settled in Hebbronville and established Scotus College, a seminary. The campus, which stands today next to the beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, features a breezeway on the top floor where the priests and seminarians used to pace up and down while praying their Office. The Viggo Hotel, built in 1915, is another of Hebbronville’s architectural treasures. Located just across the highway from the Jim Hogg County Courthouse, the Viggo Hotel once served as the epicenter of commerce during Hebbronville’s cattle-shipping heyday. One could probably see in the mind’s eye, cattle barons making deals in the lobby of the now-abandoned hotel. Its exterior still retains much of its pristine beauty. Rich in history and lore, Hebbronville beckons visitors to explore its treasures and, perhaps, bring out their “inner vaquero”.

For more information please visit our websites at www.VisitHebbronville.com • www.VaqueroFestival.com


ZAPATA COUNTY FAIR biggest little town fair in texas!

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very spring, excitement fills the South Texas brush country as the Zapata County Fair rolls into town. County Fairs stand as the hallmark of Texana culture, and here in South Texas, the Zapata County Fair breathes life into the community’s soul. Basking in its unique bicultural and binational ambiance, the Zapata County Fair showcases the very best that is Zapata County. From its spectacularly regal Queen Pageant to its exciting livestock competition, from the feasting up and down the midway to the thrilling carnival rides, the Zapata County Fair has something for everyone. Last year, the ZCF introduced new and enticing activities, designed to attract every member of the family. These included the electrifying Battle of the Bands, where three local and regional favorites vie for the chance to be crowned the top musical act in the area. This maiden event is sure to join the pantheon of beloved traditions held sacred by fair-goer. There are also some events that endure, such as the venerable trail ride, where participants channel their inner cowboy (or, if the case may be, cowgirl) in homage to that rich Texas tradition. Of course, what county fair would be complete without the music? The Zapata County Fair boasts an impressive line of boot-scooting Tejano favorites designed to keep everyone on the dance floor until the wee hours. Along with combining the best of the traditional county fair genre with new, innovative features, the Zapata County Fair also serves as the venue of choice for family reunions. Relatives and friends make the annual trek to Zapata to visit loved ones, often planning their trips around the dates of the fair. In fact, it’s been said that most family reunions happen while the fair is in town. It’s common to run into old friends and classmates while meandering through the midway. Friendships are renewed and relationships reconnected. No wonder the Zapata County Fair maintains a solid reputation as Texas’ unofficial family reunion capitol!

For more information call Zapata Chamber of Commerce, (800) 292-Lake or visit www.ZapataCountyFairOnline.com 20


SAN YGNACIO

Spared from the river’s wrath

Many of San Ygnacio’s architectural treasures retain their original beauty and intricate design. One landmark, Fort Treviño, built in 1830, holds a special object, a working sundial.

A walk through San Ygnacio’s cobblestone streets takes visitors on a journey back in time. The architecture speaks silent volumes, whispering tales of a by-gone era of simplistic beauty. Located just to the south of Laredo, Texas, the tiny hamlet takes its name from the Spanish founder of the Roman Catholic Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Church, in fact, continues to play an integral role in the community, as Our Lady of Refuge presides over the beautiful Plaza Blas Maria Uribe Square, in the heart of San Ygnacio. Although it was damaged by fire in 1990, the community painstakingly restored the church to its original splendour. Tourists also make the trek every December for the everpopular Christmas tour of San Ygnacio’s historic homes. Homeowners open their residences to visitors during this venerable event, decking their houses with vintage

Christmas decorations, some dating back several generations. Furthermore, because San Ygnacio retains much of its original architecture, it’s been a favorite for Old West buffs and filmakers. The Western, Viva Zapata, starring late screen idol Marlon Brando, was shot in San Ygnacio and the surrounding area. Of course, tourists aren’t the only ones who flock to San Ygnacio. The village also serves as home to some rather tiny residents, the elusive White-Collared Seedeaters. These rare birds have been spotted throughout the area. Rich in history, architectural beauty and natural wonders, San Ygnacio makes for an ideal place for a day trip, beckoning visitors to explore its many treasures. 21


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2011 Zapata Texas Official Visitors Guide


Hunting Season In Zapata, Texas Zapata, Texas enjoys a solid reputation as a hunter’s paradise for prize game.

While Falcon Lake certainly lures in the anglers and the fishermen, for hunters, they aim their bullseye towards Zapata’s brush country. Of course, it’s always been that way. Ever since the time of the Carrizo, Tepemaca and Borrada tribes, the area has enjoyed a solid reputation as a hunter’s paradise, providing a veritable cornucopia for prized game. In fact, national magazines such as Outdoor Life, and Field and Stream, consistently rank Zapata County as one of Texas’ best places to hunt. The game’s certainly afoot in Zapata County. Hunters have their choice from quite a wide variety of game, including white-tail deer, quail, mourning and white-wing doves, turkey, javalina and feral hogs. While

Hunting Directory Zapata Wildlife Outfitters David Dodier • (956) 763-1266 www.zapatawildlifeoutfitters.com Ricky Martinez 1803 N. Alamo St. • Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-5253

deer and bird hunting carry a set season, hunters can hunt for javelina and feral hogs all year. Since both javelina and feral hogs are nocturnal creatures, hunters can also pursue their game at night. While feral hogs carry no limitations, the state does put a cap on the javelina harvest, limiting it to two per license per year. Texas law requires that any hunter, regardless of age, carry a hunting license to hunt anything from fowl to reptiles to mammals. However, hunters do not need a hunting license to hunt coyotes or feral hogs. As some restrictions apply, Zapata County urges hunters to contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (800) 792-1112.

Las Lajas Game Ranch Robert Vela (926) 728-9090 • (956) 237-3883

El Tepozan Ranch 6 miles S. Zapata on the E. of U.S. Hwy. 83 Contact Gil Gamez (512) 426-4255

La Laja Ranch Jose Vidaurri (956) 645-6326 Varal Ranch Contact Martin Volpe (956) 580-9769 www.varal.com

Palomas L&M Ltd. San Martin & Humaran Ranch David Volpe & Diana Volpe Contact David Volpe (956) 337-7808 www.zapatahunting.com

For more information on the Upcoming Texas Hunting Seasons for Zapata County please contact The Zapata County Chamber of Commerce (956) 765-4871 or 800-292-LAKE (5253) www.ZapataChamber.com

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Community Directory Churches: Falcon Heights Baptist Church 540 FM 2098 • Falcon Heights, TX (956) 848-5794 Nuestra Senora Del Refugio 407 Washington St. • San Ygnacio, TX (956) 765-4940 Kingsway Church 34 Hawk St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-0123 Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church 1609 Glenn St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-4216 Lakeshore Tabernacle 102 Lincoln St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-6549

Zapata Health

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Close to home, close to you!

In years past, getting medical care often meant making the long trek to either Laredo or McAllen. Sometimes, this would be an all-day affair, as one would have to go from the doctor’s office to the lab or to the diagnostic center and then off to the pharmacy. But, that was then. This is now. Zapata County serves as home to a wide array of excellent health care facilities. Since 2004, Zapata Medical Center, an affiliate of Community Health Systems, provides such care as family medicine, X-rays, lab work, screenings and DOT physicals.

Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall 189 Madison St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-4725 Church of Christ 1506 Alamo St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-4716 Templo Camino de Salvacion 402 Hawk St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-1300 Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida 2002 Jackson St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-9393 Zapata’s Spanish SDA Church 5402 Sean Lane • Zapata, TX (956) 765-4883

First Baptist Church 1401 Glenn St. • Zapata, TX (956) 765-4294

Nearby Airports:

• Laredo International Airport - 50 miles • McAllen International Airport - 95 miles • Harlingen Valley Airport - 135 miles • Corpus Christi Airport - 142 miles • Brownsville/South Padre Island Airport • San Antonio Airport - 214 mile

(956) 795-2570 (956) 581-1500 (956) 430-8600 (361) 289-0251 (800) 433-7300 (210) 207-3411

Bus Service:

Valley Transit – Greyhound

South Connections:

McAllen – Harlingen – Brownsville Zapata’s Bus Location – Arrivals/Departures: Stripes - 102 N. Hwy 83 (956) 765-5536

North Connection:

Along with ZMC, many home-health providers also call Zapata home. These companies provide services where patients can be treated in the privacy of their residences, receiving skilled nursing care and other specialized treatment. In addition, Zapata has two pharmacies: the Medicine Shoppe and Garcia’s Pharmacy.

Laredo San Ygnacio Location – Arrivals/Departures: Pepe’s Grocery on Hwy 83.

Thus, when it comes to health care in Zapata, it’s close to home, close to you.

Arturo L. Benavides Elementary School (956) 765-5611 P.O. Box 219 Zapata, TX 78076

Zapata County Schools:

Fidel and Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School (956) 765-4321 3637 stop 36 B Zapata, TX 78076 Zapata High School (956) 765-0280 Home of Hawk Pride Box 3750 Zapata, TX 78076

Zapata Middle School (956) 765-6542 Box 3636 Zapata, TX 78076 Zapata North Elementary (956) 765-3724 Box 3224 Zapata, TX 78076 Zapata South Elementary School (956) 765-4332 Box 2030 Zapata, TX 78076

Zapata County Chamber of Commerce

Voice: (956).765.4871 • Fax: (956).765.5434 P.O. Box 1028 • 601 U.S. Hwy 83 • Zapata, Texas 78076

www.zapatachamber.com


Zapata Public Parks Falcon State Park

US 83, 30 miles south of Zapata Park Entrance free required

•Picnic Areas •Camping •Restrooms • Cleaning Stations •Handicap Access • Boat Ramp – Arroyo Veleno • Ramp will accommodate all boat types Open all year

Romeo T. Flores Park 101 Delmar

•Basketball Court •Children’s Play Area •Picnic Area •Swimming Pool •Stage

Zapata County Pavilion

404 East 23rd Ave •Basketball Court •Children’s Play Area •Picnic Area •Walking Path •Stage

Zapata County Baseball Park 2402 Hidalgo St.

San Ygnacio Baseball Park Valle Verde St.

AL Benavides Elementary Baseball Park 307 Lincoln St

Zapata County Bravo Park 201 West 9th Ave •Children’s Play Area •Picnic Area •Walking Path •Bird Watching

Zapata County Siesta Shore Park 704 Monterrey Lane

Roma, TX • 80 E. Grant St • 6am-10pm Amando’s Beefmasters

Zapata, TX • 117 S. U.S. Highway 83 • 7am-10pm

Bill Pay Checks Cashed

Open Everyday

•Basketball Court •Children’s Play Area •Picnic Area •Walking Path

Zapata County Pct. 4. Recreational Park 1909 Fresno St

•Basketball Court •Children’s Play Area •Picnic Area •Walking Path

Zapata County Pct. 4. Children’s Park 1609 Glenn St

•Basketball Court •Children’s Play Area •Picnic Area

956 765-3082


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Enjoy Your Stay Enjoy In Zapata! Your Stay In Zapata! 956-765-6971

2101 U.S. HWY. 83

956-765-6971

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Intocable and its founders Ricky Muñoz and René Martínez invite everyone to visit Zapata, TX for its World Class Fishing, its famous County Fair and of course its music! With deep appreciation to our fans of many years, please check out our newest CD nominated at the 2011 Latin Grammy’s for Best Norteño Album.

WELCOME TO ZAPATA, TEXAS! www.grupointocable.com


Zapata Official Visitors Guide 2012