To know Sam is to love Sam. You know that guy who rides his horse in downtown Austin? That’s Sam Olivo, the 6th Street Cowboy.
If you saw Olivo riding on a horse alongside someone else at the recent Texas Book Festival, that someone else was me. He was kind enough to let me tag along on a peaceful jaunt down Congress Avenue, as he told me his story and sang a few songs.
Our journey had us trotting through downtown Austin, and culminated with an intensely personal Native American ceremony at a sweat lodge. Along the way, Olivo told me about his second shot at life, why he rides his animals downtown and what his mission in life is now.
Olivo’s story is an important one. It’s the story of a man with an old world mentality, living in a city growing at a breakneck pace and struggling to maintain its identity. Olivo refuses to change, in a city that’s constantly changing. [Read more…]