'I saved Jack Taylor's life'

  • Joe Espinoza

    Peter McBride

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Among other things, the mayor of San Luis, Colo., runs a bar he named after himself.

Joe Espinoza: "Did you know I am the oldest mayor in Colorado and this is the oldest town in the state ... how old do you think I am?"

"I don't know, maybe 67."

He laughs and shouts to his wife as she passes by, "Oh, bueno, Emma, did you hear that? Sign this boy up.

"You were almost 20 years off, amigo. I'm 84. But I still work like a young man. I work here at my bar until 2 a.m., and then I still feed my pigs and cows during the day. I am crazy in the head to work so much, but I do.

"You know I saved Jack Taylor's life? When he first beat those three locals way back in 1960, oh boy, he beat them bad you know? When he came into town, everybody was lined up and they were ready to hang him, but he was put in jail and I told the sheriff he better put extra guards on duty because there was going to be trouble. There was no trouble, because of those guards.

"Si, Jack Taylor and I used to be best friends. He asked me to see him after he got shot in 1975, and I told him that he was wrong accusing us Mexicans. I knew it was those cowboys from Wyoming. I had seen Jack make a bad deal with them cowboys and even though we were friends, and he trusted me, I told him he was wrong.

"You think we would have waited 15 years to shoot him? We saw him every day. No, we are not that way; we did not give him trouble. His son Zachary does not know this. He does not know that I saved his father's life.

"It is too bad they are cutting those trees up there, but it is good to know that he (Zach Taylor) has agreed with the state on getting an appraisal."