Bluebonnet Youth Ranch: A History of CaringBy Claud Jacobs and Sonny Long
Written by Claud Jacobs and Sonny Long, “Bluebonnet Youth Ranch: A History of Caring” was published in September by the University Press of Victoria housed at the University of Houston-Victoria Proceeds from the book benefit Bluebonnet and UHV Athletics.
“We wanted to make it a win-win situation for UHV and Bluebonnet,” Jacobs said. “UHV is an important part of the community. The university is significant not only for educational reasons, but also for economic development. Bluebonnet has made a tremendous impact on the lives of our children.”
Jacobs is the last living person from the original board of directors. He asked Long to help him write the book to make sure the ranch’s history was preserved. Long is a retired journalist who made numerous trips to the ranch while working for the Victoria Advocate from 2005 to 2014.
The book includes anecdotes about the entertainers who have visited the ranch or put on fundraisers.
“When you take a look at the list of celebrities that have lent a hand, there are more than 100 names,” Jacobs said. “Larry Gatlin, who wrote the forward for the book, has done nine free benefits for Bluebonnet. You don’t get people to do that unless they come out and see the ranch and understand what it’s doing.”
The book also contains several interviews with early residents of the ranch. Sandy Siecko and her sister, Audrey, moved to the ranch in 1972. The sisters attended school, did chores, took care of animals and went to church.
“It was a good life,” Sandy Siecko said during an interview with Long that appears in chapter six. “It showed me what life was really about. It showed me how people should live and behave instead of always fussing and fighting.”
The book was designed and the publication arranged by Charles Alexander, UHV poet and designer in residence. University Press of Victoria began in 2010 and focuses on publishing books written by local authors.
“UHV and Bluebonnet Youth Ranch understand the importance of preserving history,” UHV President Vic Morgan said. “Claud and Sonny did a wonderful job telling the story of the ranch and its residents while capturing the cooperative spirit that has been prevalent at Bluebonnet since the beginning. This reading is a great chance to hear more about the book and the ranch directly from the authors.”