Pleasanton's culture is multi-ethnic. A rich blend of Anglo, Spanish and Mexican heritages form a solid, tolerant foundation upon which the city flourishes. The surrounding forests and brush country were rich in game and ideal for cattle, and the lariat and Winchester on the rifle rack in the pickup truck symbolize these facts today. It's a western city in South Texas where country living is practiced under the giant oaks. Peanut farming, Eurostar Perfumes, and Wal-Mart have changed some things, but down by the river life is still a bit lazy and, in a word, "pleasant."
Pleasantonians love parades and celebrations, but the small adobe community to the north, San Antonio, had long ago stolen all the best festivals, causes, and dates available. There seemed little left for the City of Pleasanton. Then, after years of historical research, it was announced to an astonished Texas that the modern cowboy--the one who rides a horse, ropes and brands calves, strings barbed wire, and rides range through "brush country" rounding up strays and changing brands where feasable--was "born" right here in the Pleasanton area (this, apparently, is now accepted as historical fact). Capitalizing on this finding, the City of Pleasanton quickly held its first "Cowboy Homecoming" that year, complete with a cattle drive down main street (where the cattle dutifully stampeded to add excitement to the affair). It has been a Pleasanton celebration ever since, inducting members into the South Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and naming the Atascosa County Working Cowboy of the Year honorees. These two awards are given annually at the opening ceremonies of the Cowboy Homecoming Rodeo and have become two of the most coveted awards acknowledging the work of the American Cowboy. Held at Atascosa River Park, the Atascosa County Recreation Center, the Atascosa County Livestock Show Barn, and downtown, the festivities include a chili cookoff, the Cowboy Homecoming Parade, the Cowboy Breakfast, a fiddlers' contest, street dances, the Homecoming Queen Coronation (move over Elizabeth Rex; this is the real thing!), a carnival, and many other events.
The Longhorn Museum, open all year 'round, depicts the history of the Atascosa County area through the life of "the working cowboy." Much of the museum's presentation centers around the claim, here accepted as fact, that it was in this geographic area of the world that men first started herding and working cattle on horseback in the manner today associated with the cowboy of the American West. The museum houses artifacts and information showing the cowboy and the early settlers' lifestyles. Covered wagons, stagecoaches, barbed wire displays, brands, spurs, lariats, saddles, guns, and more are here for the enjoyment and education of all. A relatively new addition houses a world class Wild Game Trophy Exhibit. The old San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf Railroad's Pleasanton Depot was moved from downtown to a site next to the museum and houses the history and artifacts of the early railroad days in South Texas. A train caboose was added to enhance the exhibit. It is located on Highway 97 between the city and Interstate 37 and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Pleasanton Public Library originated in 1954 when people were clamoring to read free copies of "Gone With the Wind" and other great books before McCartheyism relegated them to the bonfire. Originally sponsored by the Pleasanton Lion's Club (relax--there are no real lions in the Lion's Club), the present library was built in 1979 and is owned and operated by the City. The library provides access to videos, films, music, new titles, historical materials, and all manner of books and publications (well, not all manner, but a lot!). It also sponsors adult GED classes, story programs, film programs, and summer reading programs for area children. Located at 321 North Main Street, the Pleasanton Public Library is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Pleasanton is also known in some minds as "the Hunter's Paradise of Texas." Indeed, even sober hunters seek white-tailed deer (among largest in Texas) as well as dove and quail during the fall and winter hunting seasons. At other times, the hunt shifts to the Texas South Dancehall, The Oasis, and other watering holes where the prey is likely to be a wingless two-legged variety. The Pleasanton Rifle and Pistol Club encompasses both the cowboy and hunting interests which epitomize Pleasanton's heritage. If you don't like blood but still like to shoot 'em up every now and then, the Skeet and Trap Shooting Range is the place for you. Reservations are encouraged.