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What’s Up South Texas!: Truck-riding cowboy spreads joy in community

Darryl Mitchell rides on the East Side to show children anything is possible

San Antonio – A local cowboy is sharing his passion of trucking and trail riding to spread joy in his community.

Darryl Mitchell has loved truck driving since he was a boy.

“I loved it,” Mitchell said. “I got it from my uncle. I used to go with him everyday to work. The days I couldn’t go, I was mad but I had a feeling I was going to be a truck driver one day.”

His other goal was to own his own horse.

“I have three now,” Mitchell said. “I was just a toddler when I first started loving horses. I came out in the front page of the newspaper as the youngest rider in the MLK March. Since then, I was asking everyone to ride their horses. I got a few no’s and a bunch of yes’s.”

The major setback of making his goals a reality was when he was 17.

“My stepdad walked out on my mom and I,” Mitchell said. “I had to become the man of the house and take that step forward. I had to give up on my riding and dreams for a while to make sure my mom was OK.”

In the process of getting his license to become a truck driver, he lost his car.

“I had to walk to school at times,” Mitchell said. “Any obstacle I faced, I figured out how to get through it. I never really talk about my problems, I just got through them.”

He said thanks to his experiences and love of his mother, he has grown into a great man.

“I don’t hate him,” Mitchell said. “My real dad actually left when I was a baby so all I knew was my stepdad so that hurt but I forgave him in order for us to be able to move on. It just makes me a stronger person who I am today.”

Mitchell has since gotten his license as a truck driver. When he gets off, he spends time with his 18-year-old horse named Snoop.

“I got him when he was 8,” Mitchell said. “I was so excited because he was my first horse that I worked so hard to get. I would rush home just to go on rides. I have been thrown. Been kicked. We have been through the whole rodeo with him, but we worked all those kinks out and now we have no problems.”

You can see Mitchell riding his horse along Interstate-10 and many other places including the East Side.

“People always stop me to say hey,” Mitchell said. “They ask to ride him and to pet him. It feels good to know they are happy to see this just for a quick sec. I would ride on the east side and I had this one woman come up to me and thanked me. Not much gets seen around there. You normally hear the east side as something bad happening over there. Just to bring that joy makes me feel real good. As soon as I see the kids, they scream, ‘A horse! A horse!”

Unfortunately, Mitchell and Snoop did experience an accident.

“The man claimed he didn’t see me,” Mitchell said. “When he hit us, I flew off the horse and hit the asphalt and I slid a couple of feet. Snoop actually didn’t move. His skin was broken open and he jumped over the hood of the car and he kept going down the road. A nice man was able to get him back for me but that was crazy.”

He suffered a shattered elbow and road rash, and though he is more cautious now, he loves trail riding even more.

“People travel from different cities and just the interaction knowing you can go to a big place and there is no drama and no fighting,” Mitchell said. “You are all there to have a good time.”

Mitchell said he hopes his story inspires others to stay true to what their dreams and aspirations are.

“Don’t give up on your dreams,” Mitchell said. “I have always dreamed of being a trucker. I succeeded. I always dreamed of having a horse. I succeeded in having three. Don’t give up on your dreams. I hear people say that all the time and I am a firm believer in that.”

If you know someone like Mitchell who is making a difference in the South Texas community or who has a unique story, send us your tips. Contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.

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