The most recognizable monarchs reigning over this year’s royal ruckus we call Fiesta San Antonio are King Antonio XCVII Roger C. Hill III and Rey Feo LXXI Salvatore Arlindo Barbaro III.
These two merry monarchs have at least one thing in common — they “party with a purpose” and use their sovereign status to give back to the community.
“I’m ecstatic to be king,” said Barbaro, a physician. “What an honor.”
“I am thrilled to represent the Texas Cavaliers as King Antonio,” said Hill, a commercial real estate professional.
Since 1927, the Texas Cavaliers have selected one of their own to serve as King Antonio. The group collects millions in funds to aid charitable organizations.
Barbaro also has the community at heart, raising money for the Rey Feo Scholarship Foundation to help area students continue their higher education.
Their royal highnesses can expect some fun-fueled days during Fiesta, including appearances at schools, hospitals, parades and other celebratory events to carry out their personal mission statement along with some good cheer and excitement.
Barbaro’s personal message is, “God first, then family and then education.”
Hill’s lesson to children is to persevere and be brave.
King Antonio XCVII Roger C. Hill III
“I am really excited to be king and looking forward to visiting the different schools, hospitals and nursing homes to spread the Fiesta cheer,” said Hill, the 97th King Antonio. “I am looking forward to giving away over $1.3 million to the various children’s charities we support.”
As the representative of the Texas Cavaliers, King Antonio will help the Texas Cavaliers Foundation distribute money to 67 children’s charities in San Antonio and Bexar County.
Hill was elected King Antonio by the members of the Texas Cavaliers, for whom he also served as commander and parade marshal.
One of the other Fiesta joys he anticipates involves a little trip on the San Antonio River downtown.
“I am most looking forward to the Texas Cavaliers River Parade on April 22 at 7 p.m.,” said Hill.
Being King Antonio is something you never forget, he added.
“My family and I are so excited and looking forward to a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.
When he is not reigning as Fiesta royalty, he is in the commercial real estate business and is a senior vice president at Jones Lang Lasalle, or JLL. In his spare time, he loves being outdoors at his family ranch in South Texas and hunting, fishing or riding horses.
He and his wife, Sally, have been married since 2005 and are the parents of Cuatro, 10, and Ellie, 8.
Rey Feo LXXI Salvatore Arlindo Barbaro III
Barbaro’s role as the 71st Rey Feo will keep him pretty busy, but he also has plenty to do the rest of the year in his day job as a cardiologist with clinics in San Antonio, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Las Vegas.
And, yes, he loves to play golf — when he has some spare time.
Originally from Mahopac, New York, Barbaro has family ties to Rey Feo royalty thanks to his wife, Jennifer Gabriel Barbaro, one of the owners of Gabriel liquors whose family has a long association with the Fiesta crown.
“I could not be where I am if it weren’t for the support I have received from my wife, Jennifer. She steers the ship,” he said, adding he also receives plenty of backing from the scholarship foundation and former Rey Feos.
His father-in-law, Johnny Gabriel Sr., was Rey Feo XLIII and is the chairman and CEO of the scholarship organization. His wife’s uncle, Ronnie Gabriel, was Rey Feo LVIII.
The cardiologist is the father of seven children — Sal IV, Gregory, Michelle, Gabrielle, Dillon, Brooke and Sofia — ranging in age from 7 to 35.
Barbaro’s daughter Gabrielle was the Feria de las Flores Queen in 2015. Education is the focus during Barbaro’s time on the Fiesta throne.
“I look most forward to the school visits,” he said. “I will be going to over 60 elementary schools and will … go to several high schools. The high schools are going to be the most difficult, but probably have the greatest need. Talking to kids 3 to 7 years old about education is easy. The real challenge is the teenagers.”
The doctor added, “Trying to get them to do something with their life and not give up is going to be a personal goal of mine.”