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Vaquero Days, 2012

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012

By: Chris Bashforth (Expired article)

Santa Ynez, CA -

The popular Vaquero Show and Sale to be held November 9, 10 and 11, 2012 at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum is a special weekend dedicated to honoring the lifestyle, culture and renowned horsemanship of the California Vaquero.

Known for their legendary equestrian skills the Vaqueros developed their unique style of horsemanship on the expansive cattle ranchos of Central California in the early to mid-1800s. The Vaquero “culture” developed into a fine art in California during the Mission era and into the Rancho era (and beyond) by the Spanish, Indians, Mexicans, and Gringos. The most skilled of the Vaquero equestrians were often referred to as “Californios”.

The Vaquero was also known for his distinctive apparel, tack, saddles and other equipment, which were as unique as his horsemanship skill. Vaquero history, horsemanship, gear, and lifestyle have remained a part of California heritage and continue to be preserved and celebrated with events like the 28th Annual Vaquero Show & Sale at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.

During the Vaquero Show weekend over 50 noted artisans, craftsmen and collectors from throughout the western United States will gather to display and sell hand-tooled leather saddles, braided Vaquero styled riatas, spurs, bridles, bits, reins and other Vaquero inspired horse tack. The show also features fine western art, apparel, old West memorabilia, quality hand crafted jewelry, leather goods, hats, rare books, and collectibles. Rarely will you find so many notable Western artists and true craftsmen gathered in one place. With the holidays fast approaching the Vaquero Show is just the right spot to pick up that one-of-a kind gift for your special cowboy or cowgirl!

The Vaquero Show weekend kicks off at 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 9, when the Historical Museum gates swing open to welcome guests to the popular VAQUERO PREVIEW PARTY. Attendees enjoy visiting the exhibitor booths and an opportunity for early shopping. Preview party guests can sample from a luscious array of “horse d’ouerves” while catching up with friends and listening to toe tappin’ western tunes by Ron Miller of the Full Gallop Band.

Meet the 2012 Honored Vaquero, Bruce Sandifer at the Gala banquet that begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Solvang Veteran’s Memorial Hall. A delicious BBQ meal prepared by Frank Ostini and The Hitching Post crew will be followed by a lively auction to benefit the Historical Museum in its mission to collect, preserve and to share Valley history through exhibitions, lectures, educational programming, and community events. Some of the live auction items include private gourmet dining for 10 at the historic Palacio del Rio, an authentic branding experience and food “event” on a well-known ranch, catered dinner at an historic rancho paired with exquisite wine, Vaquero roping lessons, original Western art and more!

Dinner reservations are $85, which includes admission to the Preview Party. Tickets for the Preview Party only are $20 and can be purchased in advance or at the gate.

On Saturday morning, November 10 the Vaquero show opens at 9:00 a.m. at the Santa Ynez Californio system of riding while explaining the balance points in each piece of riding gear and how they translate information to the horse.

In the afternoon at 2 pm Mike Bridges, highly respected Vaquero horseman, will demonstrate the connection between the Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and French influences relative to the development of the California Vaquero style horse training today.

A delicious carnitas tortas and taco lunch will be available for purchase in the Museum courtyard 11 am – 2 pm each day. Popular western music will be entertaining show attendees throughout the afternoon.

Return to the show on Sunday, November 11 at 10 am for more great shopping and horsemanship demonstrations. At 11 am Jo Johnson, California Morgan horse breeder, will discuss the Vaquero-style stages of bridle horse training and the significant role the working Morgan breed played in Vaquero history.

At 1:00 p.m. the winning ticket for a bridle ensemble with headstall made by Rick Layman, silver appointments by Old Cowdogs and snaffle bit by legendary craftsman, Chuck Irwin, will be awarded to the prize winning ticket holder. The Vaquero Show closes at 3:00 pm on Sunday.

The Vaquero Show is a community event, sponsored, in part, by the Santa Ynez Valley Hotel Association, museum members and local business supporters.

Space is limited at the Friday night Gala dinner catered by The Hitching Post restaurant so reservations are a must. Tickets for the Friday night Preview Party only are available in advance or may be purchased at the gate for $20. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday Vaquero Show and demonstrations are $5 per day or $7 for both days and may be purchased at the gate. Note that tickets to all events can be purchased on line at

Advanced ticket sales are also available at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, located at the corner of Sagunto and Faraday (3596 Sagunto Street) or by phoning 805-688-7889.

For more information and a schedule of Vaquero Show events visit the museum website: .

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