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Things to Do

31st Annual Vaquero Show & Sale to Feature Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell

The public is invited to attend the 31st annual Vaquero Show & Sale from Nov. 13–15, 2015, at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, located at 3596 Sagunto Street in historic downtown Santa Ynez. New this year is the Saturday evening performance of nationally recognized Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell.

All proceeds from the Vaquero Show & Sale benefit the not-for-profit museum in its mission to collect, preserve and share the rich history of the area. The event is popular for visitors and residents, sponsored, in part, by Visit Santa Ynez Valley; museum members and business supporters. 

During this  31st annual Vaquero Show & Sale weekend, 50 noted artisans, craftsmen and collectors from throughout the western United States will gather to display and sell their custom, hand-tooled leather saddles, braided Vaquero styled riatas, silver spurs, bridles, bits, reins and other Vaquero inspired horse tack. 

The show also features quality Western art, classic apparel, old West memorabilia, hand-crafted jewelry, leather goods, hats, books and collectibles. The Vaquero Show & Sale is the largest of its kind in California and is a must see for those interested in anything authentically handcrafted “Western.”     

Following is a schedule of events for 31st annual Vaquero Show & Sale.

Friday, November 13, 2015

4:30 p.m Attendees can visit the over 50 exhibitor booths at the Viva los Vaqueros Preview, an opportunity for early shopping before the show opens to the public Saturday, while sampling luscious “horse d’oeuvres” and listening to toe tappin’ western tunes by Steve Woods. 

6:30 p.m. A scrumptious sirloin and herb chicken dinner with all the trimmings (as well as a vegetarian option) will be served buffet-style in the Museum courtyard, followed by a lively auction to benefit the Historical Museum. 

Special recognition will be given at the dinner to Jim and Linda Grimm, owners of the Museum of the Cowboy in Santa Ynez, who have carried on the preservation of Vaquero art and culture for decades. 

Event tickets are $70 for museum members and $80 for non-members. (Tickets include preview show with reception, dinner, a drink ticket, auction and entertainment).

Saturday, November 14, 2015   

9–5 p.m. Vaquero Show & Sale at the Historical Museum. One-day passes ($5) are available at the gate. 

11:00 a.m. Pat Puckett, Vaquero roper extraordinaire, will demonstrate roping techniques. 

11–2 p.m. Cowboy barbecue sandwich lunch and cocktails available for purchase in Museum courtyard. 

12–4 p.m. Musical entertainment by Tony Ybarra in the Museum Courtyard

2 p.m. Ramon Becerra, local horseman and entertainer, will demonstrate early Californio horse training techniques along with his amazing bare back roping talents.

6 p.m. An Evening of Cowboy Poetry & Humor with Waddie Mitchell

“I can’t ever remember ‘finding’ cowboy poetry,” Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell says of the entertaining and enduring art of storytelling. “It was always there. The cowboys sure never called it poetry. I know I wouldn’t have liked it if they would have. Seems like an oxymoron, don’t it!?”

Internationally recognized, Mitchell has performed for audiences from Los Angeles to Zurich to Melbourne, done television appearances including The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The History Channel, PBS and CMT. 

After cowboy-ing and managing a 36,000-acre ranch in Nevada for more than 25 years, he chose to pursue the art form of storytelling that he’s loved since he was young. He co-founded the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada in 1984 and has won numerous awards and accolades. 

Mitchell has made seven CDs including Buckaroo Poet, Lone Drifting Rider and That No Quit Attitude as well as four books Waddie's Whole LoadA Cowboy's Night Before Christmas and Lone Driftin' Rider and 100 Poems

Event tickets are available for $20 at the door and online now at www.santaynezmuseum.org

Sunday, November 15, 2015

10–3 p.m. Vaquero Show & Sale at the Historical Museum. One-day passes ($5) are available at the gate.

11 a.m. Jeff Derby demonstrates his unique Vaquero horsemanship.

11–2 p.m. Cowboy barbecue sandwich lunch and cocktails available for purchase in Museum courtyard. 

12–3 p.m. Western-style musical entertainment by Owen Johnston in the Museum courtyard

1 p.m. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn for a handcrafted headstall by Juan Lara paired with a silver Ventura low port bit crafted by Gary Field in the Field family tradition. Winner need not be present to win. Raffle tickets are $5 each or $25 for a book of six tickets.

3 p.m. Show closes.

According to Museum executive director Chris Bashforth, this special weekend celebration is dedicated to honoring the lifestyle, culture and renowned horsemanship of the California Vaquero (cowboy). Known for their legendary equestrian skills, the Vaqueros developed their unique style of horsemanship while tending the immense mission herds for 80 years before the Texas cowboy appeared on the North American scene. 

Influenced by the Spanish, Native Americans, Mexicans and Gringos, these hard riding pioneer cow hands developed their own unique Vaquero “culture” into a fine art during California’s Mission and Rancho eras. The most skilled of the Vaquero equestrians were often referred to as “Californios.” 

Even today, the Vaquero’s influence can still be seen in the techniques used by the cattle industry in California. It is this Vaquero horsemanship, gear and lifestyle that have remained a part of California heritage and continue to be preserved and celebrated with events like the Vaquero Show & Sale at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.  

Advance ticket sales for the Viva los Vaqueros Preview & Dinner Party and the Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell performance are available online at www.santaynezmuseum.org, in person at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, located at 3596 Sagunto Street or by phoning 805.688.7889. 

Tickets for Saturday and Sunday Vaquero Show and demonstrations are $5 per day and may be purchased at the gate. 

For more information, visit the Vaquero Show & Sale Facebook page or www.santaynezmuseum.org  

— Laura Kath is a publicist representing the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.

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