Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 3:03 pm | Fair 59º


Vaquero Show & Sale Wrangles Up Best of Pioneer Cowhand Culture

Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum

Bruce Sandifer demonstrates how to put a leather bosal on his horse.
Bruce Sandifer demonstrates how to put a leather bosal on his horse. (Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum)

The public is invited to attend the 32nd Annual Vaquero Show & Sale Friday, Nov. 1, through Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, 3596 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez.

All proceeds from the event benefit the nonprofit museum in its mission to collect, preserve and share the rich history of the region.

During this 32nd Annual Vaquero Show & Sale weekend, 50 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, and reins.

The show also features quality western art, classic apparel, old West memorabilia, custom boots, hand-crafted jewelry, leather goods, hats, books and collectibles.

There will be live demonstrations throughout the weekend of the unique styles of the Californio Vaquero roping tradition from experts including Pat and Deb Puckett and Bruce Sandifer working with their bridle horses.

Guests will learn about the methods the early Californio Vaqueros used to work cattle in the safest, most humane ways on the vast open range of the mid-1800’s.

Schedule of events:

5 p.m.: Viva los Vaqueros Preview and Dinner Party. Visit exhibitor booths and do early shopping before the show opens to the public on Saturday. Sample sample "horse d’oeuvres,” local wines, cocktails and listen to Western tunes by Steve Woods.  
6:30 p.m.: Special Recognition Ceremony — Families of Rancho San Julian – Celebrating the Poetts and founding families of Rancho San Julian, one of last, great Spanish-Mexican land grants that remain in the family of the original grantee in California.

Live auction after ceremony. All proceeds support the sustainability of the museum, its educational programming and history exhibitions.

7:30 p.m.: Gala Dinner. Sirloin and stuffed-chicken dinner served buffet-style with all the trimmings (also a vegetarian option) by JR Catering in museum courtyard.

Friday evening event tickets are $80 for museum members, $90 for non-members. Tickets include preview show with reception, dinner, a drink ticket, auction and entertainment.
9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Vaquero Show & Sale at Historical Museum. $5 for a one-day pass available at the gate.

1 p.m.:  Live Vaquero Roping Demonstration by Pat and Deb Puckett, showing different loops, such as Houlihan, del Viento and Johnny Blocker, which the Vaqueros used when doctoring or branding cattle.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Cowboy BBQ Sandwich Lunch and cocktails available for purchase in museum courtyard.
Noon-4 p.m.: Music by Ron Miller of the Full Gallop Band in museum courtyard
2 p.m.: Vaquero Roping Demonstration by Boone Campbell, Bruce Sandifer and local Vaquero ropers
5 p.m.: Exhibits closed; reopen 10 a.m. Sunday.

6:30-8:30 p.m.: Cowboy Campfire in museum courtyard: Chili-and-corn-bread supper, cowboy poetry by Dan Hess, and Western music by Art Green. Cost is $25 per person for meal and entertainment. Tickets available online at and at gate.
10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Vaquero Show & Sale at Historical Museum. $5 for a one-day pass available at the gate.
11 a.m.:  Live Vaquero Roping demonstration.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Cowboy BBQ Sandwich Lunch and cocktails available for purchase in museum courtyard.
Noon-3 p.m.: Western-style musical entertainment by Owen Johnston in museum courtyard.
1 p.m.: Winning raffle ticket drawn for custom bridle set; headstall by Doug Cox, with silver appointments by Old Cow Dogs; bit by Chuck Irwin; reins by Bruce Haener; bosal and braided rope by Bruce Sandifer. Winner need not be present. Raffle tickets are $5 each or $25 for a book of six tickets.
3 p.m.: Show closes
Advance ticket sales for the Viva los Vaqueros Preview & Dinner Party and Cowboy Campfire are at or at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, corner, 3596 Sagunto St., or by phoning 688-7889.

Tickets for Saturday and Sunday Vaquero Show and live roping demonstrations are $5 per day and may be purchased at the gate.  
The Vaquero Show & Sales is a community event, sponsored, in part, by Visit Santa Ynez Valley, museum members and local business supporters.
The weekend celebration is dedicated to honoring the lifestyle, culture and renowned horsemanship of the California Vaquero (cowboy), said Chris Bashforth, museum executive director.

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, Bashforth said.

Influenced by the Spanish, Indians, Mexicans and Gringos, these hard-riding pioneer cowhands 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,” Bashforth said.
He added, 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.

— Laura Kath for Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.

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