Charles ‘Tyke’ Minetti receives the 1972 Santa Barbara County Fair Champion Stock Horse Award – a hand-tooled saddle.
Charles ‘Tyke’ Minetti receives the 1972 Santa Barbara County Fair Champion Stock Horse Award – a hand-tooled saddle. (Photo courtesy of Tyke Minetti)

The board of directors of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum (SYVHM) is pleased to announce that Charles “Tyke” Minetti has been named the 2019 Vaquero of the Year.

Tyke will be honored and presented with his award on Friday, Nov. 8,  at the annual Vaquero Gala benefit celebration and sale private preview party, which officially launches a weekend of exciting events.

Now in its 35th year, the Museum’s Vaquero Show and Sale promotes the traditions and influences of the California Vaquero way of life and is a tribute to it. This year’s honoree and his family are integral part of this heritage. 

Born to parents Rosalie and Clarence Minetti, Tyke grew up in Guadalupe with his younger sisters, Susie and Marie, on the family’s Corralitos Ranch, where Tyke’s father learned the ranching business from Rosalie’s father.

As Tyke explains, “I was just born into ranching and that is all I know.”

After graduating from Santa Maria High School, he started his career as a modern day Vaquero, and eventually became the ranch manager who oversaw “dry farming” hay production, an extensive cattle operation and an award winning quarter horse breeding and showing program.

He and his wife, Sheryll, are now “retired” to a smaller ranch in Tepusquet, where he runs a second cattle operation along with the one at Corralitos, which keep him busy from sunrise to sunset.

“This is a particularly busy time of year, “ he says, “because of the constant need to check on calving heifers; making certain the pasture is safe for them; assisting in the birthing process if necessary; shipping part of the herd to market; and, selecting breeding stock for the spring.”

Tyke points out, “This is also when my assistant and I do all the maintenance work on the ranches and repair all the equipment.”

Together with his father, Tyke bred and trained quality quarter horses like Doc’s Cowboy, who went on with his trainer to be named reserve champion in the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1972 in Santa Rosa, California.

There, Clarence and Tyke purchased a 2-year old filly named Forget Me Not, who Tyke trained and showed and, together, won the 1973 Non-Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity also held in Santa Rosa.

Another mount, Doc’s Know How, the first off-spring of Doc’s Cowboy, then went on with Tyke to win the 1975 Non-Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity held in Reno, Nevada.

Throughout his showing career, Tyke enjoyed many successes, including his first 12 wins in the stock horse division at the Santa Barbara Fiesta Horse Show, for which he received a hand tooled saddle and subsequently in future wins, garnered 21 additional saddles and 7 bridles.

Most of these accomplishments were on horses Tyke bred, raised and trained to carry him to the top of the sport.

In recognition of his pursuit of excellence in producing high quality livestock (both horses and cattle) he was named Livestock Producer of the Year in 2008. In 2011, Tyke was named “Honorary Vaquero” by the Old Spanish Days Stock Horse Show and Rodeo, an honor his father received in 1988, and his brother-in-law, Paul Righetti, in 2016.

Tyke’s parents also created the distinctive and original dining experience when they opened the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe in 1958.

Tyke shares that the cost of retrofitting the restaurant in Guadalupe was prohibitive, so the family decided to relocate it to Orcutt in 2012. The Minetti clan brings together multiple generations and 60 years of a family run operation.

The menu, locally and organically sourced, reflects the family’s Swiss and Italian heritage, as well as premium beef selections including Clarence Minetti’s signature “Bull’s Eye Steak” and the perfected art and craft of the Santa Maria Barbecue.

Tyke and Sheryll enjoy spending family time with their son, Tom, and daughter, Michelle, and their respective families. 

For more information about the Vaquero Gala, Show and Sale, please contact Teresa Mills at 805.688.7889 ext. 104 or at info@santaynezmuseum.org.

About Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum

Founded in 1961, the mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House is “preserving, interpreting and celebrating the history of human experience in California’s Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast by informing, educating, inspiring and engaging Museum guests of all ages and backgrounds.”

The museum is the official caretaker of the valley’s rich cultural history, housing one of the finest collections of antique, horse-drawn carriages and wagons in the western United States, examples of finely crafted Chumash and other Native American basketry, pottery and artifacts, one-of-a-kind horse saddlery and tack from days gone by and Western sculptures, paintings, books and handicrafts.

As  the “hub” for social gatherings in the Valley, the museum sponsors events and celebrations throughout the year, including gallery openings, Festival of the Vines, Vaquero Gala, Show and Sale, Wild West Camp and educational tours for children and food and wine tastings that highlight the economic importance of the wine and agricultural industries in shaping the Valley’s future.

To learn more, visit and become a member, visit www.santaynezmuseum.org.