Heel Shot watercolor by 2006 honored Vaquero artist Paul Sollosy (1911-2012). (Courtesy of the artist)
The 35rd annual Vaquero Gala, Show & Sale, celebrating Western lifestyle and horsemanship in the community, is set for Friday, Nov. 8-Sunday, Nov. 10.
The event, which honors the culture and equine skills of the California vaquero (cowboy), is the year’s most important fundraiser for the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum (SYVHM), which is hosting the event along with Parks-Janeway Carriage House, 3596 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez.
Tickets are $150 per person for the Friday evening gala, 5-10 p.m., which is historically a sellout event. Tickets are available on the museum’s website santaynezmuseum.org.
Celebration plans include a sale preview party, cocktails, a fall dinner feast, live music, and presentation of the Vaquero of the Year award.
There will be live and silent auctions with a variety of items including trips to Mexico and Hawaii, flyfishing, dinner parties, and wine tours. The paddle-raise auction generates funding for the museum’s growing educational program for school children and adults.
The event contines with the Vaquero Sale, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, featuring a gathering of noted artisans and collectors from throughout the western U.S.
Craftspeople will display for sale hand-tooled leather saddles, braided Vaquero-styled riatas, bridles, reins, horse tack, Western artwork, apparel, jewelry, memorabilia, house decor and collectables.
Both days feature family-oriented activities, such as a traditional Vaquero horsemanship demonstration with Bruce Sandifer, Jeff Mundell and other experts, 11 a.m.-noon and 2-3 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-noon Sunday. A traditional Californio Folkloricos dance ensemble will perform 10-11 a.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
On both days, visitors can enjoy live music and lunch at Café Vaquero, presented by Kurt Alldredge of The Chef’s Touch.
“We have worked so hard this year to not only keep our fantastic mainstay vendors but also bring in new, high-quality vendors for our attendees to visit and shop with,” said Charlotte Beccera, SYVHM Board member and Vaquero Show event committee member.
“We will have a solid array of art, tack, gear, collectibles, artifacts, jewelry and more,” she said. “Our attendees come year after year expecting the best of the Vaquero world and it has been our goal this year to deliver just that.”
Vaqueros developed on the expansive cattle ranchos of Central California during the Spanish/Mexican Colonial period. They blended classic European horsemanship and the rough-and-ready riding style of early California ranchers. A distinctive style of apparel, tack, saddles and other unique horse equipment evolved over time.
These skilled horsemen were, in the mid-1800s, considered some of the finest equestrians in the world. The rich Vaquero culture continues to thrive today, as seen at the museum’s 35th annual traditional fall celebration.
“The museum’s Vaquero celebration showcases the positive energy and spirit of Valley residents and our members,” said Brian Stenfors, museum director. “It’s one of the many ways we work to make history come alive and present and preserve valued traditions for future generations.
“I encourage people to come out to enjoy the festivities; you’re guaranteed a fun time and it’s a great way to support our non-profit organization,” Stenfors said. “We like to express our thank to this year’s sponsors to date:
“The Paul Slavik Family, Elliott & Pohls Construction, Riata Oaks-Nick Vande Steeg, Montecito Bank and Trust, WealthSource Partners, C&D, llp, Bright Event Rentals, Nirvana Hyperbaric Institute and Mechanics Bank.“
For more information or sponsorship, contact Teresa Mills, 805-688-7889 ext. 104 or at [email protected]
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 cultural history, housing one of the finest collections of antique, horse-drawn carriages and wagons in the western U.S., examples of Chumash and other Native American basketry, pottery and artifacts, vintage horse saddlery, Western sculptures, paintings, books and handicrafts.
To learn more, visit and become a member, visit www.santaynezmuseum.org.
— Sarah Ettman-Sterner for Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.