‘Vaquero of the Year’ honors professional cowboy John McCarty

Photo contributed Local cowboy John McCarty is being recognized as “Vaquero of the Year” for this year’s Vaquero Show and Sale at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.

Show and Sale takes place Nov. 12-14 at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum

 

By Raiza Giorgi

publisher@santaynezvalleystar.com

 

The local cowboy tradition goes back more than two centuries, and a tradition of honoring those who have kept that spirit alive is in its 37th year at the annual Vaquero Show and Sale. This year’s event takes place Nov. 12-14 at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum with a lineup of cowboy fun. 

This years Vaquero of the Year” is John McCarty, a renowned horse trainer and former head cowboy for the Hollister Ranch for more than 40 years. 

“I am grateful to the SY Historical Museum for recognizing the value or the vaquero tradition and looking forward to celebrating this honor. I join this in good company of those chosen before me,” McCarty said humbly. 

McCarty grew up in Southern California and came from a family that raised thoroughbred horses. He says that he was pretty much “born on a horse” and knew at a young age riding the range and herding cattle would be his full-time career. 

McCarty worked his way from being a ranch hand doing chores to breaking young foals and eventually becoming manager of the cattle operation. 

The cattle operation at Hollister has been in existence since the mid-1700s and is the primary agricultural use on the ranch. 

He left the ranch four years ago to become a horse trainer at his facility on Drum Canyon between Buellton and Lompoc. His professional “Reining/Cow Horse” training is flourishing and clients from throughout the West are sending him their young horses to get them started properly. McCarty fully prepares the horses for their future jobs, either out on the range gathering cattle or in the competitive show arena.

The Vaquero Show will be an action-packed weekend of entertainment and fun as artisans and collectors from across the United States will show their hand-crafted goods including saddles, bridles, bits and spurs, as well as Western art including original paintings and sculpture.

The weekend kicks off with a gala dinner and pre-party” from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12. New this year is the pig roast and barn dance Saturday evening (time TBD) at Pork Palace near Buellton. 

The fun continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday with a vendor showcase and roping demonstrations throughout the day. 

For more information about the Vaquero Show and Sale or to buy tickets, call 805-688-7889 ext. 104 or go to www.santaynezmuseum.org.