The horsemen winding their way through the Santa Ynez Mountains in the picture on the opposite page are the members of a group known as Los Rancheros Visitadores. So named after the socializing Spaniards of Old California, the modern-day Rancheros try to recapture a bit of the past when they gather once a year for their annual ride through the mission country around Santa Barbara. The Rancheros officially open their trek with a blessing from the Franciscan Fathers at the Santa Barbara Mission and the now-traditional cry, "Ride, Rancheros!" Besides having fun on the trail, the Rancheros support 4-H Clubs and restore historical landmarks. See page 21 for more on the Rancheros.
River crossing proves no obstacle as Rancheros ford Santa Ynez on way to gymkhana at Camp Santa Cruz. This year rain forced the riders to cover 41 miles in one day.
Trek begins after Rancheros pay a visit of respect to the historic (1786) Santa Barbara Mission. Senoritas greeting the caballeros are local girls decked in Spanish colonial costumes.
Luncheon session at midday stop finds members of Los Gringos detachment of Rancheros resting in folding chairs fit for a convention of Hollywood directors. Rancheros' camps vary in luxury. But most groups tote along bar, piano and musicians to help members and their guests while away the evening hours.
Beer wagon is a popular commissary refinement. Wagon, used solely to haul ice-cold beer, waits for riders at appointed intervals. Most Rancheros drink in saddle, then push along trail.
Greased pig squeals and squirms as Art Pollard of Tucson tries to hold on. Nine Rancheros entered pig-catching contest. Winner was Brigadier General Wayne O. Kester of Washington, D.C.
Orchid display on hat of Ralph Harris of Santa Barbara draws admiring sniff from Allan H. Mogensen of Lake Placid N.Y. during refreshment stop.
Expert horsemanship is demonstrated to Rancheros as horse and rider show how to open, pass through and close gate without rider dismounting.