Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

The Desert Caballeros

 

The departure out of Wickenburg.

The departure out of Wickenburg.

Each year since 1947, an event called the Desert Caballeros Ride takes place. An invitation-only event, it provides a couple hundred riders the opportunity to ride and camp in the surrounding mountains for five days, and then it’s over too soon until next year. This year’s 180 riders will split into groups of forty and move between three camps over about 100 miles before returning. This now-historic ride has inspired several others in the area, including one exclusively for horsewomen (who showed their more civilized natures by chipping in for a portable shower).

A few local horses were individually trailered in, and this one of them. What a beauty.

A few local horses were individually trailered in, and this one of them. What a beauty.

So, what I’m presenting here is not a parade through town, per se. It’s simply the orderly departure of some 180 riders heading off for the desert. As Wickenburg is at the juncture of two state highways and lacks a suburban-style network of roads, these boys clog up this town quite effectively for fifteen minutes or so as they head right down the main drags. You’d think the town’s police would view it as an annual nuisance, but not so, not from what I saw and heard. The ride is a part of Wickenburg’s proud heritage, and the town now depends substantially on tourist and vacationer dollars. Although there are other equine events, any loss of interest in this ride would directly impact the town’s ability to promote itself. If anything, it’s in Wickenburg’s best interests to protect and promote it, and that attitude is apparent in the officers having to reroute through-traffic with minimal delay to everyone involved. I was impressed. Calm, confident and friendly, without a hint of grumpiness.

This shows most of the trailers, but let's just say there was a heap o' horsies.

This shows most of the trailers, but let’s just say there was a heap o’ horsies.

More than a few of these riders have been heading out for a couple of decades. Many are local, many are not. The age span runs wide. It’s apparently a good time, and once you’re hooked, there’s no way you’re not going next year. I was able to tour the Community Center’s parking lot among a half-dozen long, long horse trailers, and here is a little of what I saw.

This critter may not win the running or barrel races they hold out there, but he's still impressive.

This critter may not win the running or barrel races they hold out there, but he’s still impressive.

Going for altitude. I wondered if the rider's ears popped as he climbed into the saddle.

Going for altitude. I wondered if the rider’s ears popped as he climbed into the saddle.

A few of the horses are used as pack animals, and this rig allows that.

A few of the horses are used as pack animals, and this rig allows that.

The town's newspaper reporter quickly zeroed in on the fuzzy horse's owner for an interview.

The town’s newspaper reporter quickly zeroed in on the fuzzy horse’s owner for an interview.

As you saunter down the string, it's just one horse after another.

As you saunter down the string, it’s just one horse after another.

Up into the saddle he goes for a quick lap around first.

Up into the saddle he goes for a quick lap around first.

This kid looks like me in the saddle, only smaller. But it's fun and memorable!

This kid looks like me in the saddle, only smaller. But it’s fun and memorable!

Ready and waiting...

Ready and waiting…

Okay, one last shot! Hold it...

Okay, one last shot! Hold it…

Zzzzz...

Zzzzz…

This was nice to see - unless of course she was actually escorting him back home...

This was nice to see – unless of course she was actually escorting him back home…

That's the trouble with liking tall horses.

That’s the trouble with liking tall horses.

This young lady had a voice! She sang some fun, classical cowboy songs, and it didn't faze her a wink when the recorded background music flamed out a couple of times.

This young lady had a voice! She sang some fun, classical cowboy songs, and it didn’t faze her a wink when the recorded background music flamed out a couple of times.

Waiting, waiting...

Waiting, waiting…

A group came in from another assembly point to join the main gathering.

A group came in from another assembly point to join the main gathering.

And so it begins, led by 13,000 pounds of flying wedge, with badges and guns.

And so it begins, led by 13,000 pounds of flying wedge, with badges and guns.

About this point, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to capture a sense of the size of this thing with still shots.

About this point, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to capture a sense of the size of this thing with still shots.

I had to laugh at myself at this point. I’m pretty helpless on a horse, but enjoy occasional riding – or rather walking onboard a horse when the opportunity presents and I’m not preoccupied with chasing down the almighty dollar. And after an hour in the saddle, my bod’s pretty well cooked. But still, I was jealous of these guys! It was great to watch them leave though, knowing that they’d have an enjoyable and memorable ride for the next few days. Yeee haa! Good times.

The video below approaches 30MB when uploaded, so don’t click on it if your monthly Internet account is data-impaired.

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13 thoughts on “The Desert Caballeros

  1. Chris lemcke on said:

    I love the pictures,but where are all the women????

    • Off enjoying the freedom from tyranny! I was told that there’s a women’s equivalent ride, but so far, Google is only coughing up hosted women’s-only events at any of 11 local dude ranches.

  2. Linda Sand on said:

    I’m not sure even standing on that bench would be enough to get my creaky old body up on a horse now but I did enjoy the few rides I took way back when. Now, I’m content to watch others do this. Thanks for sharing this event with us.

  3. Ooh, I wish I could go!

  4. Linda Barton on said:

    I love horses and now this event will be yet another must see on my very long list and if I don’t get to see it thanks for sharing.

  5. Debbie on said:

    wow, that looks like it was a good time, would love to see it

  6. I am so glad you captured some on video! It really does show how big this event is! I too love horses and there is a ladies ride LaVonne and Linda. Las Damas in May! Boy that would be fun wouldn’t it! Here is the link that mentions the Ladies ride in the third paragraph. I guess the chamber of commerce would have more info. 🙂 Boy maybe someday! Too Much Fun!

    http://www.wickenburgaz150th.com/family-blog/wickenburgarizona%E2%80%93arealhistoricwesterncommunity

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