The Desert Caballeros
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Never underestimate the power of a block & tackle. Thanks Linda, it was fab to be there just wandering around. As usual for this area, everyone is very friendly.
Ooh, I wish I could go!
It would be awesome, wouldn’t it, LaVonne?
Yes, horse camping sounds wonderful. All we need are some horses, right? And maybe someone to teach us how to take care of them, lol.
Actually, that’s what a lot of the dude ranches here offer, and exclusively for women. Whatever you lack, there’s a solution here for that. But it can be breathtakingly expensive. I like to say that you have to be wealthy to own a horse, but if you do, you’re no longer wealthy.
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.
Oh man, if you love horses, Linda, Wickenburg is tailor-made for you!
wow, that looks like it was a good time, would love to see it
Yes! They leave in a Monday and amble back in about noon the following Friday. This year’s outing happens to be during a heat wave, but I’m sure they’ll manage.
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!