2012's Event "Los Viejo Sabios"
Recognized and repsected for their knowledge and dedication to California vaquero heritage. Join us at Vaquero Heritage Days and meet these special individuals.
Vaquero & riata man Ray Ordway's lifestyle as a California vaquero, training horses and cattle ranching, began as a child along side his father Ira who at age 14 worked on the historic Rancho Jesus Maria along with future vaquero artist Ed Borein. Ira later ran cattle in Mendocino County on 88,000 acres under the Lazy Hook Diamond brand which Ray inherited. At 13 years of age, Ray himself was starting colts, using a riata and in the cattle business with his brother under the name Ordway Brothers. After graduating from school and serving a tour of duty in WWII, Ray hired out to some of the largest and well known cattle ranches in California including the Jack Ranch and H. Moffat & Co./Ingomar Division. He still prefers the "working Morgan horse" breed and has always followed the old vaquero-style of horse handling - hackmore, 2-rein and California's spade bit for a finished bridle horse with emphasis on light hands, slow and easy. Ray's knowledge, abilities and experiences as a vaquero are priceless. His grace and style of horsemanship are highly respected. Ray and his wife LaVerne today make their home in Madera, CA.
Photo by Richard Field Levine
Artist & horseman J.N. (Jack) Swanson worked in the Tehachapi's during the 1940's with many of the last great vaqueros. He broke and sold wild horses in Oregon working with top buckaroos in the northwest cow country. His ability to sketch and paint started early, and he paints from personal observation and knowledge of history using a sensitive eye that can catch and hold all the movements of horse and rider. Leaving
the vast rangelands of Nevada and eastern Oregon he moved south to the oak-covered hills of California, settling in Carmel Valley over 45 years ago with his wife Sally. They raised their family plus raised and trained fine stock horses. Today he and Sally remain on the ranch, and he continues to paint in his well-known studio with its indoor horse stall allowing him to paint horses and create bronze sculptures from life. Jack is one of the few fine artists today who has never used photo references for his paintings. He is a long-time member of the famed Cowboy Aritsts of America (CAA). His oils and bronze sculptures are sought by collectors worldwide and hang in many western museums.
Photo by Richard Field Levine
Vaquero, artist & author Ernest Morris is a fifth generation California cattleman. During his teen years he worked on various central coast ranches with older vaqueros and became fascinated with the traditional vaquero-style. His grandfather Jesse Wilkinson, a respected
vaquero, influenced Ernie in the vaquero lifestyle and rawhide braiding. At a young age, he developed an artistic ability portraying working vaqueros. His talent as an artist and a refined rawhide braider grew rapidly, and in 1964 he and his wife Blanche made the decision to focus on art as a full-time occupation working side-by-side exhibiting at western shows and events. Ernie prides himself in creating vaquero art remembrances of people, horses, gear, livestock situations in various art mediums, and he has excelled in braiding rawhide gear, wood carvings and horse hair mecates. Ernie has authored and illustrated numerous books about vaquero horsemanship and received numerous honors for his work. Today he and Blanche reside in Templeton, CA.
Photo courtesy Vaquero Enterprises