Chatting at the Californios

by Jan Young

Published in Eclectic Horseman
July/August 2006, Issue No. 30, p. 10

What could be more fun than EH chat room friends meeting at the Californios? Imagine a rendezvous of horsemen and women, age 16 to 60's, from Nevada, California, Montana, Massachusetts and Australia. Imagine the year-long planning and anticipation, then the squeals of excitement, hugs, laughter and the joy of finally meeting some of your best friends!

Last May's chat discussion of the Californios led to wishful thinking that we could all go next time. What cemented the plan was Reata's decision to come from Australia. From east to west, from north to south, from Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere, the "big loop" of the Californios drew us all in.

Foxy, Clue and Reata spent a few days at the Cinch's in Winnemucca, Nevada following Red Bluff, with the focus on riding and roping. Heading to Foxy's, Clue and Reata saw spring in the West, from heat to snow, from high Sierras to high desert. Reata met another Montana chat friend, Keeps, and accompanied her to a horse fair in Plains. Foxy, Reata and Keeps spent several days riding.

In their words…

Reata: "Well it happened!! From a suggestion by Babyred more than 12 months ago to the full-blown plans made only weeks previously, the chat room gang made it to The Californios in RedBluff!!! What a great time was had. Great horses, wonderful horsemen, an array of gear to wish for, those BIG LOOPS!

"But best of all were those people who live in my 'puter.' I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on some of my closest buddies. I thank you Emily and EH for providing us with the medium so we all could meet. What a small world it is when you can find so many soul mates right in your living room. Different we all are, but we all wear our heart on our sleeve when it comes to good friends and the horses that bought us all together. We are family."
Marie Walters, Geelong, Australia

Clue: "What an event! What a treat to watch good horses and good men working harmoniously in partnership to accomplish a common purpose. Watching the competition was even more special because of the friends I shared the experience with. This was the first time some of us had met in person but we were not strangers to each other. After years of chatting on the EH chatroom we had already formed strong and lasting bonds of friendship. The Californios fed my eyes, mind and imagination; my spirit was filled by the fellowship we enjoyed at the Californios and the many days we shared together after the competition. God has blessed us richly and I thank Him!"
Karen Yesair, Byfield, MA

Code: "Californios was an amazing experience. A true picture of unity between horse and horseman was displayed from the most seasoned bridle horse to a young snaffle bit horse."
Cody Patterson, Lockeford, CA

Cinch: "It's just amazing that the friendships formed through a computer chat room can bring together like-minded people from all over the world to such an event."
Jack Young, Winnemucca, NV

Foxy: "I have became acquainted with so many wonderful people over the years through the chat, from TTLT to Eclectic. We become family, sharing our passion of horses. Words on the chat can tell one so much, just like a horse's eye and the feel? I have met quite a few in person now and my family continues to grow.

"Not only did we get to see the finest horsemenship and roping--my good friend Buck B gave me his broken reata for a hat band to go with my autographed Ray Hunt hat. Thanks to the Cinches for their hospitality, good horsemanship, and accomodations on our trip home. Thanks to Keeps for taking Reata and me riding."
Sandy Fox, Noxon, MT

Babyred: "I think the fact that all of the chatters put forth the effort, based on 'feel,' is what means the most to me…such a diverse group. Some new to the Vaquero Traditions, some well seasoned. The basis for this traditional way of life is caring. Watching the roping with all of the life lessons, a lifestyle based on traditions…people that I admire, so skilled, so unpretentious…riding horses who have been treated in the fairest of manner…try, miss, try, change, try again.

"But at the heart of the matter were the Chatters, who, based on love of horse and honor of friendship, turned a not-to-miss event into a the start of a once-in-a-lifetime memory we intend to nurture for years to come. We have started something traditional within this group. It is the fabric of our lives. Thank you Emily and Steve for providing the threads."
Patti Martin, Agua Dulce, CA

Plans are being made for our next rendezvous--March 2007 at Winnemucca's famous Ranch Hand Rodeo. Come and join us--share the fun and make some new friends! Oh…and Emily? Thanks a bunch!

By Jan Young (MrsC)

Photo: (left to right)
Back row: Code, Clue, Babyred, Cinch, MrsC (Cody Patterson, Karen Yesair, Patti Martin, Jack Young, Jan Young)
Front row: Duck, Reata, Foxy (Kim Ortamond, Marie Walters, Sandy Fox)