Like “cats and dogs,” “oil and vinegar,” or “black and white,” cowboys and Indians is one of those pairings of opposites that have almost become a cliché. The following two offerings allow fans of either or both a good dose of each.

Viva Vaquero Show

From Friday, November 10 through Sunday, November 12, the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society and Carriage Museum presents “Viva Vaquero 2006,” its annual show and sale that benefits the Society and its programs. This event is considered one of the best of its kind, and attracts aficionados from all over who come to celebrate the traditions of California’s earliest cowboy, the vaquero.

The Friday preview party and gala dinner provides a festive kick-off for a full weekend of activities, details of which are listed below.

Indian Art

On view at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is “Painting History: Catlin and Bodmer in Nineteenth Century America,” a rare opportunity to view the work of two artists who traveled in America in the 1830s, painting the Indian tribes they encountered. Linda Miller, curator of the museum’s John and Peggy Maximus Gallery, has organized a fine selection of American Indian portraits and tribal scenes from the permanent collection, augmented by a variety of material from the museum’s anthropological holdings.

Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) was a Swiss native, and an accomplished artist when he was hired to accompany Prince Maximilian of Wied on his 18-month North American expedition. George Catlin (1796-1872) was self-taught, and dedicated his life to documenting individual personalities, as well as the daily rituals, of more than 50 Indian tribes. The bodies of work that both artists produced were nearly lost to history, but through fortuitous circumstances were rescued and returned to the public’s eye. The efforts of Catlin and Bodmer have become a priceless window to the past, and the opportunity to see their meticulous work is a special privilege that should not be missed.

Note: To see your tax dollars at work in a good way, visit the award-winning website maintained by the Smithsonian Institution entitled “Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter with Two Cultures” at Its multimedia format provides enough comprehensive and fascinating information for a whole evening of entertainment.

Mark Your Calendar

Friday, November 10

Vaquero Show Preview Party

4 pm to 7 pm

Admission $20

Santa Ynez Historical Society and Carriage Museum

3596 Sagunto Street

Santa Ynez

Enjoy early buying privileges, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment by Jay Parsons, and ceremonial branding of the Carriage House doors by Heritage Ranch sponsors.

Friday, November 10

Vaquero Show Gala Dinner

7 pm to 9:30 pm

Solvang Veteran’s Hall

Tickets $65 each (includes admission to Preview Party listed above)

For reservations call 688-7889, or visit

The gala dinner will include an awards presentation and live auction. Peter and Nancy Luton Jackson, who share a rich tradition of cattle ranching in the Santa Ynez Valley and Nevada, are the “Honored Vaqueros 2006.” Paul Sollosy, whose detailed depictions of California horsemen have long been sought by collectors, will receive the “Vaquero Heritage Award 2006.” The centerpiece of the live auction will be a painting created by Ernie Morris especially for this event, where he has also been named “Honored Vaquero Craftsman 2006.”

Saturday, November 11

Benefit Vaquero Show

Santa Ynez Historical Society

3596 Sagunto Street

9 am to 5 pm

Admission $5, or $7 for a 2-day pass.

Browse among vendors for cowboy art, western tack and memorabilia. At 10 am, noted western horse trainer Les Vogt will give an exhibition, followed by Pat Puckett, who will demonstrate Californio-style roping. Lunch will be available, provided by the “Cowboy Caterers” Billy and Sue Ruiz.

Sunday, November 12

Benefit Vaquero Show

Santa Ynez Historical Society 3596 Sagunto Street

9 am to 3 pm

Admission $5

A chuck wagon Pancake Breakfast will be served at 9 am (price is $5), and vendors will be open all day. At 10:30 am, trainer Ramon Bacerra will discuss charro saddles and give a performance with his Spanish trick horse. Lunch will be available. A raffle drawing will be held at 2 pm, for the prize of a hand-crafted headstall fitted with Old Cowdogs custom conchos and a bit made by Santa Barbara silversmith Ed Field.

Saturday, November 18

Illustrated lecture entitled “Painting History:

The Art of George Catlin and Karl Bodmer” by Amy Scott,

Curator of Visual Arts,

Museum of the American West,

Autry National Center.

2 pm, Fleischmann Auditorium

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

2559 Puesta del Sol Road cost is $5 for students,

$6 for museum members,

$8 for non-members.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Last day of exhibition “Painting History:

Catlin and Bodmer in Nineteenth Century America”

John and Peggy Maximus Gallery, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

2559 Puesta del Sol Road

Open 10 am to 5 pm daily,

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (65 and over) and youths (13-17), $5 for children (2-12),

kids under age 2 are free.

The third Sunday of every month, admission is free to the public.

For more information call 682-4711, or visit