Friday, April 22, 2016

Sombrero Horse Drive

(credit visitmoffatcounty for the header photo)

Looking forward to next weekend when I plan to drive to Maybell, CO for the annual Sombrero Horse Drive. The Sombrero Ranches are a large dude ranch operation with several CO locations. They winter their large herd in the Browns Park area which has milder (relative) winters and the horses can get by on range forage instead of hay.

Come Spring, the horses are rounded up and trailed to a ranch outside of Craig, CO where they are prepared for the dude season and distributed to the various Sombrero operations (Estes Park being a large one, for instance).

Some time back, the owners found they could charge a big fee ($2,500 this year) to dudes wanting the cowboy experience. 

Maybell is something of an epicenter for the extended clan on my father’s side and the horse drive has evolved into a family reunion of sorts. So we all gather to drink adult beverages, tell lies, and sneer at the dudes. As the years go by, fewer beverages are consumed, more lies are told, but the sneers remain constant. It is also possible to smell some cannabis being smoked. Tsk, tsk!

Here is a video shot by one of my more talented cousins. Best to start at the 2:24 mark.

Lots of Sombrero stuff on You Tube for those interested. One cousin has put up several under, “White Family Homestead”.

Browns Park is home to several bands of wild horses. Sombrero keeps wranglers with the herd during the winter to recover the mares the wild stallions steal. Gets interesting, it does.

Should you be interested in the wild ones, this lady has devoted years to photographing them.

Looking forward to the trip. My coworker and I have swapped days so I have no  pressure to get back. Worked out well as he has a family gathering the next weekend.

Of course, will post a snap or two when I get back. 

Maybell is on US 40 between Craig, CO and Vernal, UT. Most visitors to the Dinosaur National Monument just pass through. The residents work hard to keep the town alive with volunteer work. The one restaurant serves as good country fare as you will find anywhere and you will not find a cleaner establishment. You may not want to visit in the winter as the coldest temperature recorded in Colorado one winter was  in Maybell, minus 61 degrees. Camp sites at the city park are $15 a night, showers $3, and the place is clean. All isn't perfect as the local kids are noted for mischief. On the night before the start of hunting season, air was let out of many tires and the entrances were padlocked. The town response was bolt cutters, every available air compressor brought to the park, and several Wrangler seats warmed.


Old NFO said...

Nice looking horseflesh there!

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Sombrero seems to have a higher standard than most dude operations.

CenTexTim said...

We have friends who own a dude ranch near Sheridan WYO. They winter their horses outside of Gillette and drive them back to the ranch in May. In fact, I'm going out there next month for a quick visit, but I'll miss the horse drive. That's a good thing - I'm too old to spend three days in the saddle.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Most of us in our youth spent weeks in the saddle. Our excuse for sneering at dudes. I was riding a horse alone before my fourth birthday. During my tweener years wrangled dudes. Some of them didn't like having a kid "suggesting".

My father was a tremendous horseman and my sister inherited his genes. Me, I could "stick" on any horse and make it do what I wanted but it was never pretty.

Coffeypot said...

I used to enjoy riding, but not being on a horse after 30 or so years, I went riding with my grandkids. O.M.G. I was almost paralyzed trying to get off the damn thing. I had no idea how much you need to ride often or not at all. When I was at the Custer Battlefield we had to sit in the car for about 15 minutes while a heard passed across the road. Beautiful animals.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

It would take a compelling reasons to get me on one now at my age. Years ago I enjoyed hunting and wilderness trips on horseback so long as we weren't packing dudes.

I should add I have nothing against dudes. I just don't want to cater to their needs.

Momma Fargo said...

Small world. They used to own a livery up in Allenspark, CO, but got into some trouble there. Sadly, there is no more horses up by the lodge.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

The principal owner is someone who, if you shook his hand, you would count your fingers afterwards. IMO.