Pink will ride again with Rancheros Visitadores

Star Report

The annual parade of men on horseback and in carriages through the streets of Solvang will be back again when the Rancheros Visitadores, or “Visiting Ranchers,” begin their week-long ride around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.

This will be the 87th ride for the Visitadores, who have partnered with Wrangler Jeans and the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Foundation to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. This year, all the men will again be wearing pink button-up shirts as they ride along Alisal Road to Old Mission Santa Ines.

“The river of pink shirts was a delightful surprise the first time they decided to partner with the Tough Enough To Wear Pink group back in 2012. Each year since, more and more onlookers are wearing pink also – it is a vibrant, powerful, emotional experience. We are indebted to the Rancheros for their part in ensuring all aspects of our patients’ physical, mental and psychological needs are tended to throughout treatment, recovery and survivorship, all while doing our part to help find a cure,” said Director of Philanthropy Rob Dunton at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara Sansum Clinic.

Through the Rancheros’ efforts, more than $500,000 has been contributed to the Cancer Center in support of local breast cancer programs, which include clinical research trials, wellness classes and support programs, hereditary cancer risk counseling, nurse navigation, and lymphedema education and screening. These services are available to all breast cancer patients who reside in Santa Barbara County regardless of where they receive treatment or their ability to pay.

The Visitadores group rides through Solvang after the Kentucky Derby broadcast to receive a blessing at Mission Santa Ines before riding to the group campground near Lake Cachuma. People line the streets to watch the hundreds of riders make their way up to the mission.

Many local men have been members since the group started in 1930, but some members have come from many states and several foreign countries.

The first ride was organized by John J. Mitchell, co-founder of National Air Transport, which became United Airlines. He married meat-packing heiress Lolita Armour and owned the 6,000-acre Juan y Lolita Rancho. Mitchell and his friends hitched up their wagons and rode horses to Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos the first year, according to the group’s records.

A few notable past Visitadores have been President Ronald Reagan, Gene Autry, Walt Disney and Bob Hope.

Within a mile of the Rancheros’ parade route is the Cancer Center’s Solvang office at 2040 Viborg Road, No. 140, which provides Santa Ynez residents with access to Cancer Center of Santa Barbara’s cancer doctors. The Cancer Center also offers oncology appointments in Lompoc, and is opening a new world-class regional center in September in Santa Barbara that will bring enhanced technology, genetic testing, immunotherapy and enhanced collaboration to the region.