Charles “Tyke” Minetti has been named the 2019 Honored Vaquero for the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum’s annual Vaquero Show and Western Collectible Sale on Nov. 8- 9.
The weekend celebration honors the lifestyle, culture and renowned horsemanship of the California vaquero (cowboy), which evolved into a distinctive style of apparel, tack, saddles and other unique equipment.
All proceeds from the Vaquero Show and Western Collectible Sale benefit the nonprofit historical museum in its mission of creating a better future for the Santa Ynez Valley by inspiring generations to find wonder and meaning in the past.
Born to parents Rosalie and Clarence Minetti, Tyke grew up in Guadalupe with his younger sisters, Susie and Marie, on the family’s Corralitos Ranch, where Tyke’s father learned the ranching business from Rosalie’s father.
As Tyke explains, “I was just born into ranching and that is all I know.”
After graduating from Santa Maria High School, he started his career as a modern day Vaquero and eventually became the ranch manager who oversaw “dry farming” hay production, an extensive cattle operation and an award-winning quarter horse breeding and showing program.
He and his wife, Sheryll, are now “retired” to a smaller ranch in Tepusquet where he runs a second cattle operation along with the one at Corralitos, which keeps him busy from sunrise to sunset.
“This is a particularly busy time of year,” he said, “because of the constant need to check on calving heifers; making certain the pasture is safe for them; assisting in the birthing process if necessary; shipping part of the herd to market; and selecting breeding stock for the spring.
“This is also when my assistant and I do all the maintenance work on the ranches and repair all the equipment.”
With his father, Tyke bred and trained top-quality quarter horses, including Doc’s Cowboy who went on with his trainer to be named Reserve Champion in the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1972 in Santa Rosa.
There, Clarence and Tyke bought a 2-year old filly named Forget Me Not, which Tyke trained and showed. Together, they won the 1973 Non-Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity also held in Santa Rosa. Another mount, Doc’s Know How, the first offspring of Doc’s Cowboy, then went on with Tyke to win the 1975 Non-Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno.
Throughout his showing career Tyke enjoyed many successes, including his first 12 wins in the stock horse division at the Santa Barbara Fiesta Horse Show, for which he received a hand tooled saddle and subsequently in future wins, earned 21 additional saddles and seven bridles. Most of these accomplishments were on horses Tyke bred, raised and trained to carry him to the top of the sport.
In recognition of his pursuit of excellence in producing high-quality livestock (both horses and cattle) he was named Livestock Producer of the Year in 2008. In 2011, Tyke was named “Honorary Vaquero” by the Old Spanish Days Stock Horse Show and Rodeo, an honor his father received in 1988 and his brother-in-law, Paul Righetti, received in 2016.
Tyke’s parents also created a distinctive and original dining experience when they opened the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe in 1958.
“The cost of retrofitting the restaurant in Guadalupe was prohibitive, so the family decided to relocate it to Orcutt in 2012,” Tyke said.
The Minetti clan brings together multiple generations and 60 years of a family-run operation at the restaurant. The menu, locally and organically sourced, reflects the family’s Swiss and Italian heritage. It also features premium beef selections including Clarence Minetti’s signature “Bull’s Eye Steak” and the perfected art and craft of the Santa Maria Barbecue.
Tyke and Sheryll Minetti enjoy spending family time with their son, Tom, and daughter, Michelle, and their respective families.
Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday Vaquero Show and live vaquero demonstrations are $5 per day and may be purchased online or at the gate.