Born and raised here on the Central Coast, this year’s Honorary Vaquero Bob Williams traces his roots back to his ranching family’s migration to Nipomo in the 1870s. A childhood spent raising sheep and cattle on the Wybrant Ranch in Nipomo for the area’s Future Farmers of America club led Williams to a profession in cattle feeding. Over time, Williams became a major buyer of grain, vegetables, and sugar beets from area farmers for his feedlots, and today he enjoys doing business with almost every ranch in Santa Barbara County.
Williams and his family have been involved in Fiesta for generations, with his grandfather participating as a Fiesta committee member and his great-grandfather as a stock horse judge. Although excited to participate in the parade for the first time, Williams is a little nervous because the horse he has chosen, Convict, so named for his “convict-looking eyes,” is well behaved but has never been to town, much less marched in a parade. Williams said he considers being nominated Honorary Vaquero “a huge honor,” and is most looking forward to “the overall spirit of the Fiesta that people feel” and watching his family participate in the team penning, roping, and reining contests.