Historic photo of 19th century cattlemen who traveled between California missions driving livestock

This weekend, the Rancheros Visitadores will show that the only thing tougher than 700 cowboys is 700 cowboys wearing pink.

Continuing an 82-year-old tradition, the Rancheros Visitadores, or “visiting ranchers,” will come together on Saturday, May 5, and embark on a week-long ride through the Santa Ynez Valley to raise funds for and awareness around breast cancer.

The organization, comprised of horsemen from around the country, gathers each year to reenact the journey of 19th century cattlemen who traveled between California missions driving livestock. But this year, the ranchers are partnering with Wrangler and the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Foundation” to raise money for the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. Proceeds will go toward the center’s research and support programs.

This will be the first time the Rancheros saddle up in support of the cause. Cancer Center spokesperson Lindsay Groark said she was very pleased to learn the ride would benefit the organization this year. “We feel honored,” said Groark. “It came as a complete surprise.”

Steve Beneto, a Ranchero for 15 years, lost his mother to breast cancer and watched his wife battle the disease. In an effort to honor them and the many women affected by breast cancer, Beneto reached out to Wrangler to bring the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign to this year’s ride. Beneto said the Rancheros will be wearing Wrangler jeans and the usual cowboy flare paired with a pink shirt as they “ride for the cure.”

“I believe that most of us have experienced this on some level, whether a wife, mother, sister, friend, or neighbor — someone we know has had to endure this cancer that touches so many lives,” said Beneto in a written statement. “We are honored to rally our group together for this important cause and to support the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara in their outstanding care and support of breast cancer patients and their families for the past 63 years.”

Groark said that the center is expecting a generous $30,000 to be donated by the Rancheros Visitadores. “We’re just overwhelmed by the amount of support that they’ve been able to garner,” she said. “We’re very grateful.”

Riders will begin the expedition at Jackson Camp by the Santa Ynez River and arrive in Solvang at around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday. A parade will then guide the riders through the streets and end up at Mission Santa Inés by 3:00 p.m., where the men and their horses will receive a blessing.

The Rancheros encourage attendees to wear pink and meet at Alisal Road and Mission Road (Hwy 246) to show their support.


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