Some of ya'll might not realize just how much the cowboy and Old West attitude is still a part of California culture.
I suppose that if you live in the big city like I do 95% of the time, then it's not that prevalent. But once you get out of the urban areas, if you're not in agricultural farm lands, then you'll find yourself amongst thousands of cows, horses and the good folk who ride or corral them.
Well, our hideaway is a stone's throw from gold country, so in addition to cowboys and cowgirls, it's not unusual to see some ol' gold minin' folk... like this fellow here:
And since folk like this aren't too uncommon in these parts, the town has thrown a big ol' shindig every May for the past 51 years that celebrates that old west spirit.
It's called the Motherlode Roundup and it's a big thing in these parts. When I heard about it for the first time Friday night, I knew I had to go to the parade the next morning figurin' I'd get some fun pictures.
Here's the Wells Fargo Stage Coach, taking us back to the 1800s.
Another old carriage bringing the newlyweds through town.
While rodeos are taken pretty seriously around here, there were a few cowfolk who had to ride their bulls and broncos in a more...21st century way:
For instance, Miss California Rodeo Salinas rode in on her bull with a wee bit more contemporary fashion. That is if you consider a bull's head (is it real? I don't know) attached to a Dodge pickup (is it a Dodge? I don't know) contemporary fashion. edit: I've been told it's a Toyota. (Do I care? I don't think so.)
And I'm certain that the only reason this young cowboy wasn't on a real bucking bronco is because they wouldn't want to endanger all of us parade watchers with an unpredictable wild bronco terrorizing the parade route.
All kidding aside, there were lots and lots of real cowgirls and cowboys riding their beautiful horses.
and me being me, I'm more apt to photograph the tenacious cowgirls, even when they're all dolled up in their fancy parade costumes.
But there were lots and lots and lots of horses in this parade.
This group of fine riders are The Twain Harte Horsemen.
And while I love photographing horses, after about the 220th one, they all start to look the same to someone who isn't a horseman.
I needed a little variety. So I happily got to photograph this beautiful...
mule. There weren't very many mules in this parade. They were under-represented, lemme tell you. So were the donkeys, for that matter. Ever wonder the difference between the two? Wiki can tell you here if you're really curious.
Otherwise, we can move along to the other non-horse entrants:
Not only were these girls pretty good dancers, they looked like they were havin' a whole lot of knee slappin' fun.
Aside from horses, there were a lot of cars in the parade, too. Lots and lots of cars. This particular one had some fun crazy gold country personality.
My personal parade favorite are the bands. I love me the high school bands. Probably because I was part of the drill team unit in my high school band. There were about 6 bands in this parade. Bands were under-represented.
And happily, men wearing coyote hats were under-represented, too. He was the only one I saw.