History of the Verde Vaqueros Ride
The annual ride of the Verde Vaqueros of Scottsdale, Arizona, is believed to be the only five-day trail ride in the nation where a man contributes something both to himself and to others.
Our riders treat themselves to nearly a week of sociability and camaraderie in which they forget the stresses and tensions of business and thrill at the relaxing and picturesque beauty of Arizona.
At the same time, we help others by accepting donations to the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Scottsdale. The donation is the name of your Verde Vaquero membership, which is by invitation only.
Men from the United States, Canada and England have donated to the Boys’ Club ever since that first ride in 1959 when Jim Beaman, Doyle Willis, Howard Gunnels, George Keebler, Lyle Hyner and a few others organized as a fund raising arm for the Club. During the past 61 years the Vaqueros individual donations plus other funds raised during the rides have added almost $2,000,000 to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club treasury.
Seventy-five members and three guests enjoyed the first ride. During the first ten years of the ride, the camp was moved each day, with the riders catching up to their bedrolls and the chuck wagon in time for campfire cocktails and dinner. As the size of the ride grew, the Board wisely decided to establish a base camp, from which daily rides were conducted. In 1991 the Verde Vaqueros purchased a 177 acre ranch near Prescott to serve as a permanent base camp for future rides.
Generally speaking, Mother Nature has looked with favor on the Vaqueros. Among the more notable exceptions was 1969 when the riders awakened in Sunflower to find the mercury down to 8 degrees and the sleeping bags covered with snow.
And in 1970 a pre-ride downpour at the Box Bar Ranch turned the camp into a quagmire, but the
persevered and still managed to have a good time. And in 1978, the warm rains in northern Arizona hastened the melting of the snow pack and sent excessive water down the mountain washes into the Verde River. The resultant flooding stranded the riders, horses and vehicles in three separate groups, which were resupplied by helicopters. Again, in 2005, heavy rains denied access to the ranch and caused a month’s postponement of the ride. Regardless of the elements, camaraderie has always shone brightly.