singerThe Californio Bridlehorse Association welcomes Mike Beck for an evening of musical entertainment during the Early Californios Skills of the Rancho on Saturday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Grounds in Santa Maria, California. The concert is free to contestants and spectators.

Beck is a professional singer-songwriter, master guitarist and horseman raised in Monterey, California. He is also the founder and front man of the West Coast guitar band Mike Beck and the Bohemian Saints. As a solo artist, he has recorded eight albums with his distinctive blend of cowboy, rock and roll, and Americana music styles, and lyrics inspired by real cowboy experience and bridle horse traditions. Two of his songs –“In Old California” and “Don’t Tell Me”–were listed in Western Horseman’s “13 Best Cowboy Songs of All Time.”

Mike cut his teeth as a cowboy on the Spanish Ranch in northern Nevada, working under legendary cowboss Bill Kane. Bryan Neubert was also on the crew at the time and became one of Beck’s mentors along with highly regarded California horsemen Tom and Bill Dorrance. Beck passes along the knowledge they shared with him in horsemanship clinics he conducts in the United States and Scandinavia.

“I think being a horseman and musician are similar in many ways; they’re both about feel,” he said in the article “Roaming Troubadour,” which appeared in the April 2012 issue of Western Horseman. “Feel is not black and white; you can’t put it in a box. It’s so mystical that you fear getting close to it or you might taint it.

“All good hands have feel, whether writing songs, playing instruments or riding horses.” For more information, visit mikebeck.com.

About the Early Californios Skills of the Rancho and the CBA

The Early Californios Skills of the Rancho will be held July 6-9 at the Santa Maria Elks Arena in Santa Maria, California. More than 150 horsemen and –women of all ages and skill levels will compete for cash and prizes in events designed to showcase traditional vaquero horsemanship skills and stock-handling methods. There will also be a trade show with vendors selling traditional Californio-style art and trappings. The event is open and free to spectators.

The Californio Bridlehorse Association (CBA) was formed in 2008 by horseman Bruce Sandifer of Santa Barbara, California, to preserve a style of horsemanship and stockmanship developed during the mission era of early California. The techniques and equipment used by the Californios were passed down within families and so secretly guarded they were almost lost through time. The efforts of the CBA are helping keep these traditions alive in their purest form.

For more information, visit californiobridlehorseassociation.com.