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Oakdale Cowboy Museum Announces 2010 Honorees

POSTED September 1, 2010 11:19 a.m.
The Oakdale Cowboy Museum announced the honorees for their 2010 Dinner Auction fundraiser, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Rocha’s Valley Enterprises.Special recognition will go to Leo, Jerold and Reg Camarillo, renowned rodeo champions from Oakdale. Posthumously, the Museum will recognize Dave and Vi Ramont, a rodeo and ranching family also from Oakdale.The Camarillo trio moved to Oakdale in the 1960s as young adults. Brothers Leo and Jerold grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley, where roping was a natural part of their childhood. Cousin Reg grew up in the Los Angeles area but spent most summers at the ranch in Santa Ynez. The Camarillo brothers learned to rope and ride at a very young age starting on ponies then graduating to horses.“We adjusted our style depending on the conditions of the terrain,” Leo Camarillo said. “We found that when roping in a pasture with tall grass, the ‘trap loop,’ which was the style back then didn’t work. We found that by getting in time or rhythm with steer, we could rope the hind feet while still in the air. This new way cut seconds off the old style and subsequently changed the game.”Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Director of Communications Kendra Santos said of the Camarillo’s influence, “It’s not a stretch to say that the Camarillos revolutionized team roping. They are true pioneers and living legends in the cowboy community, and will go down in history among the sports all-time greats. Leo, Jerold and Reg showed up with that rare combination of natural talent and tireless work ethic. Their discipline and fierce competitive spirit could not be denied. They were a dominant force that raised the roping bar forever.”The Director’s Memorial Recognition will honor Dave and Vi Ramont, a rodeo and ranching family from Oakdale. Dave Ramont came from humble beginnings, raised by his grandparents on their farm in Patterson. From the very start, Dave knew that he was going to be a cowboy and he watched and learned at neighboring ranches. He met his future wife Viola Knipper on a double date to the Sonora Rodeo in 1944. Dave worked as a day working cowboy and also entered rodeos while Vi handled rodeo secretary duties. Dave won the team roping at the Salinas Rodeo in 1959 with partner Earl McCleskey.“What Dave accumulated over the years he did on pretty much grit, nerve and mediocre credit. He was not part of the landed gentry and had no one to catch him if he fell,” said family friend Barrie Qualle. “Dave and Vi had five children and in the early days, he depended on his wife and kids to be his ranch help. They were all he could afford.”Dave was known for his keen sense of style and witty and colorful sense of humor. Vi passed away in 1988 and Dave in 2001. They left a legacy of western tradition for their children.Tickets for the event, which include dinner, hosted bar, silent, live auction and dancing are $75 for Cowboy Museum members and $85 for non-members. For more information, call 847-7049.
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