The Luv Wranglers of Ventura County, California

There’s cowboys in them thar hills near my homestead. Fictional buckaroos from TV and movies. Ghosts of real-life vaqueros from days long past. And present-day hotties who wrangle beeves not far from a bustlin’ freeway.

 We call that last wild bunch The Luv Wranglers.

 More on those guys in a bit.

My homeland, Ventura County CA abuts packed, frantic Los Angeles to the southeast, but you’d never know it. Ventura County is full of western lore and rural flavor. There aren’t many places in Southern California where you can see the beach, suburbs, strawberry fields and avocado groves, foothills and the Topa Topa mountains in one fell swoop. Our own little cul-de-sac used to be a lettuce field, and it isn’t unusual to share a busy street with a tractor.   

Not far from my house, rancher Don Raymundo Olivas built a sprawling hacienda when he received a land grant of 5,000 acres in 1847. Here he raised 21 children (poor Doña Teodora) and made a fortune raising cattle to feed gold miners, and tanning hides for the military. The historic Olivas Adobe, a rare two-story adobe, is beautifully preserved and hosts Cowboys, Heroes, and Outlaw Day each June. To my hubby’s delight, however, much of the ranchland is now his favorite golf course.

To the northwest a little deeper into the hills, hearty Western men more than a century ago drove stagecoaches across a “turnpike” built by Chinese laborers and now called San Marcos Pass. They’d pause long enough at Cold Spring Tavern to change horses and let their passengers catch some grub. The structure, built in the 1860’s, exists today and serves the best chili burger ever. Every time I need a Western fix, my hubby takes me out to lunch there. Antique Franklin stoves warm us up, and there really is a cold spring tumbling nearby.

At the cusp of LA and Ventura counties, the Western movie set Paramount Ranch straddles the hills where cowboys shared “Colorado Springs” with Dr. Quinn and rode the trail in movies as recent as Prairie Fever. The Carradines did a lot of “Wild West Tech” episodes there. And I recognize it in tons of other Westerns I watch. I look for it every time. It’s a great place for a picnic or hike.

But my real deal today are three real-life, real-time cowboys who wrangle cattle in the foothills. Brad, Rich, and Tucker.

Now how about those for tailor-made cowboy names? And how’d they get their soubriquet: the Luv Wranglers?

Well, my friend, RWA writer and reporter, Kim Gregory Lamb, features their down-home wisdom in a “Dear Abby” format every once in a while in our local paper, The Ventura County Star. Kim has kindly let me share their witticisms and advice on womenfolk and romance with the fillies and friends of Wildflower Junction. These are some things local inquiring minds presented to the Luv Wranglers not long ago:

Dear Luv Wranglers : What’s one thing that a woman does that’s guaranteed to tick you off? 

Tucker: “Bein’ late. I hate that.”
Brad: “They’re always late.”
Rich: “They gotta change their clothes eight times.” 
 
Dear Luv Wranglers : Why don’t you guys ever put the seat down? 
Tucker: “When I gotta use the bathroom, most of the time I just walk right outside. We don’t have no neighbors.”
Brad: “I don’t even git off my horse anymore.”
Rich: “Men never go to use the outhouse on a ranch. ‘Course, it backfires on you when yer kids drop their drawers in the parkin’ lot.”

 

 

 

 

Dear Luv Wranglers:   When do you think it’s appropriate to bring or send flowers?

Rich: “When somebody dies.”

Brad: “When you’re in trouble. I’ve sent an awful lot of flowers. My florist and I sent two of his kids to college.”          

When the 78th Annual Academy Awards rolled best flick nominee Brokeback Mountain down the red carpet, the Luv Wranglers had plenty to say, as you can well imagine.


Q: Will you be watching the Oscars?

Brad: “What’s that?”
Tucker: “I didn’t even know they were on TV.”
Rich: “I had a dog named Oscar once.”
Brad: “Oscar’s on “Sesame Street.”
Rich: “He was a good dog.”
Q: Have any of you seen the cowboy flick and best picture nominee, Brokeback Mountain?”
Rich: “I was happy to hear those guys were not cattle ranchers. They were sheep farmers.”
Brad: “We all know about sheep farmers.”
Q: The shirts worn by the two lead actors in “Brokeback Mountain” commanded $101,100.51 from a collector. What do you think of that?
Rich: “I’ll sell ’em every shirt in my closet for $500 apiece.”
Q: If you could choose one Hollywood movie actor to play you in the story of your life as a cowboy, who would you choose?
Brad: “Mel Gibson. We have a lot in common.”

 

Rich: “I’d pick the only actor in Hollywood who still has morals and integrity: SpongeBob SquarePants.”  

 
 
 

 

When Valentine’s Day came around, Kim trusted her instincts and asked the Luv Wranglers to ride in from the range to help all the local tenderfoots rustle up some romance for their guys and gals. Here’s a bit of Valentine’s Day advice our favorite cowboys, dished up at Rich’s dining room table over Cheez-Its and beer.

 

Rich: “I thought Valentine’s Day was a take ‘n’ bake pizza place down on Seaward Boulevard.” 

Brad: “That’s Valentino’s.”

Tucker: “Every day, a man screws up, so Valentine’s Day is to fix all the screw-ups you do all year.”

Q: What was the most romantic thing you’ve ever done on Valentine’s Day?

Brad: “Showed up.”

Q: What presents should you give a woman for Valentine’s Day?

Rich: “As a cattleman, I’d say a cross-bred gift: a cross between what she wants and what she gits.”

Tucker: “Git roses. If you git ’em, like, the night before, you can hide ’em in yer truck.”

Brad: “I’d hide the roses in the kitchen cuz she’ll never look there.”

Q: What special rodeo tricks should you master for Valentine’s Day?

Rich: “We’re not sure, but there will be ropes involved.”

Tucker: “I wonder why Rich doesn’t have a date.”
 
 
 

 

Q: If your relationship is shaky and you’ve been thinking about cutting it off, what do you do about Valentine’s Day?

Brad: “Work late.”

 

Tucker: “If it’s shaky and you’re gonna dump her anyway, might as well dump her on Valentine’s Day. She’ll never fergit you.”

Rich:
“I can’t even remember last Valentine’s Day.”

Their spurs jingled as Rich, Brad and Tucker clumped across a wooden porch in dusty boots after a recent day of cattle roping.They settled in chairs on Rich’s back porch, which overlooks the Ventura backcountry, and prepared to wax poetic for Kim’s latest installment for the Star. Since not one of them has a lick of book-learning about psychology and such, they tapped their common sense and a 12-pack of Coors Light for answers.

 

 
Dear Luv Wranglers: What’s the difference between the care and feeding of a regular guy as opposed to a cowboy?
  
Brad: “Regular guys are health-conscious. We need carbs.”

Brad again: If we put gel in our hair and put on an Abercrombie shirt, we’d look like every other guy.

 

Dear Luv Wranglers: Why do guys stay with women who treat them really bad? Do they just like the chase or what’s the deal, when there’s women (who) want to treat them great?  

Tucker: “Sometimes guys don’t know how to get out of it. They don’t know how to whip ‘n’ spur fast enough.”

 

 

 

 
 

 

Rich: “Guys always want what’s not good for ’em. Like mashed potatoes, chicken-fried steak and gravy.”

 

Dear Luv Wranglers: Women in 40-up category find men of similar age tend to gravitate to much younger women, when like-age women have lots of experience and like themselves much more. Why, guys? Is it the midlife-crisis thing or what'”

This question came from a group of women from the Red Hat Society that had just attended “Menopause the Musical,” which also was made known to the Luv Wranglers .
 
“What the heck is menopause?” Tucker asked.
 

 

 

 

 

“Never mind,” Brad warned.
Tucker looked from Brad to Rich and back to Brad, who sighed and answered:
“It’s when women git crazy in middle age,” he said. “It’s like when men have a midlife crisis.”
“It’s why we hardly ever ride mares,” Rich added.

 

As for why older men tend to chase younger women, Brad took a swig of Coors and trained a grin on Rich. “It makes ’em feel younger; that right, Rich?” he said.

 Rich grinned back. “It’s cuz you can afford ’em,” he explained.

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed Ventura County’s particular brand of local color today, including our local buckaroos. And I consider myself one sure-fire lucky Star subscriber who can’t wait for Kim’s next installment. And maybe someday you all will read about the Luv Wranglers in the (somewhat fictionalized) trilogy Kim plans to propose to Blaze. Sigh. I don’t know about you, but I think an editor would be a tomfool not to go along with it. Agree?

Of today’s participants, one name will be drawn to win a copy of Midnight Bride and a Starbux card for coffee to read it by

 

Now…what questions would you dare to ask the Luv Wranglers?

 

Best wishes,

~Tanya Hanson

Tanya Hanson loves life in Ventura County with her own personal hero and two black Labs, particularly now that everybody is hale and healthy after a challenging start to 2008.

 

The project she’ll be pitching in San Francisco, Marrying Minda placed first for the Central Ohio Fiction Writers “Ignite the Flame Contest” and is a finalist for the San Antonio Romance Authors “Merritt Magic Moment” Contest. And her last month’s blog for Petticoats and Pistols got syndicated by the Chicago Sun Times!  She’s the gramma of the most incredible 18 month old grandson, and her current release, Midnight Bride, continues to get consistently excellent reviews. One reviewer even compared her to Diana Palmer. So all of this AND BLOGGING THIS WEEKEND WITH JILL MARIE has her as close to heaven as one can be on earth. 

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42 thoughts on “The Luv Wranglers of Ventura County, California”

  1. Hello Tanya! I love Ventura County. It’s one of the prettiest places in southern California. Beaches . . . mountains . . . green fields. My husband and I lived in Thousand Oaks when we first got married. I wonder if Lupe’s is still on T.O. Blvd? Great Mexican food! We did some exploring then and more later when we lived near Frazier Park. Southern California will always be home to me : )

    P.S. The Luv Cowboys are a hoot : )

  2. Welcome Tanya,my question to the guys would be ,how long do you date someone before you take them home to meet your folks? or do you? Ive met very few of my kids dates after they have gotten over the age of 21 or left home,when they lived at home it was a rule,but of course when they leave the rules leave with them,my 33 yr old son,I just met the first woman he has dated since the age of 21 recently so I figure this must be really serious,lol,keeping my fingers crossed anyway,Ive learned NOT to ask any questions,let them tell you what they want you to know,thanks for coming your new books sounds very interesting,thanks Vickie

  3. Welcome Tanya,
    I enjoyed reading this interesting introduction to Luv Wranglers and learning about them. Your area certainly looks unique and appealing. My question would be, How do you deal with online dating or do you care for it. Thanks for this lovely post.

  4. Victoria, thanks for writing! I’ll look for Lupe’s next time I’m in T.O. I just love the weather here.

    I too think the Luv Wranglers are a hoot. I tried to get pix of them but it entailed a lot of time and licensing rigaramole. But believe me, Brad Haley, Tucker Robinson, and Rich Atmore are definitely tall, dark and handsome.

  5. Thanks for the welcome, Vickie and Ellie. I will pass on your questions LOL. As a mom of young adults, I know it does take a while to meet that significant other LOL.

    The question on online-dating is a great one.

    Thanks for visiting Wildflower Junction today and making me welcome.

  6. Welcome Tanya.
    What an interesting and special post. I was entranced with your photos and the fascinating locale which is wonderful. Learning about your area is great. The Luv Wranglers certainly are special and have plenty of ideas and wisdom to appreciate. Thanks for being here and I will be looking for your novels.

  7. I had to come out of lurkdom and say hi to another Ventura county resident. I’m in Simi Valley. I, too, love it out here.

  8. Hi Ruth, thank you. Yes, I’m proud of my homeland LOL. And Lori, we know Simi well because of our little grandson. Thanks for de-lurking today.

    Minna, thanks for your compliment on the pictures. I didn’t take any of them LOL. That was my hubby who has a really good eye.

    Isn’t Wildflower Junction a great place to spend a Saturday morning?

  9. Hi Tanya,
    I was intrigued with your post today. It was interesting to see where you live and to be able to picture the spots which are important and memorable. Thanks for this great post. Those guys certainly sound capable and very helpful. What a great idea to have an advice column. Love it.

  10. Hi Tanya,

    Welcome back to P&P! We’re so glad you like it here ’cause we sure like having you.

    Ventura County sounds heavenly. sigh I’d like to come to a visit, prop my feet up, and stay awhile. What a pretty place.

    Thanks for the laughs re the Luv Wranglers! What a trio. They’re so typical of men. I think I’d like to ask ’em what they do for fun when they’re not working. Love to hear the answer to that! 🙂

    Wishing you lots of luck with your pitch in SF. May the publishing Gods be with you!!

  11. Hi Linda, you’re welcome here any time LOL. It’s good to be back…we had a fantastic vacation in the Big Apple but there truly is no place like home.

    Hi Colleen, Ventura is great. Thanks for posting.

    Hi Anne and Cheryl, I too think Kim’s Luv Wranglers are lovable as well as hilarious. I’ll make sure she gets everybody’s questions for a future column.

    Thanks, everyone, for stopping by today.

  12. Hey, Tanya! Great to have you back on P & P!

    Loved the humorous blog today–and I’m looking forward to being in California for the first time ever–when we go to San Francisco. I want to meet you, girl!

  13. Hi Tanya,

    I enjoyed your post today about the Luv Wranglers. That name … someone has to write a book about those guys. They are a hoot!

    I’m so close to Ventura County, but I swear I didn’t know about half the history there. You have such a great mind for details! Love the Parmount Ranch. Wish they still shot Dr. Quinn there. It was such a good western series.

    Have a fun day blogging! Will see you later!

  14. Hey Rich, I can relate with you about the kids droppin’ there drawers in the parkin’ lot. M’boy wasn’t intrested in using the facilities until I dropped a bunch of Cheerios in the big white bowl. That was enough to get ‘im intrested. Too intrested. Next thing I know, I’m socializing in church when a kid says that m’boy is puttin’ on a show for all the little gals outside. Seems he wanted to show ’em what he’d learned that week so he dropped his drawers and gave’em a show. Never seen so many little eyes ‘bugger up’.

    Yes, ladies, I hesitate to admit it but the above story is true. sigh

  15. Oh, Anita Mae, I’m laughing out loud and I know Rich would, too. When our son was old enough to “be a big boy”, a friend gave me a book called “Toilet Training in Less Then a Day.”

    Yeah right. What space alien wrote that one?

    Oh, Charlene, I miss Dr. Q. so much. Even more now that Hallmark stopped showing the re-runs. Paramount, a state park, is still a lovely place to get away from it all, isn’t it?

    Thanks, Pam, and yes, let’s get together for a cup of coffee in San Francisco. Or better yet, a glass of wine LOL.

    I so appreciate everybody stopping by today!

  16. Rich: “I was happy to hear those guys were not cattle ranchers. They were sheep farmers.”
    Brad: “We all know about sheep farmers.”

    This is doubly and triply hilarious because MY HUSBAND A CATTLE RANCHER SAYS THIS EXACT THING.
    I said something about the Gay Cowboy movie and he said, “They were NOT gay cowboys. They were gay sheepherders–and that’s a story as old as time.”

    I love this whole post. Thanks Tanya.

  17. I know what you mean about recognizing the scenery in movies…we never watched the background until we started working in the industry. My 3 kids and I all work as extras in the film/TV industry and now that we know what goes on, we find ourselves searching the background for ourselves as well people we’ve met while working. Before, we only seemed to notice the actors with speaking lines.

    I think that’s why I enjoyed watching Westward the Women so much a couple weeks ago – there was so much stuff going in the back. That director was brilliant.

  18. hi Mary, thanks for stopping by. I thought that same thing, when Broke Back was so big: hey they ae not COW boys. Here’s to continued success with your books. 🙂

    Hi Anita May…I missed Westward the Women. Hope I can find it On Demand or something. We caught Broken Trail on a recent vacation and really liked that…Good flick. Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church rescuing some Chinese women from an icky brothel keeper Big Rump Kate. Now, of course she wouldn’t be named Light Foot Ella or Sweet Heart Mary or something pretty like that LOL. Good luck in the movies!

  19. ‘a cross bred gift’-now I like that. I have to be kinda careful about sheep jokes, since my dad was a sheep rancher for awhile. But I’m sure the back of his mountain was never broke.

    Thanks for the chuckles!

  20. Hi Tanya, Thanks for a wonderful post. I am still laughing about the Luv Wranglers! I think I would ask them what they do to make a girl feel special.

    Good luck with your new manuscript.

    Have a good weekend.

  21. Hi Tanya. Good to see you here. Ventura County sounds nice. Great pictures. I enjoyed reading the Luv Wrangler’s answers.

  22. Hi Estella and Crystal, so glad you enjoyed the Luv Wranglers. They’re a crack-up to be sure.

    Lizzie–you made me chuckle right back. (pun intended). Thanks for posting.

    Za, I’ll definitely pass your question on to the Luv Wranglers. And thank you for the good-luck wishes. I just found out that Marrying Minda, a finalist in the Magic Moment contest at San Antonio Romance Authors, has received first place! Yay.

  23. You asked what question we’d ask the Luv Wranglers and I have one:

    I’d like to know what rodeo event(s) you’d all enter if you were of a mind to.

    I mean, would you go solo like bull riding, saddle bronc or bareback? Or would you prefer the ‘partner’ event of bull dogging? Actually, I guess if you want to get technical, calf roping is a partner event too since you and your horse are a team in that one.

    Or, would y’all prefer a team event like chuck wagon racing?

  24. Hi Anita Mae…you ask a wondrous question of our fearless trio! Will pass it on for sure. (Some of those rodeo events actually sound kind of naughty LOL.)

    And Cheryl, thank you for the welcome. It’s a pleasure to be here and I can’t thank you Founding Fillies enough for the invitation.

  25. Hey Tanya, while you’re at it, maybe find out why they’d pick certain rodeo events.

    I mean do they go for the solo events for the rhythm? The team events for the speed? Or do they like showing off their raw strength in the calf roping and bull dogging?

    Hmmm…I guess you’re right…they do sound kinda naughty. Never thought of it that way before. 🙂

  26. Hi Ladies,
    I enjoyed reading about the Luv Wranglers they are great. Can’t think of a single question that they wouldn’t have some wise answer to.

  27. Oh the Luv Wranglers are a hoot. The Cowboys Heroes and Outlaw day sounds like a great time.
    Just the mention of chili burgers has me longing for one. I used to get them once in awhile when I lived in Alta., Canada where there are real cowboys and rodeos.
    Thanks for being with us today.

  28. Hi, Tanya! The Luv Wranglers, huh? It does sound like there wouldn’t be a question they couldn’t tame 😉 So what is an ideal date for a Luv Wrangler? And is that the same answer as what his date might give? 🙂

  29. Hilarious interviews!

    I’d ask the Wranglers how long their longest romantic involvement was. Who broke up the
    romance?

    Pat Cochran

  30. Enjoyed the comments. I will have to visit this area the next time I get to California. The Luv Wranglers sound so knowledgable.

  31. Happy Sunday, everybody! It’s nice to be here for another day!

    Anita Mae– girl, you so make me laugh LOL.

    Thanks for posting, Sherry and RobynL. The Cowboy, Hero and Outlaw Day is great fun–native American displays and crafts, faux-gunfights and other re-enactments, to-die-for costumes. The adobe house itself is just beautifully preserved inside and out.

    Fedora and Pat, I’ll sure pass on your Luv questions. They are good ones!

    Thanks, Kate, for the good wishes. I hope to meet you in SF, too. RWA will be here before ya know it.

    Joye–you’ll love Ventura county. I’m the Western part; Lori who wrote earlier is from Simi in the East which is also a good cow-boy stting with its golden grass hills, canyons, and rocky peaks.

  32. oh my Tanya…LOVED your post today!!!! I had to read alot of the interview to my husband as well!! hehe..too funny

  33. Wow, Ventura County sounds like my kind of place! You lucky girl! LOL I absolutely loved this post. I really enjoyed the LUV WRANGLERS Q & A session. It was awesome! Sure would love to attend the Heroes and Outlaws days,too.

    Thanks for sharing, and Best of luck with your pitch!

  34. Hi Melissa, so glad your hubby enjoyed the Luv. The Wranglers crack mine up too.

    And Carol, I hope to see you at Cowboy, Hero and Outlaw Day next June.

    Hey everybody at Wildflower Junction, thanks for reading my blog and better yet, replying! I had a great time.

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