Thanks to Charley Lortz of Lortz Manufacturing and Don Jeffries of Jeffries Bros., Inc. for providing the following Los Flojos source materials and stories.
As you will see, there is a lot of common history shared between the historic Granite Station and Los Flojos.
This electronic version of the Los Flojos material was reproduced (by re-typing) from hard copies of previously type-written text. Some minor spelling and punctuation corrections were implemented with consideration of maintaining the integrity of the source documents. Please feel free to contact Sarah at Granite Station Saddlery with any further corrections or concerns.
Please communicate directly with Los Flojos board of directors for permission to copy or re-use this material in any way.
STORY OF LOS FLOJOS CAMP
Before anyone gave thought to the idea of Camps for Rancheros, there were five men from the San Joaquin Valley who became the originators of a camp for men from the San Joaquin Valley. These men were Calvin Conron, 1936; Doc. E.R. Fountain, 1941; Herman “Red” Orrison, 1939; Harry West, 1938; and Charles West, 1940.
Harry West really got the ball rolling in 1941 when he built a chuck wagon from an old Dodge ¾ ton pickup and built a circular tent that surrounded the truck with the top of the truck acting as the ridgepole. They slept in a circle around the inside of the tent. The tailgate of the chuck wagon was made into a bar. That was our camp bar.
Harry West heard of a brand somewhere on his travels called “Too lazy to Pee.” We all thought this was a good camp name for us, as most of us were more or less inclined to be that way. So the camp started as Camp Too Lazy to Pee.
In 1942 Harry West designed a fireplace and smokestack which went up through the center of the camp and acted as the ridgepole and the main tent pole. The chuck wagon was then placed at the end of the bar, still at the tailgate of the chuck wagon. Harry also made a nice little circular front bar that we still us after 27 years.
1942 was the last year of a big ride until 1946, as World War II was going on full tilt. We had several short meetings during the war years and a lot of plans were made during those three years of no rides.
Every Camp was asked to think of and submit Spanish names for their camps. Ted Vignola suggested the name of Los Flojos, the lazy ones. This was voted upon and was accepted in 1946, the first year of the first big ride after the war was over. Nine men from the valley were on that ride: Cal Conron, Harry West, Charles West, Bates Dewey (1941), Harold Greene (1942), “Doc” Pete Fountain, Red Orrison, George Wiswall and Doc Betts (1946). We also had a bartender, Duke Brown (1946), who was with us for a long time. He was a fine man and well respected by everyone.
Continuing the tradition started by camp founder, Harry West, the Los Flojos Camp gathers one month before Rancheros for a warm up ride. Trail riding, trap shooting and a day of rodeo are just part of the activities.
Mr. West purchased a local historic ranch, Granite Station, and used it to run cattle and entertain friends. The ranch included a stage stop that had boarded up the doors when it quit business. Opening those doors for the annual ride at Granite Station was like stepping back into the past. The trek went from Granite Station to Poso Flat where the trap shooting and horse events were held. Each night we would go back down the hill to eat and sleep at Granite Station, where everything was just as it was when the stage quit running. After Mr. West’s death, the ranch was put into a trust and left available for the Flojos to use. The trust sold the ranch to Flojo Jack Rogers with 160 acres at Poso Flat deeded to Mr. West’s niece Lou Holmes.
Above history was written by Bates Dewey[The story continues on with unattributed authorship]
The ride continued in the same manner until Granite Station burned to the ground. The Flojo’s then used their famous blue and yellow tent along with their bar tent and moved all activities to Poso Flat.
In 2001, Flojo Ken Kind had attended another ride that had permanent structures and planted the seed for a permanent camp.
As luck would have it, Lou Holmes two sons, Mitch and Chuck, became members of the Flojos and a long term deal was struck to build full facilities at Poso Flat.
The original idea was to furnish the project over a three to four year time frame, concentrating on the building first, then the arena and trap area.
Once the prime movers on the project got together, it became evident that the project could be finished in 6 months. We were greeted this year with a new pole barn, complete with bar, kitchen, eating area, card playing room and sleeping area, along with a new full sized arena and a trap range with two houses. Restrooms and shower facilities were completed the following year.
Though the project did far exceed the original budget of $40,000.00, the new facility was finished at a fraction of the total cost to members due to generous contributions of our members in the building trade.
Prime movers for getting this job done; Camp Captain Dennis Burtch, grading and drainage and his wife Linda for cooking each weekend. David Brown, for his engineering ability, and work with, the county planning commission. Charlie Lortz for steel fabricating. David Frye, construction and dry wall. Steve Anderson, construction and interior finish work. Randy Smith, electrical and Mitch and Chuck Holmes for the use of the land, arena construction, and donation of redwood beams.
Every year since 1946 the camp has improved and grown. The 1969 count was 35 men, guests and all. The sad part of all camps is the passing of the old original men with their foresight and planning of the so many things dear to the camp. Of the original men, all have passed on. Today’s rides are represented by upward to 100 members and guests.
During a period of slow growth, Jack Rogers became camp captain and began recruiting younger members, many of whom gave it the flair it has today.
Among those recruits were Rancheros Presidents John Tracy and Richard Rudnick.
Jack was famous for saying “I hope you enjoyed your first and last ride.” He was always in a quest to get things done right (his way) and was in constant contact with “the powers that be” to make sure things were done properly, much to the consternation of his friends.
We of Los Flojos Camp are very enthusiastic about Rancheros. We have a wonderful bunch of members from many professions as well as numerous active cattlemen. We are a very competitive and close knit group all pulling together for the good of the camp.
We elect new Camp captains every 3 years and new Board Members at varying intervals so that we always have new and fresh ideas and enthusiasm.
We have had numerous members from Los Flojos Camp on the Rancheros Board of Directors and various committees who keep us informed as to R.V. activities and challenges.
Over the years the Los Flojos Camp has had four (4) One-Man-One-Horse Champions, Richard Rudnick (twice), Steve Tellam, John Tracy and John Rudnick and has also done well in the horse racing events with our most famous horse SMOKING JOE who went undefeated for four years. We have traditionally scored well in all the horse events with multiple winners in the Team Penning, Team Branding, Maverick Race, Wild Cow Milking, and Roping events.
The Los Flojos Camp has also had many Trap Shooting Champions over the years, Wallace McCormick, Neil Duckels, Don James, Tharrell Ming, and Francis Young in the team shoots. Paul Ansolabehere and Stephen Duckels (twice) having won the ALL AROUND.
Our contributions continued with the recent addition of the Flojos Burro Race held annually on Race Day for the Benefit of the Race Committee who needed the boost, the Mavericks who line up to participate and all Rancheros who find it a hoot.
These are quite some accomplishments for a mid size camp and is due largely to those having come before us instilling the time honored traditions and values of good clean fun and competition in the best of Rancheros Traditions.
Some of our members are getting along in years but they all say that they intend to ride and stay active as long as the Good Man Above will let them.
Under the guidance of our recent camp Captains, their Board Members and the New membership Committee, we have slowly been gaining more young members with similar common interest who will sustain the Flojo Camp and her traditions for at least the next generation.
God Bless Rancheros !
Los Flojos Camp Captains
|Harry Dibble West||1946-1953|
|Charles W. West||1954-1959|
|Arthur K. Beckley||1964|
|Thomas M. Parks||1965|
|Robert F. Ingold||1966-1967|
|Dr. James D. Brown||1968-1969|
|Lloyd A. Robertson||1970-1973|
|Robert F. Ingold Jr.||1974-1975|
|David F. Snedden||1976-1977|
|Charles R. Burnquist||1978-1979|
|Tharrell D. Ming||1986-1988|
|Gary L. Williams||1991-1993|
|Louis A. Bernadicou||1994-1996|
|Stephen S. Duckels||1997-1999|