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Redwood Rangers rode horseback 125 miles in four days in 1947

While most horseback riders travel with a horse trailer hitched to their car, four Sonoma County men in 1947 decided to take a more unconventional path.

They mounted their horses in Guerneville, and after riding 125 miles in four days, they arrived during a downpour of rain in Stockton for the California State Horsemen's Association Convention on Oct. 16.

The quartet were part of the Redwood Rangers Riding and Driving Club, a group based out of Guerneville from the 1940s to the 1970s. The 1947 riders included the club’s president, Jack Luttrell, vice president Leo O’Connors and members Jack Williams and David Grant. Media sometimes referred to them as the “hardy four” or the “four mesquiteers.”

The four men wore broad-brimmed hats, packed sleeping bags and blankets, ate chuck wagon-style, and were accompanied by a Jeep for storage support.

The Press Democrat kept in touch with them during their ride by telephone. On the third day of riding, Luttrell said “it was a mighty tough trek from Fairfield to Rio Vista.”

The long distance ride was a major highlight for the Redwood Rangers, a merry bunch of enthusiastic horsewomen and horsemen. They regularly held gatherings and barbecues at local ranches.

Media coverage of horseback riding groups in Sonoma and Napa counties from the Santa Rosa Republican in 1949 noted that Redwood Rangers “has probably one of the most picturesque settings in Sonoma County.”

“Situated in the heart of the Russian River resort area, they have many beautiful mountain trails leading through the redwood forests,” the report said.

An unidentified artist wrote a poem about the club called “Ode to ye Redwood Rangers,” possibly during the 1950s. They describe the sky, the Sonoma Coast, the forests, singing loudly and clouds. They end with perseverance:

"Trot trot trot — gid up you bay —

We’re not tuckered out this summer day

‘Cause we’re headed straight for home — then

We’ll all say “so long” — it’s our journey’s end.“

See gallery above for photos of the Redwood Rangers Riding and Driving Club during the 1940s and 1950s.

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