The Ranch Staff

Wranglers, Cooks, and Cowhands


Ted “Old Teo” Garcia, General Manager

Following a ranch tradition of hiring old friends, Ted and Terry have taken over as general managers with their 14 year old daughter. Ted is perfectly bi-lingual and gets the credit for the Ranch’s passion for the beautiful skill, pageantry and history of Charreria. We call him the “Vision Guy.“ He spends his days trying to keep track of hundreds of head of cattle, a construction crew, and a marketing team.

Terry Garcia, Co-Ranch Manager

Terry is a much needed Detail Person and the friendly, welcoming face of the Ranch. She plans parties, oversees the staff, supervises the caterers, and basically is in charge of keeping the Ranch working and happy. She has a passion for the internet and loves managing our Facebook page, and helps daughter Grace manage Instagram. She’s also the official photographer.

Grace-Elizabeth, Rockstar’s Trainer

Grace-Elizabeth, better known to us as Grace E, is a Las Vegas born city slicker and skate boarder who has taken to the cowboy way.  She’s just about abandoned her board for a barrel racing horse named Splash and her new little colt she named Ollie.  Ollie’s training is coming right along, which is no surprise since Grace got hands on training experience from our mini horse Rockstar.   Daughter of our two Ranch Managers and a full-time student, she lives right across the street from the Ranch and commutes by horse and golf cart, and sometimes truck when she can get her hands on one.  She tells us one day she’ll own a Ranch just like SVR and the way she’s going at it there’s not a ranch-hand in the entire valley that doubts her.

Carl Turner, Mechanic Extraordinaire

 If it’s got wheels and/or an engine, Carl can fix it. Just when we think a piece of equipment is done for, he pulls a rabbit out of a hat and it’s fixed. He can drive big equipment in the tightest places, knows all about wells and pumps, and every type of machine, and “moonlights” as Gate Security at our big events. He’s the first one we call with almost any problem, including when we lost all our power from a crazy crow who managed to cremate himself on a transformer. Now who could figure that out but Carl?

Tina Whittenburg, Ranch Hand

Tina is our very fashionable landscape artist and official painter. You should see her “dolled’ up at parties – an absolute knock out. Between times you’ll find her cleaning corrals, trimming mesquites, helping with Cowboy Games at parties, and pitching in wherever needed with a big, warm smile on her face.

Meet Dana Bates, our newest wrangler. A talented horse woman and polo player, she is also an LPGA golf pro. You can find her down at the SVR barn during the winter months, and at Wingfoot country club in New York In the summer. We all love her and her sunny disposition, especially the horses. Here she is with her winning trophy a month ago. We are so proud of her.

Jimmy Shannon, Ranch Foreman

Born and raised in Connecticut, Ranch Foreman Jim Shannon has been with SVR going on ten years now and has become familiar with all aspects of Ranch Operations. The wide range of skills he acquired back east has served him well enough that we have almost forgiven his being a ‘Damn Yankee’. ” I got real tired of the cold,” he says. “Kept going west ’till I thawed out, but I never thought I’d end up a cowboy, don’t know if my mother will ever forgive me.”

While others have come and gone, Jim persevered, outperforming or outlasting some of the wranglers (and at least one boss) that taught him the ropes when he first came to us. He definitely knows his s— from his shinola. Now, we’re not sure what’s under that beard of his and not sure we want to, and he admits that he might not recognize his own self if he shaved it off. “Tried it once, ” says Jim, “scared the hell out of myself”. Good enough for us.

Jim is a regular fixture on our trail rides and is a veteran of many a corporate party as well as having been featured on a couple of TV shows and a music video filmed here at our beautiful ranch. He is also the man to beat in a quick draw competition, so don’t make him mad!

Tony DiGiacomo, Reservations Wrangler

Ooh no! Not another Italian. Yep, our Transportation/Reservations Wrangler, Tony DiGiacomo, is Boss Lady’s brother-in-law. Oozing Italian charm he answers our phones, books reservations, picks up our guests, drives our vehicles and entertains dudes with tall tales and cowboy stories (which are mostly the same thing).

He looks great in his wranglers and cowboy hat, so you’d hardly guess he hails from the streets of Newark, New Jersey. This we can guarantee, give him a call and he’ll take care of you with all the spirit and congeniality of the Old West.

Ismael Calderon, or as we like to call him, “Mayo”

One of our beloved “Three Amigos,” Mayo is the kind of guy who can do everything. He and his family, Aurelio his father and brother Cesar are an unbeatable construction and maintenance team.  You want a huge arena built?  They can do it from design to execution.  How about a bandstand?  Yep, it’s done.  But Mayo has more surprises under his belt. He’s a talented musician with his own popular Tamborazo band that keeps things hopping at all our Mexican events.  And that’s not all.  In addition to acting as a wrangler when needed, he is a key member of the Sandy Valley Ranch charro team specializing in the Pass of Death (Paso de la Muerte. )  What is the Pass of Death you ask?…a Charro riding bareback, with reins, attempts to leap from his own horse to the bare back of a loose, unbroken horse without reins and ride it until it stops bucking. The most dangerous part of this is if the Charro performing the pass falls under the three mounted Charros that are chasing the loose horse round the arena.  Mayo is the State Champion of this event.  Enough said!

Aurelio Calderon, Chief of Charros and Construction

Aurelio, head of the Calderon Clan, is the builder of our Lienzo and a master of wrought iron. With his two sons, Ismael and Cesar, he keeps the Ranch maintained and operating. Every time we come up with a new project, he’s our man to design and build it. He comes from a long and historic line of Charros and is devoted to the sport, so much so that both sons are Charros and his daughter Andrea is the Presidente of our Sandy Valley Ranch Escaramuza Team, Las Coronelas. The Coronelas are the current Nevada Champions. Aurelio is Presidente of our Charro Team that was recently invited to compete in the National Championships in Pico Rivera California. He doesn’t speak much English, but definitely knows the words “beer” and “tequila,” and is the best dancer on the Ranch.

Rafaela Calderon, Housekeeper and Cook (and Mom to Mayo and Cesar)

Every time we walk into the Ranch House we marvel at how clean it is. Some people just love keeping things clean and neat, and that’s Rafa. If that isn’t enough, she’s a wonderful cook and frequently invites us to share in the tasty lunches she prepares for her family… Funny thing how we just happen to show up around noon.

Luis Gonzales, Head Wrangler

Luis joined our Sandy Valley Ranch staff just 4 years ago having never ridden a horse. With help from our other talented staff he quickly turned into the best “Dude Wrangler” we’ve ever had. I think it’s because he remembers what it’s like to ride for the first time. Our other cowboys have been riding since they were babies and don’t always understand how scary it can be for new riders. He works very hard to make sure every guest feels comfortable and tailors the ride and horse to the rider’s skills, which is a big reason we get so many repeat guests. But it could be his gift of gab… he has a special way, especially with the ladies, and he’s pretty darn cute too!

Kathy Bowles

Our neighbor across the way is always available to help out and always ready for an adventure. She likes the Ranch so much she even leaves her horse, Splash, here full time, and lets us use her for dudes when she’s not around. A retired counselor at the Sandy Valley School, she’s one of the kindest nicest people we know. But don’t tell her we said that. She and Boss Lady have an Insult Competition to see who can deliver the best zinger about the other’s advanced age.

Lina Gallegos (with Gordon Ramsey), Ranch Hand

Our sea-side born dynamo now living in the Great Basin is one of our hardest working and playing ranch-hands. Want to learn to rope? Ask Lina. How ’bout the bucking barrel? Ask Lina. Don’t know how to care for a corral properly? Ask Lina. Can’t toss a cow-paddy to save your life? Ask Lina, she’ll show ya’ how it’s done.

Always smiling and willing to do anything, she can be found milking mama goats, keeping the Ranch House spick and span, welcoming guests, and filling in wherever needed. And to top it all off, she looks gorgeous in her SVR duds!

Brijido Cabrera, but we call him Frosty

Our newest employee, and a longtime friend, Frosty is part of the barn staff. We think he’s our best stall cleaner yet… quite a feat since and we’re hard to please. He’s also a tire specialist. (You can’t imagine how many flats one gets around a ranch.) Needless to say we keep him busy. And that’s not all. In his spare time he helps out with most of the other everyday Ranch chores. A true Renaissance man, we’re lucky to have him.

Cesar Calderon

 Cesar, another member of the Calderon family, is our Mexican Rodeo Marketing Wrangler. His vibrant posters, and sizzling radio commercials, not to mention his facebook posts, bring hundreds of fans to our Coleaderos and Charreadas. As a promoter he is wired in with most of the popular bands from Mexico and he brings them in regularly. To top it off, he and his family just finished constructing a state-of-the-art bandstand housing the best in sound equipment. But there’s more…as a member of the Sandy Valley Ranch Charro Team he joins his brother Mayo in doing the “Pass of Death” and excels at Bull Tailing. That’s why you see him draped in lots of ribbons.

Future Staff

One of the delights of the Ranch is the children and grandchildren of our staff. Most of them ride to some degree and they all like to “help,” mostly by chasing the goats around the petting zoo and pestering the dogs. (That’s Boss Lady’s 4 year old grandson on the far left engaged in that very activity.)

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