A Little History of the Modjeska Mavericks
Compiled by Kassie Jackson
The Modjeska Mavericks was founded in 1960. The year 2020 marks our 61st anniversary!
The club originated back in the foothills of Saddleback Mountain in the Modjeska Canyon of Orange County. Three cowboys sipping coffee by a campfire sat and conjured up the idea of starting a horse club. They were gung-ho about it and so was everyone to whom they told their idea. With a lot of running around, hasty decisions, and about $100 later they held their 1st show two months later. It was a huge success! Complete with western classes, rodeo events, an Indian pow-wow, BBQ, music, dancing, and tons of people. The weekend long event was complete with camp-over, trail rides, tug-o-war, and goat tying. These festive two day events continued well into the 1970's.
The club has seen many arena ‘homes’ in its time. The Irvine Company allowed the club free access to its land for an arena throughout the 60's, but eventually the land giant began selling property piece by piece until the club was forced to consider other locations. The club held their events in Modjeska Canyon, Silverado Canyon, and Black Star Canyon. The flood of ‘68 washed away the entire Black Star Canyon arena, and the club was forced to move down the hill to Irvine Park. Mother Nature tested the club again by washing away the entire arena (as well as Irvine Park) in 1971.
The club then took several months off to re-group and was offered the use of the facility at Villa Park Stables. In 1973 a better offer was made to the club and yet another move was made to Rancho Batavia Stables in Orange. The stables shut down in 1974 and yet another location for the Mavericks was sought.
This time the club landed at Rancho Del Rio Stables in Anaheim, adjacent to the Santa Ana Riverbed. English, Western, and Gymkhana classes continued, but a large portion of the Mavericks "family" remained 25 miles east- tucked away in their homeland of Modjeska Canyon. The BBQ's, pow-wows, music and dancing were left behind and much of the club’s heritage and founders were left behind in the move out of the foothills of Saddleback Mountain. By 1980, the club had moved 7 times from its original canyon home.
The Modjeska Mavericks quickly established themselves at Rancho Del Rio Stables in Anaheim. The two day shows attracted almost 100 contestants from all over Southern California. But the city arena lacked the old fashioned western ambiance that had been the attraction for so many of the “family.”
At that time the club was a member of ETI Corrals and followed the CSHA rules for gymkhana classes. In 1972 the California Gymkhana Association was formed and CGA’s rapidly growing popularity convinced the club to apply for affiliation. In 1973 the Modjeska Mavericks became CGA District 17. With the switch to CGA, the club membership rapidly swelled and many of the area’s top riders became regular participants in the Mavericks’ shows.
In 1988 the Modjeska Mavericks moved to Ingall's Park and has proudly called the City of Norco "home" ever since.
The original club logo was a brown steer head on a blue background. In 1991 the board presented the members with a more modern "color scheme" of navy blue, black and white. Both sets are used to represent the club today.
Today, the Modjeska Mavericks Riding Club is still one of the largest districts in the California Gymkhana Association . The club has striven to remain true to its heritage and its members. The Modjeska Mavericks is known statewide for well run shows, spectacular year end awards and a great ‘family’ of members.