Cow Camp is the soul of the community’s ranching heart. All ranch operations are coordinated here. It’s home to the Vaqueros and their families, and a protected place for horse pastures, row crops, the tack room (where saddles and other equipment are kept) and large corrals.
Although not open to the general public, Cow Camp is the place for ranch hands to gather at dawn for the day’s assignments and then return at dusk to review the day’s accomplishments. And each spring, as it has happened for over a century, it’s where cowboys gather and brand the annual calf crop with our traditional “Rafter M” mark.
Throughout the year, cattle can be found roaming the hillsides and valleys of The Ranch. To keep the land protected, cattle are regularly moved through fenced pastures. This practice, called rotational grazing, is key to the management of RMV’s grasslands, particularly its rare native grasslands.
As a result of these and other sustainable ranching practices, our ranch lands have increased in biomass and diversity available for other species. Today, teams of scientists gather to study this model of responsible ranching and common-sense conservation.
Each August, thousands travel to The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo to experience the excitement of bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping, team roping and bull riding at one of the richest two-day rodeos in the nation, with a purse totaling over $200,000! The funds raised help honor the old cowboy tradition of “passing the hat” in support of a family in need.