|Ford “preferred to be just one of the local cowpokes.”
President M. Richard Nixon isn’t the only U.S. President associated with Orange County.
In fact, did you know that President Gerald Ford visited his son Steve in Mission Viejo back in 1976?
Well, it’s true according to the history books and an old press release dated May 20, 1976, which reported that the 38th resident was going to pay a visit.
“Steve Ford is an expert with a lasso and he proved it this week by roping his father, the President of the United States, into a visit to Mission Viejo where he has been working as a cowboy for the last four months. The President's visit Sunday approximately coincides with the younger Ford's 20th birthday and represents Steve's birthday wish, according to a spokesman for the White House,” says the release.
Apparently, father and son were on hand on May 20 for a public concert and a flag dedication ceremony, commemorating Mission Viejo's 10th anniversary, at the Mission Viejo High School campus.
The younger Ford moved to California to train horses at the Mission Viejo Stables and study animal science at Cal Poly Pomona.
At the time, the official program said they would arrive by motorcade at the high school's senior lawn, “hoist Mission Viejo's new community flag, and present the school with a flag that has flown over the White House.”
“Hooked on horses and ranching, the younger Ford donned a cowboy hat and spurs last January to work under the guidance of trainer, George Teixeira, who gives him high marks for his corral work. Ford, who previously trained under famed cowboy, Casey Tibbs, is in charge of approximately two dozen show horses owned by Orange County residents,” the release stated.
At that time, Ford reportedly lived in Newport Beach but had plans to move to Pomona to be closer to the college to study the scientific aspects of horse care.
While here, he kept a low profile about his work as a ranch hand, “preferring to be just one of the local cowpokes.”