A material part of Tevis history has gone, sliding into the sands of time. Joseph 'Bud' Cavangaro Dardi passed away peacefully on January 4, 2017.
Bud Dardi was an avid horseman all his life, traveling the world playing polo, riding the toughest endurance race in the world and enjoying week long rides with his buddies in Ranchero Vistadores, Sonoma Trail Blazers and Frontier Boys.
As a small child, Dardi lived in Piedmont, California and learned to ride in the Oakland hills. When his parents moved to San Francisco, he got a job working at Golden Gate Park Stables and there he became a protégé of the late William Tevis.
In the mid-1960s, Dardi borrowed Tevis’ horse Pancho – a part Arabian, part Morgan that had been purchased from Sharon Saare - and made ride history. The well-matched pair won the ride in 1966 and 1968 – in 1968 with a time of 11:18, arguably a course record. In between their wins, Pancho was awarded the Haggin Cup in 1967.
Dardi went on to finish ten Tevis starts, quitting the field when he had is thousand-mile buckle in hand.
He also played polo with “Willie” Tevis and the two of them road many miles, conditioning the endurance horses, at Tevis’ Lake Ranch near Olema, California (the property was later donated and now makes up a portion of the Point Reyes National Sea Shore.) Frequently Dardi would head to the Sierra foothills and train on the Tevis trail, pre-riding and marking trail with Paige Harper and Wendell Robie.
Dardi was quiet but colorful, with a quick-witted sense of humor. He loved a good laugh and was well-known for playing jokes on his fellow man.
Bud Dardi will be missed by the entire Tevis community.
[For more great history and a fascinating interview with Bud Dardi, please read the article in the 2016 Tevis Forum magazine on page 58.]