Profile: Jay Dusard (Himself)

By Mike Thomas

This is one profile that I really feel that I am not qualified to do! Thus it will be short and I'll just ask the reader to explore Jay's works on the Internet at and

I am qualified to state that his life work of photographing people and places in the West, where I have spent my own life, are a muted, wonderful testimonial to each subject, and to the life of the West that they chose and loved. Jay is an amazing human being who has captured the reality of the West and those of us that made it our life. His still photographs will be featured in the upcoming Legacy of the California Vaquero documentary.

January 19, 2007

Our very dear friend, great horseman, and oldest juvenile delinquent, Ray Harmon, had passed away, and we all gathered in Tucson, Arizona for the final ride. Several of us folks that loved Ray Harmon and his life, and wife Janet, met at a Waffle House around Grant and I-10 about an hour before the funeral ceremony. Hal Coker, Christian Clews, and several others gathered there.

Shortly a fellow pulled up and saw me in my rig. He asked: "Are you here for Ray’s funeral?" "Yes", I told this man. (I'd seen him in pictures, but did not know who he was.) I said: "Yes, and several others are on the inside trying to find out where the church is." The gentleman was dressed like the rest of us, thus he was one of us. 

I went in and saw that this gentleman had found a seat near the group. I then met Jay Dusard (himself)! Our intro was fitting. He said: "I am Jay Dusard." I said, in my infinite wisdom: "Really! I have heard of you for years!" Jay asked: "Who are you?" I said: “Mike Thomas." Jay said: "I’ve heard of you before." An ominous silence followed but we had a good time. During the funeral of our incredible friend Ray Harmon, Jay and I and Jason Danhoff sat about 28 rows back and watched the ceremony for one of all our best friends in life. I quit counting after about 600+ people.

Some of the best horsemen in the world were there. Buck Brannaman, Paul Dietz, Peter Campbell, Kip Fladland, Joel Eliot and mucho more! Ray lived for his wife Janet and family and never waivered. Ray’s funeral was a time, not only to celebrate our friend's life, but to have a deeper understanding of Janet and the family, our friends and much more. Christian Clews told a moving story about our friend, Ray Harmon.

November, 2007

Jay Dusard wound up at a Ray Hunt Clinic sponsored by Joel Eliot and rode in both classes, and we had a lot of fun. We just simply had more fun that the law probably would allow. His work didn’t stop! At the end of the clinic, he took photos of Ray Hunt (himself) and Carolyn (herself). I have not seen any of those pictures but I know as sure as I write this... they are classic photos of classic friends.

The best part of the cow working, however, was a moment a cow "went on the hook"! She tried to tip Ray over in a small SUV, then took off in the Sonoita, Arizona arena and challenged about 30 fairly good hands about 30 yards away! That cow, with the West’s version of "really mad cow disease" (not contagious) decided Jay and his horse would make a great target! I just happened to have my camera and no photography talent when the "mad cow" decided to put her muley head between Jay’s horse's hind legs!!

The results were profound: "The Old Fart Rode It Out!" Not only can the man capture the life he and all of us love, but he can still do the job and he didn’t get dirted!

With Mucho Respect to Jay and Kathie Dusard,

Mike Thomas (Himself)