SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A 5th generation Central Coast resident, Rhonda Ledson Henderson is a mega star in her own right. Her hard work, dedication, and above all, love, for the Central Coast and Old Spanish Days Fiesta has led her to this moment--the top brass--the role of 2017 Old Spanish Days La Presidente.
Rhonda's Great-Great-Grandfather Patrick O'Connor settled in Los Osos Valley outside of San Luis Obispo after coming to the U.S. from Ireland in the 1800's. O'Connor worked as a dairy farmer after trying his hand at mining during the famed gold rush era. Rhonda attributes O'Connor's success as a dairy farmer for her love of cheese till this day.
As a young girl, Rhonda would go to her grandfather's ranch getting up very early to go out and feed the cows, bale hay, and occasionally get to ride the horses for fun.
Rhonda joined the Old Spanish Days Board in 2006 where she was the chair of the Fiesta Flower Girls for six years, chaired four years of Fiesta Ranchera, sat on many of the organization's committees, until finally joining the executive committee that led her to her current role as La Presidente 11 years after becoming a board member.
As La Presidente, Rhonda's life is anything but calm and relaxing. On a typical day, she must meet with Fiesta sponsors, organizers, sign posters, meet and give interviews to the press, attend Fiesta events, and everything on top of getting work done at her everyday job as Executive Vice President at Radius Investments LLC. But somehow through all of her extremely busy schedule, she maintains a contagious smile on her face.
Catch Rhonda at the various Fiesta events which run from August 2 to August 6, 2017. Rhonda will be the first woman to ride at El Desfile Historico by horse while currently holding the title of La Presidente.
Rhonda is married to Ben Feld and has two children, Carter and Michelle. Watch the video above and get to know more about this year's Old Spanish Days La Presidente.