Southern California is an industrialized megalopolis, but its agricultural history continues in some unlikely places. One of them is the City of Compton, where a few cowboys still ride their horses — on trails but also through city streets.
For years, the center of cowboy culture was “The Hill,” a stable at Figueroa and 131st streets, until it mysteriously burned down 3 years ago. Since then, a small group of Compton cowboys have been trying to keep their club alive by rebuilding the stable. Their effort is the subject of a documentary called “Fire on the Hill,” which has a Kickstarter campaign.
Warren Olney recently spoke with the filmmaker and one of the cowboys.
Ghuan Featherstone is a Compton resident who has been leading the charge. He started hanging around the stable in 1999 and fell in love with how integrated it was compared to Los Angeles as a whole.
“Whites here, blacks here, Mexicans here. When they do meet you have problems in the inner city. This is the only place I know where gang members with known differences can meet up with no problem,” he says.
Ghuan says he keeps a Tennessee Walker named African Lady. “I got into it because it eased my mind from the hustle and bustle of the big city.”
Documentary filmmaker Brett Fallentine has filming residents riding in South Central and Compton area since 2011.
“Seeing these guys with the cowboy spirit they have in an inner city landscape has struck me from the beginning, it’s a powerful image. It’s allowed me to see South Central in a different light,” says Fallentine.
His fundraising campaign on Kickstarter has 15 days left.