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Mommy Musings - Cowgirls And Finish Lines

POSTED April 13, 2011 11:57 a.m.
After a few months of hibernation and quality family time, along comes April.
This April in particular, I could not help but wonder what life might be like in another zip code. April in Oakdale is — simply put — jam packed.
We start the month with Little League Opening Day and conclude it with a good old fashioned Easter Egg Hunt.
My favorite April events however, have held steady for the better part of the past seven years, Cowgirl Luncheon and Relay For Life.
First I will out myself, before any haters start penning Letters to the Editor. Admittedly I am not a ‘Cowgirl.’ I did, however, marry into a ranching family. My husband grew up idolizing the Camarillo brothers, when he was a young boy getting started in rodeo. He still finds it amusing (and a source of pride) that his wife is friends with their sister Christie. While I may not ride a horse, own chaps or tend to livestock (other than my two kids), I understand and respect the uniqueness and dedication of the Cowboy/Cowgirl lifestyle. One visit to my in-laws home in Wyoming during ‘calving season’ taught me I was not tough enough for that trade.
With all that said, I must also point out that this luncheon is not necessarily for the literal Cowgirl, exclusively. The ever-popular luncheon, which now sells out in hours, offers us ladies an opportunity to participate in Rodeo Week in our own special way. It’s a good time seated amongst girlfriends, while being cared for by 60 some odd Cowboy Servers. True to her passion for the Cowboy Lifestyle, Christie always manages to throw in a tribute and some history, which is not wasted on 400 of her closest friends.
As one friend recently stated, “It’s the day the ladies take over the Cowboy Capital of the World.”
Simply put, it’s a sort of girl’s night out, but in the middle of a Wednesday during Rodeo Week. The best part of course is that the proceeds benefit the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, which does so much for this community.
As we slowly recover from the craziness of a town taken over by Rodeo fans, we gear up for a different type of mayhem. In past columns, I’ve referred to it as a ‘community camp out,’ but it is more officially known as Relay For Life of Oakdale. This year, we will mark its 10th Anniversary. Just typing that sentence brings with it a sense of pride.
As a community paper, we were the first to introduce it to the community in 2002. It was a life changing moment for many of us. As we prepared for this week’s issue of The Oakdale Leader, we (my editor and myself) revisited photos of past years.
Both of my children have grown up on that track. Many of the people they see each year, have known them since they were in my belly hidden behind a ‘Committee’ T-shirt. What an amazing journey it has been.
Ten years ago, Vickie Cordoza and her sister Gail Migliore stopped by our office to inform us that Oakdale would be home to its own Relay For Life event, the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. That year 23 teams lined the track at Oakdale High School.
Since then thousands of people have flocked to the field to walk the same path for that life-changing 24 hour stretch. Close to 2 million dollars has been raised by our little town in the Central Valley. That money has benefitted research, patient services, education and advocacy.
Sadly, each year someone else we know is faced with a cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, we know where to guide them and the laundry list of ways they may be able to benefit from the efforts that have happened right here in our little zip code of 95361.
So, thanks April for reminding me of what an amazing place I wake up in each morning. Lastly thanks to all the organizations and volunteers for bringing us so many of the events we attend throughout the year (not just April). As a community united we can make big things happen.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at thammond@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.
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