Covered Calistoga wagons and settlements complete with chow carts will descend on Oakdale this November as various Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone characters arrive in the city for the debut of Pioneer Days and the Pioneer Rodeo, The Leader has learned.
A group of citizens wishing to remain anonymous at this time has gained financial support and even corporate backing of what they hope will remain an identifying part of the city and “more than just a two-day event like that ‘other’ rodeo.”
According to promoters, the figure of the pioneer has played a large role in American culture, literature and folklore, much associated with Oakdale.
“The cowboy is not the only iconic figure which forms in the settlement of the West and this city,” said the unnamed source. “While much cultural note is given to other figures of a more transient nature, such as cowboys, the pioneer alone represents those who went into unexplored territory in search of a new life, looking to establish permanent settlement in this area.”
Backers, pointing out that the historic Willms House on the east side of the city was used for such pioneer-themed shows as Little House on the Prairie and the Young Pioneers, hope the American frontier can be accurately portrayed in the city of 20,000 in hopes of bringing tourism and visitors back to Oakdale.
The event hopes to take people back to the mid-1800s through music, dance and storytelling where they can come downtown and select a pioneer bonnet or hat, pull a handcart on a one hour trek to 20 campsites scattered on F Street and Yosemite Avenue.
At the end of the rodeo on Saturday, attendees can grab a partner for pioneer dancing and experience challenges faced by early pioneers taking turns pulling, guiding, and doing the activities at each campsite.
“Brush up on your sign language so you can negotiate with Native Americans of Oakdale you meet along the way,” said one of the persons interviewed.
Organizers researched the history of famous Oakdale Pioneers finding stories of Barney “Hermit” Wy and Papa Lut, well documented by Chip A’moral – none of which were cowboys, they added.
Planners said they picked early November to host the event so it would stand out.
“We wanted to use ‘late fall’ somewhere in our title so people finally get the point of the event,” a planner said.
And watch out Ogden, Utah, who now claims to be the Pioneer Rodeo Capital.
“We took the lead in beating Stephenville, Texas for Cowboy Capital of World in 2008,” said Oakdale Cowboy Museum Director Christie Camarillo. “I’m ready to take a run against Ogden for Pioneer Days Rodeo.”
“If this rodeo brings us 365-day recognition as pioneers, I’m all for it,” said former mayor and councilman, Farrell Jackson.
With the cowboy being well represented in Oakdale, the organizers’ main goal is to raise awareness of the pioneer image for the city.
“It’s been said that the cowboy image is only a few days a year unlike a pioneer theme,” they said, “but we hope your readers understand us and they have a ‘Pioneer Perfect’ April Fool’s Day.”