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Champagne Up, Cowgirl - Hundreds Join In Annual Rodeo Week Tradition
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Every year, Christie Camarillo, executive director of the Cowboy Museum, squeezes a few more seats into the event – and every year, it sells out months in advance.

There isn’t a better time found in the middle of the work week in April and the ladies who attend the Cowgirl Luncheon are very aware of this fact, which is why for the 10th annual event, 432 women, decked out in their western wear finest, sauntered into the community center Wednesday, April 6, to be served champagne and beer (ladies’ choice) by 60 cowboys.

Cowboys and champagne…what’s not to love?

“It’s never too early to have a glass of champagne, especially during rodeo week,” Camarillo said, kicking off the event. “As you can see, if we’d had more room we’d have had more people.

“But,” she laughed, “as you can see, there’s no more room! These guys (the cowboy servers) have taken the day off to spend the better part of the day with us, so enjoy!”

For the attendees, some of whom traveled a great distance to attend, it’s more than just a good time filled with booze and buckles, it’s about getting together with the girls and for one day whoopin’ it up in grand style.

Some — most, actually – take the day off because they know, after the revelry is finished at the luncheon, the next stop is the H-B Saloon where they will pick up where they left off.

In short, it’s a ridiculously good time filled with laughter, good food, great company, and of course, plenty of liquor.

“It’s a fun time for the girls to get together,” Dora Murray said of the event.

Murray and her good friend K.C. Andersen were among the out-of-town travelers who made it a point to attend. Both Murray and Andersen are from Livermore but they’re well acquainted with Oakdale and the rodeo circuit.

This was Andersen’s first Cowgirl Luncheon but she was impressed with the event.

“It’s overwhelming to see so many women in the western lifestyle getting together to have fun,” Andersen said. “It’s so great to see a room full of women without the cat fights. Everyone’s about having a good time. I will definitely come back next year.”

Andersen donated a Driscoll Ranch rodeo package for the live auction, which ended up fetching $750.

Hats were tipped to the recently passed Phil Stadtler and special recognition was given to Frances Butler, a western woman in La Grange who was as Camarillo put it, “living the lifestyle of an American cowgirl.”

The cowboy servers were invited to say a few words as they introduced themselves and all were greeted with enthusiastic whoops and hollers — and even a few catcalls — as they took the stage.

Most of the men were a little gun shy about the microphone and their resultant blushes and shy grins were met with roars of applause but a few made some memorable remarks, such as, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” “four hundred women in one room with champagne, what’s not to love?” “what could be better than watching all you women drink champagne?”

But perhaps the best remark was made by Ron Grohl as the last cowboy who took the microphone as he said, “Drink up ladies…seeing as I bought the champagne, it’s probably the only time I’ll ever buy you a drink!”

The laughter and applause was deafening.