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Cowboy Museum Withdraws From Iconic Testicle Festival
Cowboy Statue

The Oakdale Cowboy Museum has ended its 15-year event partnership with the Oakdale Rotary Club and the Oakdale Testicle Festival, according to Cowboy Museum Manager Karen Serpa.

Serpa said Rotary Club fundraisers had not been producing enough revenue to meet their own project needs and the club had asked that they be the sole sponsor of the annual event.

“We graciously gave it back to them understanding it was their baby,” Serpa said. “We thank them for letting us be a part of it for 15 years.”

Several sources from both organizations contacted, however, said at issue was the Rotary Club’s doubt as to the level of the museum’s participation due to the departure of former museum director Christie Camarillo last July. The museum was initially resistant to dropping out and at the end of the year representatives from both sides had exchanged letters and held meetings.

Camarillo was a main fixture at the Testicle Festival with advance ticket sales, marketing, sponsorships, and day of event activities.

Serpa said that it was an approximate $20,000 loss to museum coffers without funds from the Testicle Festival.

“The board (of directors) is working on other means to generate revenue,” Serpa said. “The museum is still thriving.”

“It was a decision by our board of directors, a financial decision only,” said Oakdale Rotary Club President Farrell Jackson. “It provides more income to the club if we’re the only sponsors.”

Jackson confirmed that there had been meetings between board members of both organizations and described them as “amicable.”

“After the meetings with museum representatives we came to an agreement,” Jackson said. “We continue to support the Cowboy Museum and they will continue to support us.”

The Oakdale Testicle Festival became an annual event, first staged 35 years ago, as Oakdale Rotary Club members in the 1980s wanted to come up with an idea for an annual fundraiser. They sought something unique that would reflect the local western heritage of the area.

 In 2001, the Cowboy Museum joined as a co-sponsor of the annual event.

“Our intent is not to poke the museum in the eye,” Jackson said “We feel they do great things for the cowboy way of life in the community.”

Camarillo said that due to her past experience being involved, she was asked by the Rotary Club if she could provide assistance at this year’s Testicle Festival.

“I will be there to volunteer and help,” Camarillo said. “I will be glad to help the Rotary Club continue to make the Testicle Festival a success.”