Forty cowboys left rodeo week with memories which will sustain them a lifetime and it didn’t come by way of accomplishment at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo Grounds.
On Wednesday, April 11, those 40 cowboys of all ages took on the task of serving over 460 women at the Gene Bianchi Community Center for the 17th Annual Cowgirl Luncheon. Hosted each year by the Oakdale Cowboy museum, the proceeds from the event benefit operations and maintenance of the Cowboy Museum, as well as help finance multiple scholarships offered by the museum.
Each year, tickets are sold out within hours of going on sale. According to Museum Director Karen Serpa, some attendees lined up as early as 4:30 a.m. this year, to ensure they didn’t miss out on advance ticket sales. Serpa shared there were also two last minute table cancellations this year, which were quickly filled thanks to the wait list she keeps on hand for the event.
“It doesn’t die down,” she said of attendance.
Over $55,000 was raised at this year’s sold out event through tickets sales, silent and live auctions.
As testament to the event’s popularity the 2019 Cowgirl Luncheon reserved table for eight, guaranteeing a prime spot for next year, brought in a respectable $3,300 during the live auction.
“People wish we could make it bigger, because we have to turn down a lot of ladies,” Serpa shared. “That’s all we can fit.”
She noted talk has been made about relocating the event to varying locations including the FES Hall on the west end of town. She shared strong feelings for not relocating to the other facility, which is adjacent to a school and far from the conveniences the downtown area offers.
“We have a lot of out of towners that come,” she said, making mention of their visit to a number of neighboring local establishments following the luncheon.
In addition to fundraising for the museum, the Cowgirl Luncheon also dedicates a portion of the program to honor and pay tribute to a history making cowgirl. This year’s honoree was Patty Charles.
It is a portion of the program, which Serpa recognizes as an important part of the overall event but one which has lost some focus with the attendees the past few years, making the presentation almost impossible to hear. Serpa shared she intends to discuss the challenge with the board, in hopes of re-establishing the focus and importance of this piece of the program as part of the luncheon.
“When they know cowboys are going to come and serve them, they don’t care … young, old, they have a good time,” Serpa said of the sold out crowd each year. “And the camaraderie; they all have a good time coming and visiting. It’s basically a ladies day out.
“It was a good event overall,” she concluded.
For information on the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, events and donation opportunities visit www.oakdalecowboymuseum.org.