If it weren’t for cowgirls, there wouldn’t be any cowboys.
Those were the words of Oakdale Mayor Farrell Jackson when he addressed the crowd of 480 ‘cowgirls’ who came out to have a good time and support the Oakdale Cowboy Museum at the Ninth Annual Cowgirl Luncheon fundraiser on April 7 at the Gene Bianchi Community Center.
The event was described by Cowboy Museum board member Ron Grohl as one of the hardest tickets in town to obtain. He reported that the tickets sold out for this ever-growing and popular event in less than two weeks this year.
“The event went off without a hitch. We had 50 cowboy servers that served 480 women in about 35 minutes,” said Cowboy Museum Executive Director Christie Camarillo. “Our caterer, Steve Medlen from the House of Beef, has jokingly tried to hire Ron (Grohl) as a waiter, as he does such a great job of coordinating the waiters. We are very pleased with the overall results of this fundraiser.”
Those 50 cowboys were at the beck and call of the women attendees to keep their whistles wet with champagne, beer or iced tea. They also hand-served each attendee a steak lunch complete with grilled onions and mushrooms, pesto bowtie pasta, garlic bread, and broccoli salad. The cowboys represented various age groups and hailed from Oakdale and the surrounding areas. The group included, among others, retired professional cowboys, ranchers, and a former Sheriff of Stanislaus County.
Mayor Jackson commented in his address, “Who says there’s a bad economy going on? Not in this room.”
That comment was underscored when the high-selling item at the live auction — a vintage 1933 Joe Mora print of the American Cowboy, also known as Salinas Rodeo — sold for $2,050.
“This is a good fundraiser. It’s hard to raise money right now,” said annual event attendee Mary Anne Brennan-Strom.
There were also booths at the event that featured cowgirl attire, jewelry and décor for sale. One vendor, Shellie Horn of Turlock, debuted her business “Use It Again” at the luncheon, noting that the luncheon was “the perfect place” to introduce it and get the name out. She described her wares as custom western creations that she recreates, reuses, and customizes. Her booth featured her leatherwork, painting, rhinestone embellishments, and beading to clothing, boots and shoes, belts, hats, purses, jewelry, and home décor items.
Horn, whose daughter Kallie was crowned Oakdale Rodeo Queen three years ago, recalled that she attended the Cowgirl Luncheon in its first year. She commented on how much it had grown from those early days when it was held on the patio area of the Cowboy Museum.
As for future plans for the Cowgirl Luncheon, co-chairperson Christina Kistler said that expanding the event will be a discussion topic at the post-event meeting.
Proceeds from the Cowgirl Luncheon go toward the operation of the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, improvements to museum exhibits, community projects, and student scholarships.