BY VIRGINIA STILL
Greeted at the door by a cowboy with a tray of mimosas as ladies entered the Gene Bianchi Community Center in Oakdale on Wednesday was the welcome that was well received at the 15th Annual Cowgirl Luncheon, hosted by the Oakdale Cowboy Museum in celebration of rodeo week.
Every year the luncheon sells out with several returning guests year after year to participate in a unique experience that includes a live auction, raffle, and cowboy servers. Women from all over the area gather at the event to enjoy a tasty meal, socialize and relish in a little country western hospitality.
“We have a real hardworking board,” stated Dave Brown, Cowboy Museum Board President. “That is the way we operate. We have had some changes this year and Karen Serpa stepped up and has done a great job moving forward with the board as our manager.”
Local boutique Cowgirl Couture offered guests western apparel, country décor, handbags, wallets, and jewelry and Cowboy Toffee Co. offered up some sweet treats during the luncheon.
Raffle tickets that were purchased were deposited into several different items from baskets, to candles, to home décor, totes, and art.
There is not a lack of beverages at the event with tables of eight that have water bottles, white and red wine along with servers that had pitchers of tea, water, and buckets of beer bottles and cans. The chatter and laughter could be heard in all directions and as the festivities began Mayor Pat Paul in western attire and cowboy boots welcomed the cowgirls to the lunch.
There were approximately 50 cowboy servers at the event that were introduced to the attendees and then Norm Mendenhall gave a blessing before lunch was served.
Steve Medlen’s House of Beef catered the event serving up ribeye steaks, chicken Caesar salad, scalloped potatoes, bread and beverages.
During lunch and new to the festivities this year was a brief fashion show sponsored by Cowgirl Couture with three models in three different outfits and accessories.
As part of the 15-year celebration of the event the board of directors of the Cowboy Museum elected to honor the original servers that began the tradition which were Ted Ashworth, Jerold Camarillo, Ron Grohl, Joe Murray, John Roen, Bob Brunker Jr., Pat Kirby, Jim Charles, Phil Stadtler, and Ted Nuce.
“Next year we will go back to honor a cowgirl or woman in the industry,” said Brown.
There were several items up for grabs during the live auction including Giants tickets, a shopping spree from Grocery Outlet, 507 Day Spa retreat, a day at Golden Gate Fields, Brad Paisley autographed guitar along with two tickets to his upcoming concert and a table of 8 for next year’s cowgirl luncheon.
The auction item that had several ladies cheering and that caused quite a stir was the date with a cowboy auction item which included two cowboys this year, and dinner at H-B for three friends. One of the cowboys in the item was auctioneer and cowboy Travis Johnson, who made his way through the sea of ladies and showed one of the bidders his dance moves.
All proceeds received go to the Cowboy Museum which has made it possible for them to contribute to student organizations like District 5 High School Rodeo Association, Oakdale FFA and the Interact Club. They also have a scholarship program for high school seniors in the area.