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Cowbelles serve annual Chuck Wagon luncheon

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Betsy Cardoza, left, and Stacy Miles serve Ben Samper during the annual Madera County Cattlewoman’s annual Chuck Wagon luncheon Thursday.


In spite of a rainstorm, a good crowd turned out on for the annual Madera County Cattlewoman’s annual Chuck Wagon luncheon on Thursday.

The service club promotes the California beef industry and supports scholarships with their male counterparts in the Madera County Cattlemen’s Association.

The lunch menu included deep pit beef on a roll, chili beans and homemade salads and desserts. The salads and desserts were made by some of the best cooks in the county. Imagine the best potluck supper with 50 to 75 home cooked salads and desserts.

Each member brings a large salad and a dessert. Many of the members bring several of each. A Cowgirl Kitchen, organized by members Dawna Trueblood, Shirley Anderson and Julie Ringquist, sold cookies, brownies, quilts, homemade jams and various other pantry gadgets and gift items.

The women provided additional baked goods for the sale, held during the event.

“The ingredients and labor are the members’ individual contributions to the project,” said past Cowbelle of the Year Frankie LeTourneau.

The lunch serving lines are organized into dine-in and takeout lines with members replenishing the serving stations with more food as the ticket holders filed by.

The Cattlewomen use the proceeds of the lunch to fund scholarships awarded in conjunction with the Madera County Cattlemen’s Association. Several $1,000 scholarships are awarded each year to graduating seniors. These Madera residents are pursuing agricultural careers as their college major.

The association prepares lunch for 600, said long-time member Ann Fahey. The Barbacoa style deep pit beef came cooked and ready to serve from Fastway Catering.

“The 300 pounds of beef cooked on the smoker all night long,” said Fastway owner Kathy Nishimoto, who delivered the meat to the kitchen door of the Woman’s World building at the Madera Fairgrounds.

Long time cattlewoman Blanche Campbell chairs the event held every spring since the 1970s, she said.

Formed April 2, 1952, the association has the goal of promoting the beef industry. In the early years scholarship funds were raised by the association selling raffle tickets for a side of beef. The late Mary McKinney came up with the idea for the luncheon.

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