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Cowbelles luncheon returns

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Members of the MCCA and area 4-H Club pause for a group photo while serving its annual Chuckwagon Luncheon in Joe Van Alen Hall on Thursday, served drive-through style. The association sold 370 tickets to benefit scholarships for local students.


After a year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Cowbell Chuckwagon luncheon returned to the Madera Fairgrounds.

The Madera County Cattlewomen’s Association was forced to cancel the annual fundraiser in 2020 due to the pandemic.

This year the club made some changes to its luncheon procedures and hosted its event, drive-thru style on Thursday.

“The Cattlewomen have been holding the luncheon since the 1970’s, starting at Griffin Hall, according to founding member Gay Wright, who attended the luncheon,” said chairperson Ann Fayhe. “We appreciate the community support we get, helping to fund our annual scholarships.”

The association awards several scholarships to Madera County high school students. The criteria require an educational path that pursues studies within the cattle industry or agricultural discipline, said Fayhe.

The meal consisted of a tri-tip sandwich, chili beans, and an assortment of salads and desserts.

Ticket-holders drove up through the parking lot behind the kitchen area of Joe Van Alen and Hatfield halls at the fairgrounds. Members distributed and carried the lunches to cars with the driver remaining in their vehicle.

Geoff Tipton, from Cowboy Catering of Raymond, cooked and served 150 pounds of beef tri-tip.

“The tri-tip is smoked over a fire of Raymond Oak and Mesquite wood,” said Tipton.

Bob Fallert and Morgan Staneart assisted with the cooking and slicing the meat.

Fayhe, with the help of young volunteers, prepared 54 gallons of beans. The association sold 370 tickets, she said.

Amanda Jensen Morgan organized the kitchen staff comprised of Cattlewomen, 4-H Club members, friends and family.

“There are about 30 people helping,” said Morgan.

The salads and desserts were made at home by the membership. Typically, the ladies will each bring two desserts such as cookies, cakes, pies and cobblers. The variety of salads are member-created who donate the ingredients and their marvelous cooking skills to the cause.

Musical entertainment for the luncheon came from Razz Reynolds, who performs as “The Roaming Hillbilly.” Strumming his guitar and singing country-western songs, he also promoted the Coarsegold Rodeo, his next performance venue.

Levi Bryson, a 14-year-old student at Raymond Knowles Union Elementary School, is one of the 4-H Club members helping to serve.

Bryson is bound for the State Finals as a champion bull rider. A member of the National High School Rodeo Association for District 6, he is next competing at the May 12 competition in Red Bluff.

After he graduates from eighth grade, he will attend Yosemite High School with the class of 2025, he said.

Referring to the association and members as Cowbells has fallen from favor in an era of political correctness. Every year members from each club select a Cowbell of the Year to honor. This lady then competes for the state award then those honorees compete for the National Cowbell of the year award.


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