Printer Friendly

TAKING A STEP BACK IN TIME OLD WEST WAYS DRAW CROWDS TO NINTH-ANNUAL COWBOY FESTIVAL.

Byline: Amy Raisin Staff Writer

NEWHALL - Ask the cowboys and cowgirls why the customs of the Old West still draw so many people together and out comes the horse sensibility of the era: no computers, no cell phones, just the simple life.

Thousands descended on the historic Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio on Saturday for the 9th Annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, where sheriff's deputies patrolled dusty Main Street on horseback as visitors shopped in the mercantile and followed their noses to the mesquite-smoke chuck wagons.

``Cowboy tradition is a way of living, a way of thinking,'' said Mike Bruno, who drove from Redondo Beach with his wife, both clad in Western wear. ``It was a time when a man means what he says.''

``They had a lot more to offer as far as an example,'' added his wife, Vivian. ``The way they lived their lives, there was a lot more philosophy to it. They knew it was about the simplest things. The simplest things are the dearest things.''

Granted, a few nonconformists chatted on their cell phones, but most of the people - many dressed in the chaps, spurs and horse-riding skirts of the Old West - yee-hawed to the sights and sounds of the trick-roping lady, the guitar-picking singers and the craggy blacksmiths bent over their intense flames.

Lawrence Cordova, born in Castaic in 1926, came out with his cane, cowboy boots and jeans and reminisced about what it used to be like in the Santa Clarita Valley.

``We used to have a lot of fun in them days,'' Cordova said. ``We used to come out here when it was real Western and we used to watch the rodeos.''

While some may argue that the Western way of life is fading because the younger generations think Roy Rogers is merely a fizzy drink with grenadine, the festival seems to gain momentum each year, drawing popular western musicians.

The harmonies of the Sons of the San Joaquin drew a sold-out crowd Saturday. And people waited in line well before show time to catch the musical acts in the cavernous Melody Ranch Theater.

From babies in strollers to senior citizens, crowds sauntered along Mercantile Row, leisurely popping in and out of stores - with signs reading ``Telegraph Office,'' ``Doc Adams Upstairs'' and ``Horses Let'' - that sold bolo ties, silver jewelry, cowboy hats and hundreds of other Western-themed goods.

It was the Cowboy Cultural Committee tent, however, that drew a nonstop line of hungry visitors. Based in Visalia, the committee brought its chuck wagon to the festival to raise money for its own version in October.

Dozens of people waited for the chance to fill their stomachs with the tri-tip sandwich, biscuits and gravy and the famous Cowboy Cobbler.

As the meat roasted on the outdoor grill, men in chaps watched over 10 cast-iron dutch ovens, heated with red-hot coals just a few feet off the ground, that held cinnamon-topped peach cobbler, fresh biscuits and creamy gravy.

``The secret's in the dirt, the ashes,'' joked volunteer cook Randy Hamill. ``We only use the finest quality dirt from right here in Santa Clarita.''

The festival will continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3 to 11.

COWBOY POETRY SCHEDULE

The following events will take place today, the final day of the ninth annual Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival. Call (661) 286-4021 for tickets.

TODAY

Carousel Ranch Benefit Trail Ride, 8 a.m.-noon at Atlasta Ranch, Newhall. Tickets are $75 for the ride and lunch, or $20 for lunch only.

``The Romance of Ramona'' Motorcoach Tour, 8:30 a.m.-noon at Heritage Junction, Newhall. Tickets are $50.

Cowboy Inspirational Hour, 11 a.m. in the Melody Ranch Theater at Melody Ranch, Newhall. Tickets are $10.

Wylie and the Wild West, Joni Harms and Gary McMahan, 1 p.m. in the Melody Ranch Theater at Melody Ranch, Newhall. Tickets are $20 to $30.

Michael Martin Murphey, Elizabeth Ebert and Stephanie Davis, 3:30 p.m. in the Melody Ranch Theater at Melody Ranch. Tickets are $25 to $35.

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- color -- ran in SAC edition only) Michelle Hogan, 10, and her brother, Mark, 7, take in the sights at Melody Ranch on Saturday during the Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

(2 -- color in SAC only -- ran in SAC and Valley edition only) Jim Townsley of Chatsworth takes roping to new heights on Melody Ranch's Main Street.

(3 -- 4; 3 -- ran in SAC and Valley edition only; 4 -- ran in SAC edition only) Visitors to the Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival on Saturday could find the proper hat to wear around the Melody Ranch by visiting one of the vendors selling Western wear, above. Photo opportunities abound on the motion picture studio once owned by singing cowboy Gene Autry. Michael Wendrowski, left, takes a picture of Beth Jankovic in front of one of the buildings on the ranch's Main Street.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer

Box:

COWBOY POETRY SCHEDULE (see text)
COPYRIGHT 2002 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 24, 2002
Words:842
Previous Article:TRADITION REIGNS AT EVENT.
Next Article:BICHETTE CALLS IT A CAREER.


Related Articles
OLD WEST WILL RIDE AGAIN MELODY RANCH GETS READY.
FESTIVAL DRAWS 50,000 MUSIC EVENT'S PROCEEDS FUND AT-RISK YOUTH PROGRAMS.
RELIVING OLD WEST; FESTIVALGOERS TAKE STEP BACK IN TIME.
WESTERN CIVILIZATION : COWBOY POETS ARE WELL-VERSED IN THE HEARTFELT EMOTIONS OF YESTERYEAR'S CULTURE.
FASHION TO BE FIT FOR THE STAGE MODELS TO SHOW OFF LATEST WESTERN WEAR.
BRIEFLY CHECK THE WAITERS AT COPS AND LOBSTER.
WESTERN HEROES FOR A DAY COWBOY POETRY AND MUSIC FESTIVAL RIDES OFF INTO SUNSET.
TRADITION REIGNS AT EVENT.
COWBOY FESTIVAL A STEP BACK IN TIME.
PEACE OF THE PAST MOVIE SET GIVES BREAK FROM WAR NEWS.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters