Creswell (Oregon) August
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2nd Annual Coast Fork Cowboy Festival Creswell, Oregon
Report by Van Criddle, photos by Joyce Putnam, founding member of the Emerald Valley Opry in
COAST FORK COWBOY FESTIVAL
The sleepy little town of Creswell, OR, 20 minutes south of Eugene, was brought wide awake the weekend of August 4, 5, and 6, 2006 when cowboy musicians and cowboy poets from across the west rode full bore into town for the 2nd annual Coast Fork Cowboy Festival. They came from Utah, Idaho, California, Washington and Oregon to wreak their brand of havoc on this peaceful little town with their song and verse.
Event organizers Dallas and PJ McCord headed up this gang, whose goals were to promote cowboy and western entertainment, assure that folks had a great time. and raise funds for the local schools' music, drama and arts departments. From the looks of things. they were successful on all accounts.
The evening sun was setting low on the emerald green Coastal Range and the evening air was refreshingly cool as doors swung open at 6:00 pm and by 6:30 over 350 people were seated to hear pre-show music by the Poodle Creek Pickers, whose groupies are affectionately known as "Pickerheads" and proudly wear badges identifying themselves as such. The Pickers heated up the smiling crowd and really had them jumping when Emcees Dallas McCord and Van Criddle took the stage to officially start the festival.
Poodle Creek Pickers
Former Senior Ms. Idaho, Fay Briscoe, recited a beautiful patriotic poem and at its touching conclusion the Cascade Men's Chorus, Cowboy Ensemble beautifully rendered "God Bless America". At its conclusion the crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause and cheers.
The evening continued with Wayne Nelson's melodic voice and guitar. His hit song, "Dad Burned My Dad Burned Guitar," and his classic poem, "Snowville," were obviously appreciated by the crowd. Van Criddle's poem, "Sixteen Horses," brought a tear to many eyes, especially those who had worked with draft horses. North Fork, straight from their Yakima Ranch, pleased the crowd with their classic western and cowboy songs and their own original music.
"Awesome" Jim Aasen, the cowboy crooner whose voice is a Marty Robbins/Jim Reeves mix, moved folks with his mellow renditions of Marty Robbins and Gene Autry music. Event organizers Dallas and PJ McCord brought the house down with their hit single, "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore."
Three young writers were recognized as winners of the youth Cowboy Poetry writing contest. They each received a trophy and a belt buckle. They either had their poems read on stage or recited them themselves. It's great to see the next generation working to preserve this tradition.
Headliners Brenda "Sam" DeLeeuw, Pat Richardson and Rydin' High were big hits.
The award-winning Sam Deleeuw, who is a Western Music Association finalist for Female Cowboy Poet of the Year honors, had the crowd rolling in the isles with her poem, "Spreading Sunshine."
Pat Richardson, who has been an invited performer in Elko for 20 years, contributed to the laughter with his sometimes-irreverent brand of storytelling and cowboy poetry.
Rose Sharron and Johnny Silver, Rydin' High, wrapped up the evening with their beautiful music, which had a Mexico border and vaquero influence to it. "Their Dead Horse Trampoline" brought a fitting end to a wonderful evening.
Saturday's festive event kicked off with a Chamber of Commerce sponsored chicken BBQ prior to the show that sold out in short order. Again, prior to the 6:30 pm pre-show 400 plus people were in their seats. The Trammels, a local band who plays Classic Country and Blue Grass Gospel, warmed up the crowd. The entertainers once again poured out high quality family entertainment that had folks laughing till they cried and tapping their toes to music that made them want to get up and dance. In addition to Friday nights performers, Kathy Criddle joined PJ McCord to sing Juni Fisher's "Same River." Their voices blended in a magical way and really touched the crowd. They tell me that they're working on some other duets to please future crowds.
Jim Webb made his first on stage appearance singing an original cowboy song.
The Hanson Family Singers knocked folks off their seats with their close family harmony and near perfect yodeling. Young Daniel Hanson,the current International Youth Yodeling Champion brought looks of amazement to the faces of all. In January this talented family played no instruments. Saturday night they exhibited some fine guitar, bass, accordion and fiddle playing. You'll be hearing more from these guys.
The Hanson Family Singers
At the end of the show, many were heard to say that this had been the best entertainment they had experienced for some time and some said the best ever. Sponsors for this year's event were offering their continued support for next year. All left with smiles on their many faces and songs or verse in their hearts. The event raised enough money so that the schools will receive $4800 for their music, art and drama programs.
Sunday brought Cowboy Church, held at historic and quaint Cloverdale Chapel. Many of those performers who participated in Friday and Saturday's evening shows were here to share their inspirational song, music and verse with the appreciative and enthusiastic crowd. This brought a fitting end to the very successful 2nd Annual Coast Fork Cowboy Festival. See ya'll next year.
Dallas McCord (l) and Van Criddle (r) end the evening
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