Cowboys, cornbread converge at fairgrounds

By: Eileen Wilson, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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Some say old western musicals made being a cowboy seem like so much fun.

Well, cowboys and fun come together again in the fourth annual Cowboys and Cornbread event, sponsored by the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce.

And this year, cowboyin’ just got bigger and better, with a move to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

“We started this event in a courtyard near our office,” said Jody Franklin, El Dorado County’s director of tourism. “We had the Hangtown Harmonica Championships and people just loved it – they said we needed to make the event bigger. This year the event will be bigger than ever.”

Event officials said one of the event’s highlights will include mouth harping.

“The Hangtown Harmonica event is so wild,” Franklin said. “They just get into it – and the crowd really gets in to it, too. Some of the performers who come on stage who you wouldn’t think would be that great just wail, and the crowd goes crazy.”

With a large prize for the best harmonica in the house, people will come from all over to participate, including people who play a variety of musical styles.

“Last year’s winning musician, Mac Rice, is not even a country performer – he’s into blues,” Franklin said.

You don’t have to be a cowboy or even an aspiring cowboy to enjoy this event, though Franklin admits when they’ve played down the cowboy theme, people say ‘we want more cowboys and we want more cornbread.’

With a theme perfectly fitting for the area, Franklin describes the event as being more Western living than Wild West.

Along with a variety of cornbread, food and vendors, the event will also feature Cowboy Poetry, which Franklin defines as “sing-songy” poetry delivered by a cowboy, usually written about cowboy ways.

This year the event will also feature new events including mutton busting and ranch sorting.

“Mutton busting involves little kids riding sheep. It’s safe for the animals and the kids, and it’s super cute,” Franklin said. “And ranch sorting is a timed event that involves sorting cattle in to sequential numbers, then getting them in to assigned pens.  It’s a super fast-moving event.”

For those who like a slower-moving event, the Sacramento Cavalry, Unit No. 2, will be on hand to drill with their horses.

According to Jody Gray, CEO of El Dorado County Fairgrounds, the group will demonstrate their equine abilities, and set up a camp like you would have seen 100 years ago. 

“There will also be groups who will perform synchronized riding – the day is going to be filled with food and fun,” Gray said.

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What: Cowboys and Cornbread

When: 11a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, July 21

Where: El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville

Cost: $10 per carload or $2 per person walk-in