Cowboy Parade in Columbiana Feb. 21

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 21, downtown Columbiana will seem more like Dodge City than a peaceful little town in Alabama.

Cowboys of all kinds, led by members of the Shelby County Cattleman’s Association, will round up on Main Street for the first of what is hoped will become an annual Cowboy Parade.

The cowboys hope the parade will muster support for the group’s 22nd-annual rodeo, set for the next weekend – Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28.

Horses, mules, donkeys and ponies, pulling buckboards and carts and carrying riders young and old will parade down Main Street in Columbiana to the Summer Classics property, where parade goers will be treated to cowboy demonstrations, free homemade chili and refreshments.

“We’re calling it the cowboy parade because there will be no motorized vehicles,” said Dr. Stancil Handley, an organizer of the event.

The parade came about in part because of a new event to be featured in the 22nd-annual rodeo. The new event is a competition of sorts, pitting area bankers and businessmen and women against each other in chuck wagon races.

“We’ll have six chuck wagons, sponsored locally, which will race inside the arena during the rodeo,” Handley said.

Participating in the chuck wagon races will be representatives from First United Security Bank, M&F Bank, Bryant Bank and Regions Bank, as well as Barber’s Dairy Product, Alabaster Optical and Dr. Stancil Handley’s office.

The chuck wagons, which will be displayed at the sponsors’ businesses 10 days before the rodeo, will be the highlight of the Cowboy Parade, which begins at 1 p.m.

Following it at the Summer Classics property, demonstrations will include blacksmiths making horseshoes and shoeing horses, performances by a team of herding dogs from Dothan, wood carvers and music by the Montevallo FFA String Band.

Miss Rodeo Alabama, Ellen Glasser of Columbiana, will be on hand for photos and autographs and the Shelby County Cattleman’s Association – 175 members strong – will use roping dummies to show children how to rope.

The Columbiana Merchants and Professionals Association will serve up free, homemade chili and drinks.

“Everything that day is free,” Handley said.

Any riding club or individual interested in participating in the parade or setting up demonstrations afterward, should call Handley at 669-4131.

“We know the community will be excited about this. It should be fun and educational for the whole family,” Handley said.