Dr. Stancil Handley, the man behind Cowboy Day
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
Dr. Stancil Handley wears many hats: husband to wife, Somsup Ann, and father to KC, Philding, and Frankie; optometrist to his many patients; Columbiana city councilman; Shelby County Cattleman Association president; Alabama Cattleman Association vice president; Columbiana Merchants and Professional Association vice president; South Shelby County Chamber ambassador; director of Sight Savers of America; member of the Harrison George Washington Museum advisory board, and the driving force behind Columbiana’s Cowboy Day.
Three years ago, Handley came up with the idea of a cowboy parade as a preliminary event to the Shelby County Cattleman’s Rodeo. The event has grown beyond all expectations. Cowboy Parade is now Cowboy Day.
The fun begins Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at 10 a.m. on the Summer Classic’s land in Columbiana, the weekend before the rodeo, February 25-26. The parade is on Main Street at noon.
Members of American Ferrier’s Association will set up forges to demonstrate their trade. Herding dogs will perform from Dothan. Cattlemen will teach roping. Natural hoof care will be taught. And a mechanical bull will be there for those who want to test their rodeo skills.
A Wild West Chili Cook-off, led by Ben King, will have participants competing for the best Shelby County chili. A pancake-eating contest will test the strongest stomachs. There will be horse and pony rides, led by Ann Speakman, with a photo or video available as a memento. Country and bluegrass music will play under the Summer Classic pavilion from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except during the parade.
Delicious food will be on hand, including the popular Hillbilly Café from Georgia, roasted corn with lots of toppings, funnel cakes and Bill Finklea’s world famous kettle corn. There will be tack vendors, saddle makers and all kinds of cowboy paraphernalia to see and buy.
Main Street will be closed for the highlight of the day – the Cowboy Parade – that starts at high noon. All cowboys and cowgirls are welcome. Bring your horse, your surrey, your wagon, but no motorized vehicles allowed. Riding clubs will be wearing their colors and the famous Outback Riders from South Carolina will be in the parade.
The fun will continue into the afternoon and night for the participating cowboys. A five-mile trail ride has been blazed through Columbiana, a campfire and cookout complete with guitar and singing will entertain the cowboys that night.
To participate in any events, call Handley at 669-4131 or 296-5760.