Columbiana celebrates ninth annual Cowboy Day

COLUMBIANA- The city of Columbiana hosted its ninth annual Cowboy Day on Main Street on Saturday, Feb. 18. Festivities began at 10 a.m. and lasted through 5 p.m.

According to Columbiana Mayor Stancil Handley, Cowboy Day is a reflection of the rural lifestyle that most people in Columbiana enjoy.

“This is just another fun event in Columbiana. We have a lot of real cowboys around here, and I’ve been a cowboy all my life,” Handley said. “We want to do things to stress the rural life that has and still exists in Columbiana.”

The event began with live music and line dancers from the Columbiana Senior Center. A mock Western-style shootout and a lasso demonstration took place at noon.

Main Street was closed for the Cowboy Day parade, which anyone could participate in by walking, riding a horse or using a vehicle without a motor. Kids could go for a pony ride or visit the petting zoo. Vendors were onsite to sell western-themed items, food and drinks during the event.

This is the first year that the city of Columbiana has hosted a corn hole tournament. Handley said there were a total of 20 teams that competed.

“In their off-time, cowboys play games, and this is something that’s gotten really popular,” Handley said. “Games are important for cowboys, and you don’t even have to be a cowboy to play corn hole.”

The rules for the chili cook-off were also relaxed this year to allow more people to participate.

“In the past, we tried to have the chili cook-off follow the national chili cook-off rules, but that was too rigid for our local people,” Handley said. “This year, we decided to set our own rules. We’ve got several more entries this year, and they’re not burdened by trying to follow the national rules.”

For many people, Handley said Cowboy Day serves as a great way for the community to come together and experience something different.

“We’re offering these opportunities for people to come and participate in rural life. The cowboy life is a different life. They’re tough, but they’re also the friendliest people you’ll ever meet,” Handley said. “This is a good chance to socialize. There’s nobody out here concerned about the politics of our nation or what’s happening on foreign shores. We’re all together, and we’re all having a good time.”

Handley said this year’s Cowboy Day is the largest he has seen, and he looks forward to watching it grow in the future.

“The city’s Marketing Director, Elizabeth Smith, was in charge of getting everything set up, and she’s done an excellent job,” Handley said. “From where I’m standing, I’m seeing more people than we normally get. As the day goes on, there are going to be a lot more.”

Handley said Cowboy Day is a precursor event for the Shelby County Cattlemen’s Rodeo, which will take place on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Shelby County Exhibition Center.

“We have a very active Cattlemen’s Association, and we do Cowboy Day a week before the Cattlemen’s Rodeo every year,” Handley said. “We just want to let everybody know that the rodeo is in town. The town is for cowboys this week!”