The Colusa Western Days’ committee announced that after a 20-year run, the annual Colusa Western Days event will be no more.
The 21st horse and ranch-styled event was scheduled for April of 2018, but president Emmet Pennebaker said that after struggling with participation over the last several years, board members say they are ready to retire.
“When Jerry Vann first talked the group into doing the event, we said we’d do it for a couple of years, and here we are 20 years later,” said Pennebaker.
The organization used Colusa Western Days to raise money for a variety of local causes, including emergency and health services, school groups, breast cancer funds, scholarships, children services, and much more.
“We’ve donated to local FFA groups, Colusa High School Grad Night, Friday Night Live, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and many other groups,” said Pennebaker. “We wanted to have an event to give back to our community.”
Colusa Western Days celebrated local heritage with rodeo-style events, an annual cattle drive, a barbecue cook-off, and other related activities.
“We have had several events over the years, and we’ve enjoyed them all,” said Pennebaker. “It was a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun.”
Pennebaker recalled several popular events, including family day, the chamber of commerce Dutch-oven cook-off, the rib dinner, and the trade show.
“Caroline Vann started the Farm Day in 2003 after her husband passed,” said Pennebaker. “It was a lot of fun listening to the kids’ questions. We taught them everything about horses, and what are the different types of cattle and what they are used for.”
Pennebaker said that he was often surprised at how little the children knew about agriculture.
“You’d think living in an agriculture community, they would know more, but they had lots of questions,” he said. “I am going to miss that.”
One of the staple events during the event was the Cattle Drive.
Dozens of longhorn cattle were unloaded from a trailer, and in cowboy fashion were driven by horse down Market Street in Colusa.
“As a spectator, you don’t realize the number of people that show up just to watch the event,” said Pennebaker. “It was exciting seeing the little kids get excited over the longhorn steers.”
While that event drew a crowd, Western Days events at the fairgrounds saw a steady decline in participation in recent years.
“The team penning, ranch sorting events have seen less participation the last couple of years, and the quality of horses that participate is expensive,” said Pennebaker. “The lifestyle of western-type events have been declining statewide. Other events have had similar results.”
Pennebaker said that the committee would like to thank all of its supporters, volunteers, participants, and sponsors over the years.
“We couldn’t have made the event possible without the help of the community,” he added. “We can’t say thank you enough.” ■