Cowboy fest spurs small crowd downtown


Madisonville locals were treated to a trail ride, barbecue and music during the First Annual National Day of the Cowboy celebration on Saturday, just not as many as were expected.

While the event did not quite generate the numbers she was hoping, organizer Rita Fannin was pleased with the first year of the celebration and expressed a desire to hold it again next year.

“We would have liked a little more attendance, but everyone just hollered at how wonderful David Ball was,” said Fannin. “The feedback I received was very positive. We have a lot of support for this event moving forward next year.”

Grammy-nominated country artist David Ball was the concert’s headliner on Saturday night.

Madison County provided four thousand dollars for the event, which went toward booking Ball’s performance. The rest of the event’s expenses were paid for by Fannin herself.

Fannin is already in the process of the second annual celebration and plans to hold an appreciation dinner for all of the individuals who assisted her during the process this year.

“I am planning to have the same group of people performing next year,” said Fannin. “As long as (Ball) is performing, we are going to stick with this plan. Something that will be different is the trail ride, which will be a lot bigger next year. As far as I am concerned it will be headed up by the Montgomery County Trail Rider’s Association again. They did a wonderful job.”

Saturday morning’s trail ride included two covered wagons pulled by horses as well as a number of individuals on separate horses behind. The procession circled the Square after leaving the American Legion Austin Reed Post.

Jerry Kelly, who has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, received a free t-shirt from the event while aboard one of the wagons in a special moment at the conclusion of the trail ride.

A number of musicians performed at the event besides Ball. These performers included cowboy poet and singer Ed Meyer, the Bo Porter Band and Misslette TheSingingCowgirl.

“Well now, that is the quickest ‘how do you do’ and ‘goodbye’ that I have ever had with four thousand dollars!” said Fannin.

Before the trail ride on Saturday, she explained why she wanted to organize an event to celebrate National Day of the Cowboy.

“I felt like the community needed it,” said Fannin. “We used to have a lot of things like this in town that just brought the community out and together and lifted spirits.”

Fannin would like to thank the folks at Best Western, who donated rooms to the performers on the night of the event, along with all of the individuals who assisted her throughout the process.