Colusa fest gets cookin'
The gray, drizzly weather didn't scare people off from another weekend of wrangling, roping and hee-hawing at ninth annual Colusa Western Days.
“The turnout has been quite good, despite the weather,” said organizer and local cattle rancher Sherry Maltby on Sunday, the final of three days of festivities. “The whole thing lends a fun atmosphere.”
Maybe it had something to do with the thick aroma of barbecue coming from one of the tents at the Colusa County Fairgrounds where, inside, it was a virtual cattle call of hungry cowboys.
These weren't your backyard grills, either. Unless your backyard grill requires a trailer hitch.
Neil Cotter and his wife, Stephanie, were in hot demand and couldn't dole out enough of their sweet-yet-sort-of-spicy pork ribs, or enough wet naps. About a month ago, the Colusa couple drove nearly 60 hours roundtrip to Fort Worth, Texas, to purchase their $5,000 grill: Its horizontal rack measures 2 feet by 5 feet, the upright 2 feet by 4 feet.
“I'd do it again,” Neil Cotter said of his out-of-state trip.
Inside, pounds of meat slowly sizzled atop smoldering logs of almond wood. And the ribs tasted even better than they smelled. Which was fitting, because the Cotters took first place in the pork and beef categories in that day's cook-off - their first competition using their new grill.
Cooks such as the Cotters were barbecuing beef just a few feet away from where ranchers were herding and penning live cows in the arena. Dozens of people tiptoed around the mud and horse droppings to catch a glimpse of the action.
And if neither of those features were your cup of tea - or beer, as was apparently the drink of choice Sunday - there was plenty of shopping to be had.
During a six-hour trade show, silver belt buckles, leather saddles, original artwork and sarcastic truck decals were on display.
The show gave a chance for creative folks like Mike Carson of Woodland to show off their unique crafts. Carson is a blacksmith by trade and sells iron trinkets and utensils, everything from fireplace pokers to horseshoes to bottle openers.
“I can pretty much make whatever I want,” he said. “I get a lot of people telling me (being a blacksmith is) a dying art, but they forget that in a lot of countries ล the local blacksmith is very much in demand.”
Carson got into the blacksmith profession while in school learning how to make horseshoes.
What's the favorite thing he's ever made? Well, it wasn't for sale Sunday: It was a chastity belt he made for a college class.
“Got an ‘A' on it,” he said. “People thought it was a potato peeler, french fry maker or something.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Thigpen can be reached at 749-4713. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.