The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce is preparing the 48th annual Cowboy Homecoming next month, October 25 & 26. But it won’t be at the Pleasanton Riverpark this year. The Chamber board decided to move the event to the grounds at the Atascosa County Showbarn and Arena.
A similar move was attempted back in 1996 and it did not pan out so well.
Why the move?
Chico Cox, President of Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, said the discussion to move the celebration to the show barn grounds came after the huge success with Turn-n-Burn last spring. He said that they wanted to bring the bullriding event back and to have team roping, too. The cost to rent the arena fencing and chutes was getting very expensive. They could save about $10,000 by not having to rent the arena. Also, the manual labor and time it took to detach, move and re-attach the bleachers was getting more difficult to do. To set up at the park takes about a week and a half.
“We don’t have quite the volunteers. Used to, we’d get 20-30 guys out there. Now we’re lucky to get 10 guys to show up,” he said.
He mentioned that after the past few Cowboy Homecomings he would have complaints from both homeowners and attendees with yards being damaged and vehicles being towed. They feel it will be more contained and manageable at the showbarn grounds.
When asked if the chamber involved the City of Pleasanton in their decision he answered, “Not at all.” Though the City has always spent many hours preparing the river park for the event, he did mention that there had been some complaints over the years from some council members about how the park was left afterwards.
He added that, since they are receiving funds from the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax income, they are talking about having shuttle service from the area hotels to the event.
“We are just trying something different – trying to make a better festival and to make it easier on the volunteers who come out to help,” Cox added.
Opinions about move
Jeanne Israel, Pleasanton City Councilmember District 6, commented on the move. “We’ve always had it at the river park. I don’t know about having Cowboy Homecoming out there. Maybe this is going to be them testing the water.
“Considering, number one, these guys are all volunteers and I always have to think about that.
“Their board most likely discussed this at length. I trust that they have thought this out and are trying to see if a change will improve it for them. I think that if it doesn’t work out, that they’ll reconsider and bring it back,” said Israel.
Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez said “regardless where Cowboy Homecoming will be held, we will support the event and provide security for the safety of our community.”
Unaware of the change, Mayor Clint Powell offered this observation, “They are moving it to the showbarn? I’m happy to see that they are incorporating team roping and bringing bullriding back to the cowboy theme. If they are moving to make those changes, I think they are getting back on track.”
Main Street business owners, Ann Salas of Art on Main and Eileen Horwedel of Three Sisters Boutique were both supportive of the move.
Salas said “It has to be a good move if they are having the team roping and bullriding events. To draw more people in is always good.”
Horwedel at first thought it should stay in the park just because it is such a pretty place. But when she heard that they were bringing back something that is cowboy related, she said, “Well, duh, it is Cowboy Homecoming.”