The Columbia River Cowboy Gathering & Music Festival began in the later months of 2003 when Ed Dailey asked Budd & Judy Massengale if they would help him and his wife Angie start a “Cowboy Gathering” in the Tri-Cities. This was a “long time dream” of Ed’s.
Sounded like a real good idea to Budd & Judy and just right up their alley too! Budd being the cowboy he is and the “can do anything” kinda guy, Ed with his awesome radio DJ voice and knowledge of the entertainment world, Angie with the business smarts, and Judy with the “wanting to help and make this work” attitude, it all began and the first Columbia River Cowboy Gathering was held at the Fairgrounds in Kennewick – April of 2004!
We set up a Mission Statement and Main Goal right away. We have not and will not waiver from them. This is the foundation of our now 501 (c) (3) which we formed in 2006.
MISSION: Our mission is to preserve the western way of life by providing a festival honoring the cowboy way of life and heritage through music, poetry, western arts and goods, keeping the festival wholesome, family oriented and at an affordable price.
GOAL: To provide financial assistance to various community and non-profit groups within our community as well as allowing the Columbia Basin area to enjoy a weekend of western culture and be affordable to everyone and their family.
After the event in 2010, Ed and Angie dropped out to do other things. So, after discussions with the Board and Volunteers, we re-grouped and held another successful Festival in 2011 and are now working on the 2018 Festival! Thanks to all the help of the Board and Volunteers.
Because we keep the admission costs so low – to be affordable to everyone – we have to rely on contributions, sponsors, ads in our program book and money from raffles in order to make ends meet. This is where our volunteers come in early on in the year – we could not have an event like this without volunteers! Well….heck, we are ALL volunteers! Yes, of course, there are the Directors that maybe feel more “pressure” in making it happen but that doesn’t mean the volunteers are not just as important!
Each year we get a new one or two volunteers and maybe one may drop out for one reason or another, but we keep the group small. That way, everyone is more connected to the task of putting on the event. Nobody receives any pay…not the directors or anyone….we just get to work on the event before and at the event!! But we all feel the rewards of putting on a fine show, watching the crowd enjoy the entertainment and the entertainers enjoying entertaining the crowd and enjoying being with each other as well as meeting new entertainers doing the same thing they do, is so worth it!!
Who We Are
Board: Tammi White, Jeff Bellingham, Geri Merideth & Stephanie Bellingham
Board At Large: Smoke Wade, Ed Daily
Volunteers: Back Row: Mike & Suzanne Kasko, Kathy Nye, Debbie Arneson, Robert Gerhart, Ariana Hipke. Front Row: Sandy Votaw, Kay Burrus, Kim Burrus, Donna Totten.