I now understand why cowboys wore guns and were prone to shoot one another with a greater regularity than we see today: it’s the boots.
After donning a fine pair of boots for our Samaritan House Cowboy Up auction that was held over the weekend, I experienced foot pain I never imagined could exist. Is it possible that some of the conflicts generated in the Old West were simple misunderstandings spurred on by agonizing foot pain? Anyway… I digress. On to the important information!
The actual event was Saturday evening, the 21st, but we began setting up the day before. Upon arrival, the ball room at the White Oak Best Western was an empty shell of potential. Previously, the auction had taken place at Gardners but this year necessitated a change. Thematic events always sound great in theory, but often the reality of transforming a large nondescript room into a themed wonderland can be quite the daunting task. Tables and chairs had to be set up to serve more than 200 people. Arrangements and decorations were situated to give the room a western flair. Auction items from around the Valley were brought in and displayed. Food and supplies were lugged back and forth from various stores, kitchens, eateries, and homes to all converge at the White Oak. After several hours of work that included Samaritan House staff, board members, residents, and assorted community volunteers, Friday drew to a close and I drove home with a sense of accomplishment.
If Friday was the calm before the storm, then Saturday saw Hurricane Cowboy Up hit the Flathead with full force! Staff and more helpers arrived hours before the 5pm kick-off to finalize any last glitches and prepare for the food service. If you have never filled uncountable pitchers of ice water or cooked enough potato salad to feed a small cowboy army, then I suggest you are really missing out on some of the finer activities life has to offer. Suffice it to say, there was still plenty of work to be done on Saturday, prior to the start of the auction. The goal was to push oneself as hard as possible without inducing perspiration. I think we all achieved that level of effort and by 5 pm everything was good to go.
Eventually I made my way to one of the tables toward the back of the ballroom. I like these seats because they give me a chance to peruse the room and watch people respond to what is unfolding. Cowboy Up is a multilayered event that serves as a fundraiser, dinner, auction, dance, and general opportunity to raise awareness regarding the issue of homelessness in the Flathead. As I ate my dinner and the evening began to play out, I was humbled to see how many people came to support Samaritan House and what we are trying to accomplish. I am not going to give any numbers or dollar amounts in this blog… I will soon, once we have everything tabulated. But for now, I wanted to simply present a small picture of what happens during this event. We could not have done it without numerous helping hands and volunteers who gave a great deal of time, effort, and energy.
My view from the back table was one of thanksgiving and humility.