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The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum planned for and perfectly executed “A Country Music Festival & BBQ” at the historic Montanaro Farm on July 17 in Los Olivos. Doug and Susan Herthel, owners of the Montanaro, generously offered the use of their property for the event.

Valley notables abounded at the festival, which featured a special tribute to an outstanding cowboy and Valley figure, Jake Copass. Master of Ceremonies and Historical Museum President, Hal Coffin, reflected on Jake’s colorful history, his poetry, his love of nature, his fearless horsemanship, his colorful expressions and manner of speaking on all things country and Western.

Tony Thompson, Gary Robertson and Joe Olla recalled their personal stories and memorable events that they shared with Jake over many years.

It was a touching tribute that was warmly received by the 200 attendees, but especially by the Copass family, represented by brothers Ira and Leon and his wife, Sherry, daughter Norma Hansen and her husband Chris, son Dale Copass and sister-in-law Priscilla.

Major sponsors for the festival were the Ann Jackson Foundation, the Art Lacerte Family, Gary and Anna Nett, John Poitras, Hal and Mary Coffin, Steve and Julie Kirby, Harrington Wealth Management, and Dan and Jeannette Webster. The museum sponsors, through their generosity, underwrite the expenses and make events such as this possible.

Chris Bashforth, event organizer and Museum Executive Director, was proud to announce that while many people contributed to the success of this twilight auction and barbecue, she was quick to point out the special contributions of Hal Coffin, John Crockett, Carriage House Curator; tireless volunteers Gail and Art Knight, Linda and Tom Fiorentine, JoAnn Verkler, Anne Plucy and museum board members Gary Nett and Doug Riedy. Auctioneer Hale Fletcher successfully ‘sold’– a gourmet dinner for 10 at the historic Palacio del Rio; a beautiful eagle sculpture by Jonathan Bronson; a barbecue and trail ride for 20 at the Chamberlin Ranch; a stunning eagle carving by Chester Armstrong; a pen-and-ink drawing by Joe Milazzo; and a classic circa 1880s chuck wagon that was featured in many Hollywood Western movies in the past.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious barbecue-style dinner catered by George Begg of Specialty Catering. As guests arrived, they were warmly greeted by country music played by Patrick Montgomery and Jonathan Sharp, and later by Ron Miller.

Band leader and assistant auctioneer Steve Woods, of the Steve Woods Band, entertained from an elevated stage supported by hay bales during dinner. A dance floor had been built for an old-fashioned ‘barn dance’ under the stars and light strings. The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum is commended for sponsoring activities such as this, that feature not only Santa Ynez Valley historical figures such as Jake Copass, but historic sites like the Montanaro Farm for these special events. It was a winning combination.