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Brawley puts on new face

November 06, 2001|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer BRAWLEY — What have John Wayne, a large cardboard cow of indeterminate height and bank tellers in masks got in common?

They're all part of the mix in this year's Cattle Call decorations contest.

Local businesses, big and small, vie for trophies in a contest that will be judged Wednesday by this year's cattle queen and her court.

At Country Casuals on Main Street in downtown Brawley, owner Lori Thornton dedicates November to selling Western wear and has her storefront windows painted with life-size cowboy figures.

Over at TCBY again on Main Street, manager Viki Ensworth is busy making a large cardboard cow but is unsure how tall her bovine creation will stand because, "We haven't got around to making the legs yet."


A longstanding Cattle Call tradition is that of two major banks in the Valley locking horns over the decorating contest.

The Brawley branch of Union Bank of California is greeting customers these days with a life-size John Wayne standing near the teller windows.

Union Bank employee Connie Godwin has set up two large displays in the bank lobby. One shows the early days of homesteading life with the help of antique furniture, farm implements and beautifully hand-pieced quilts, all on loan from local families.

The other display has two life-size cowboy figures sprawling by a camp fire.

Meanwhile, over at Valley Independent Bank, Tex Davis, who hails from Florida for most of the year, paints last-minute signs for VIB's entry in the contest.

Karen Ayala, VIB agricultural loan officer, explained how each year her bank puts on a display that incorporates a play or a short series of skits.

"Sometimes we involve the customers as part of our act. One year we did a saloon theme and even had our customers gambling and playing cards with us," Ayala said.

This year VIB will turn its lobby into a feedlot, with staff members wearing black and white T-shirts and cow masks. Even Davis the artist will be roped into the act as a cowboy.

Brawley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nicole Gilles said there was still time for last-minute entries as the judging is not until Wednesday afternoon.

You can call the chamber at 344-160 for further information.

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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