Cowboy Church – An Integral Aspect of Rodeo Life

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Three young cowboys join the others in prayer at Coy Huffman’s Cowboy Church Sunday morning. Photo by Brett Leavitt

BRAWLEY — At the Cattle Call arena, a voice rang out over the speaker system Sunday morning with an announcement for “Cowboy Church” — not too early in the morning, since many of the rodeo workers and contestants worked late the night before at the Saturday night rodeo. A number of Valley residents, vendors, workers, and others gathered for singing, fellowship, and a humble message of faith by long-time “Cowboy Church” host Coy Huffman.

The Sunday gathering enjoyed live music as attendees sat on hay bales and in the shady grass pasture behind the bleachers. Some would be attending the Sunday afternoon event, while others soon would start prepping burgers, popcorn, and merchandise to be sold to the incoming attendees.

After singing a few songs, Huffman addressed the gathering, dressed in full western attire complete with a leather holster for his microphone.

The message began on the topic of trust in God, but touched other issues, such as the importance of love in telling the truth to others. The meandering approach fit Huffman’s informal, conversational style, as biblical principles were interlaced with personal stories and colorful turns of phrase.

The people who showed up to the service weren’t the only ones enjoying it. A live video feed of the service was broadcast to viewers tuning in online. Yet even those who had other obligations around the arena could still follow along with the message, since Huffman’s microphone was being projected through the main event sound system.

Huffman spoke about his time leading events like the Cowboy Church and how people were prone to confuse church with a building instead of a group united by faith.

“Sometimes people ask me what church I attend when I’m not doing this,” Huffman said. “I always tell them I don’t go to church. I am the church.”