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Cowboys Take Time Out To Gather For Sunday Service
The sign over the doorway said 'Beer Here' but that wasn't the case on Sunday morning, as the Cowboy Church settled in to the previous day's beer building on the Oakdale Rodeo Grounds for a brief service in song and sermon.

Leading the way was Coy Huffman, who started his ministry with wife Donna after completing Bible training more than 40 years ago. They started Cowboy Church International and Pro Rodeo Ministries and are based in Sonora but take their Cowboy Church on the road as well.

They are often found in Escalon, where Cowboy Church meets every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the corner of Highway 120 and Seidner, in the former Ted Nuce trailer business facility.

Meeting at 10 a.m. Sunday, the Cowboy Church service drew in several dozen worshippers, many in cowboy hats, from young children to the seasoned rodeo veterans. Even a few dogs attended with their owners, settling in for the hour long service. Offering music were the trio of the husband and wife team of Dan and Gina Iverson, along with bass player Gary Jordan. A cowboy poet also performed and Huffman asked for a couple of testimonies from the crowd as well.

"Every Tuesday night we have a Bible study," Gina Iverson said of the local gathering in Escalon. "When Coy and Donna are in the area, they come and minister."

For Huffman, the message he wanted to convey on Sunday was simple: you can win in life by living your life for God and good.

"Be aware of God's grace and strength," Huffman told the crowd.

He offered a short sermon from the Bible book of Job, noting that "most of us have been on the dark side" and there is an opportunity for all to "live on the life side" of the cross, accepting the gift of salvation.

"Through the grace and favor of God, you can keep yourself in right standing," Huffman said. "Love without measure ... that is the love of God."

Rodeo Week brings a number of special events, a parade, the competition, the dance, and many other fun activities, but Huffman said Cowboy Church is a way to take a moment and remember to be grateful for the blessings received over the course of a day.

Helping you 'Win in Life' is the goal of Huffman's Pro Rodeo Ministries, with the team traveling to share their message.