Warm morning light spilled over surrounding hills, illuminating lush green springtime pastures at the base of Laramie Peak. Beneath the craggy mountain top, a herd of cattle casually grazed the lush offerings of recent rains.
Burning charcoal kicked up a slight haze that hung in the cool morning air as men wearing their finest cowboy hats fit for Sunday church huddled around a metal trough filled with Dutch ovens.
Nearby, Mary Sonesen and Cheryl North spend the better part of the morning cheerfully chatting among themselves while manning the chuckwagon to mix up additional biscuits for breakfast.
It was Father’s Day, and in the small mountain town of Esterbrook, that means one thing: Buckboard Sunday. Every year on this special day, the church and community that worship at it go all out.
A cowboy breakfast serves as a warm welcome to those arriving on horseback. Some arrived in traditional clothing from pioneer days, making the already scenic location mirror past times.
As friends and families arrive for the hearty breakfast offering, Horace Hudson picked up his fiddle to play tried-and-true hymns with Larry Phillips and Kenny Simonton on guitar.
With last year’s Buckboard Sunday being hindered greatly by relentless rains that cancelled breakfast and brought the lunchtime potluck indoors, folks came out in full force this year. The modest church couldn’t accommodate the crowd of more than 100 attendees, prompting a speaker to be run through one of the windows near the altar so an overflow seating area outside could join in on the worship service.
Rick Barton, who initially learned of Esterbrook’s church through working a fire in the area many years ago, was asked back for the special Sunday once again, bringing his 12-string guitar, infectious personality and wife Melva from their hometown of Gunnison, Colorado to deliver the day’s sermon.
As the service wrapped up, the doors to the cabin-style church swung open and folks continued their fellowship outdoors with full plates of home cooked goodness as a spring storm rolled into the region, bringing the eventful morning to a close.