By Raiza Giorgi

Sherry Musgrove was pleasantly surprised to hear her name announced as the 2020 Cowbelle of the Year for the Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen.

Photo contributed
Sherry Musgrove was named the 2020 Cowbelle of the Year; she is pictured with Nicole Tomasini, last year’s Cowbelle.

“When they said ‘She was also crowned ‘Miss Panorama City’, I knew it was me because no one else knows what Panorama City was, it is now Van Nuys,” Musgrove laughed. 

The Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen are a chapter of the California Cattlewomen, which promotes beef and educates the public about it, from its nutritional benefits to the uses of its byproducts.

Musgrove said she grew up on a large ranch in what is now Van Nuys, but her parents didn’t raise cows — they raised chickens — and she rode donkeys, not horses. 

“I loved growing up on our ranch, and my mom was a very well-known leather maker for King Western Wear in Van Nuys where all the famous cowboy movie stars would get custom belts and things made by her,” Musgrove said. 

Her parents were neighbors to Hollywood cowboy legends Roy Rogers and William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy). She and other neighborhood kids would get paid $1 a day to exercise their horses, she recalled. 

“My parents were even there for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans wedding ceremony,” Musgrove said. “He gave a lot of his memorabilia to my parents that they passed down to me.” 

After graduating from Valley College, Musgrove did some modeling work and had a few television appearances before getting married and having a daughter, Dawn. After her divorce, she spent some time single before meeting her late spouse Bob Musgrove. They became developers in the Westlake/Thousand Oaks area and Musgrove owned her secretarial business for 27 years before retiring. 

“I had 45 ladies working in executive suites doing secretarial work and I have always loved working,” Musgrove said.

They decided to retire to Santa Ynez Valley in 1996 because a few of their friends moved here and they brought a menagerie of cattle with them including a Watusi steer she loved. 

“I got all the reject cows and rescued them. They were more pets than anything,” she laughed. 

Musgrove decided to get involved with the Cattlewomen and has been in the group for 16 years, volunteering at the Santa Barbara County Fair and offering her home for fundraisers and cooking for the four local senior centers. 

“I love cooking and creating fun recipes and seeing people enjoy them,” she said. “Especially during COVID, it has been important to help our seniors and give them a nice home cooked meal and check on them.”

Musgrove also volunteers for the Buellton Senior Center and cooks for their theme nights and date nights. She also volunteers once a week for the trap shooting club, cooking dinner for their members. 

“I have also adopted a few seniors during this time, bringing them meals,” she said. “I go to the field across from me and pick fresh vegetables and created a Soup of the Week club.” 

She also helps a friend doing an estate sale business, and once a year hosts a barn sale at her property in Santa Ynez. Typically hosted in May, this year’s event was in August and Musgrove said they raised $11,000 and are giving the proceeds to four local charities, SYV Therapeutic Riding, SYV Humane Society, the Solvang Friendship House and SYV Cottage Hospital Foundation. 

“Volunteering and giving back is fun, and sharing my home with organizations is what I love doing,” Musgrove said. 

The Cattlewomen raise money throughout the year to be given to agricultural organizations that have a beef component, such as Future Farmers of America and 4-H. They also give scholarships for students to further their education in agriculture.

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