By Carol Mowdy Bond
Canadian County Cowboy Church, or CCCC, located at 550 E. Main Street in Yukon on the south side of Route 66, is making a comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ron Craig, who is on the church board of directors, said prior to the pandemic, the church averaged about 200 to 225 members. Currently, the church averages about 150 people who attend worship services.
The church has all the looks and feel of a rustic, Old West ranch house, from the furnishings to the wall decor. In fact, there’s no offering plate passed during church services. But there is a large barrel in back, into which people may place their offerings and tithes. And the Sunday morning worship music may be led by a guitarist wearing cowboy attire, including a cowboy hat.
Craig said, “CCCC reaches people who other churches don’t reach. Our church reaches cowboys, farmers, ranchers, and that type people, and those uncomfortable dressing up for church. They don’t feel like they have to dress differently to attend our church. But about 75% of our congregation does not come from this group of people.”
You may spot a “Cowboy Church” in various geographic locations. But they’re not all related to each other. “Cowboy churches are affiliated with different denominations. But we are non-denominational,” Craig said.
The church used to sponsor rodeo events such as barrel racing, and members rode horseback in parades and offered trail rides, and other.
“But we got away from it. We’re trying to get back to rodeo type events. And May 22 through 23, we will have a world seniors professional bull riding event here. This is the second year we’ve had it. We’ll hold it in our arena out back. Also, we’ve not finalized this yet, but we’re looking at having a community event. It will be a family-friendly community outreach for all ages. We haven’t set the date, but it may happen about June 5. When we finalize the date and information, we’ll post it all on our Facebook page and website.
“Admission will be free,” Craig said.
Founded in 1947, the Yukon Round Up Club used to own the 13 acres where the church is now located. The former club’s rodeo arena facility is still on the property, and the original metal archway over the road still bears the club’s name. And Craig said the church tries to host a lot of community events at the venue.
On Feb. 27, 2013, the Yukon Round Up Club donated the property to CCCC, expecting the church to carry on what the club started in 1947, promoting the Western lifestyle and traditions. Pastor Terry Hill founded the church.
The church does not have a full-time paid staff. And that includes Hill, who owns El Reno Steel in El Reno. In fact, only the cleaning person is paid.
Board member Ron Craig was a rancher who owned almost 800 acres in the area. Now he has downsized, doesn’t own quite so many horses and cows, and said he is now “playing” during his quasi-retirement phase.
On Sunday mornings, CCCC offers a fellowship time with coffee and doughnuts at 9 a.m.
Sunday school is held from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. The church service is held from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
To connect with CCCC, call (405) 350-2151, or go to the website canadiancountycowboychurch.com, or to the Facebook page Canadian County Cowboy Church.