The Cowboy and The Rose gains high praise

He’s The Cowboy and she’s The Rose.

Zane and Mary Lou Lawson picked the name for their catering company, The Cowboy and The Rose, because, they say, it mirrors their life together.

When they met as 13-year-olds one summer in Utah, the Chris LeDoux song of the same name was playing. The chance connection occurred because his aunt knew her aunt.

He was a fourth-generation western boy from Glade Park and she was a city girl from Wisconsin.

When they grew up, they found each other again, got hitched and started their family on Zane’s family homestead. And the memory of the song they shared stuck like glue.

The Grand Valley caterers recently swept the food category at this year’s Taste of the Grand Valley, winning best in show, best taste and best theme.

The Lawsons both love to cook and cut their teeth in the business by serving the hundreds of people who came to their hunting and fishing camps based in Glade Park.

The hunters — mostly from the East — loved barbecue and that began the genesis of the Lawsons’ repertoire.

They expanded to the catering business in 1995 and coined their signature name.

Not content to serve brisket, ribs and chicken alone, the couple started to add more things one by one, from exotic meats to more sophisticated and worldly cuisine. The menu now ranges from Tuscan, Spanish and French to Low Country boils and New England lobster boils. The Lawsons cure their own sausage, hams, salmon and buffalo.

“From black tie to blue jeans, we do it all,” Mary Lou says.

Most of their business comes from corporate functions, she says. But they also cater weddings, parties and club dinners.

In the meantime, they raised a son, Tyrel Lawson, who is now the winemaker at Two Rivers Winery.

In case you’re curious, and I was, here are the award-winning bites that the Lawsons served at Taste of the Grand Valley, all of them an ode to the Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita:

Wooly mammoth meat: a beef brisket barbecue that is a favorite with their customers.

Triceratops (a vegetarian) treat: couscous with roasted vegetables.

Pterodactyl wings: spicy chicken wings.

Tar pit sauce: their own barbecue sauce.

A dessert in honor of Scrat, the sabre-toothed squirrel in the animated movie “Ice Age”: strawberry shortcake. I don’t think it had acorns.

Neither of the Lawsons is exclusively the chef or the creative partner, Mary Lou says. They both love all aspects of the business and work as a team.

Wow. Their life really does sound like a country western song.

GOING LIKE HOTCAKES: International House of Pancakes, 2420 U.S. Highway 6&50, will give away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. In exchange, diners are asked to contribute to the Children’s Miracle Network fundraising drive.

SAND BETWEEN YOUR TOES: Colorado Discover Ability will hold its 11th annual Chef’s Dinner on Thursday, March 3, at the DoubleTree Hotel. This year’s dinner is a Hawaiian theme prepared by 10 Grand Valley chefs and served with wine from several local wineries. Two-week stays at condos in Hawaii will be on the auction block. For reservations, call 257-1222, or go to http://www.colorado discoverability.com/calendar. Tickets, which help fund outdoor recreation for disabled children, adults and their families, are $90 per person.

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