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Stories from the valley

Icons of Our Valley

Contributed by Jim Morris

It was the end of a long, hot summer day. As I was following the pickup truck to a peach orchard, I caught sight of them – several simply amazing Live Oak trees.  I soon learned from the grower, Tim Filter, that these majestic trees were more than a century old. 

I’ve seen massive Live Oak trees in our region, including in Live Oak, but seeing them so carefully preserved in the midst of orchards so far off the road impressed me. 

In addition to this namesake of Live Oak, it occurred to me that there are other icons of our valley. Here are just a few:

The Sutter Buttes

So much more than their billing as the world’s smallest mountain range. I think the word most synonymous with the Buttes would be “home.” As a lifelong valley resident, the Buttes bring me constant joy. Here’s a photo from an airplane window a few years ago.


Cotton Rosser, Rodeo Legend


Owner of Cotton’s Cowboy Corral, a fantastic western wear store in Marysville and the Flying U Rodeo, Cotton is a fixture in our region. His remarkable resume includes induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Rodeo Hall of Fame.  

Photo by Steve Beckley


The Sacramento River in Colusa


Although wife Leslie would argue that the true icon of Colusa is Rocco’s Bar & Grill, the connection between this charming town and a vital waterway is glaring easy to see. If you haven’t already, please visit the Colusa Sacramento River State Recreation Area. About five-minutes there should considerably lower your blood pressure.


There are so many more iconic parts of our great valley.  Our local farms quickly come to mind, including fields that produce America’s sushi rice and are vital to the Pacific Flyway. Several other crops, including prunes, almonds, walnuts and tomatoes, are highly productive and essential to our economy. 

What do these icons have in common? They are all part of what makes our valley unique and unforgettable!