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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

School Receives Award at A&M Ceremony

Roscoe Superintendent Kim Alexander, second from left, stands with other Collaboration Award winners at the Awards ceremony at Texas A&M.
Roscoe Collegiate ISD’s P-20 (Pre-School – Ph.D.) initiative with Western Texas College and Texas A&M received the Collaboration Award at last week’s Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence ceremony in College Station. Several individuals, including RCISD Superintendent Kim Alexander, were recognized as the principal players in the collaboration.

Here are their names, as given in AgriLife's official press release:

P-20 Partnership, including Dr. Kim D. Alexander, superintendent of schools, Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District, Roscoe; Roy Bartles, chief technology and information officer, Western Texas College, Snyder;  Dr. Gary E. Briers, professor, department of agricultural leadership, education, and communications, College Station; Dr. John Dedwylder, DVM, co-owners and managing partners of Collegiate EduVet, Veterinary Teaching Hospital Practice, Roscoe; Dr. Darrell Dromgoole, associate professor and AgriLife Extension specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension strategic partnerships and engagement, department of agricultural leadership, education, and communications; and Dr. Glen C. Shinn, professor emeritus, department of agricultural leadership, education and communications, principal of Global Consulting Solutions, Bryan.

The press release describes the event as follows:

Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence honors were presented to several statewide faculty and staff of Texas A&M AgriLife during a ceremony Jan. 9 on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

The awards, established in 1980, recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions of faculty and staff across Texas A&M AgriLife.

“These awards represent the highest level of achievement for our organization,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M. “They recognize a commitment to excellence and to the land-grant mission of teaching, research, Extension and service. The entire Texas A&M AgriLife administrative leadership is extremely proud of the accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students.”



The Texas A&M University Education Research and Education Leadership Centers will send a research team to visit RCISD next week, January 22-24, to study the school’s overall program and to examine its effectiveness in graduating students who are prepared for college and career success. Representatives from the United States Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency will also attend to see about the possibility of providing funding for the program and its dissemination to other rural schools in Texas and elsewhere.

During their visit, the visitors will tour the school’s innovative facilities, including the Montessori Early Childhood Center, Edu-Drone, and Edu-Vet. It will also examine the P-20 system model of education and conduct interviews with its participants and others who can inform them of its design, scope, and effectiveness.



The annual Nolan County Junior Livestock Show begins today in the Nolan County Coliseum and runs through Saturday. Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, January 17
4:00pm             Broilers, Rabbits, Sheep, & Goats Weigh-In

Thursday, January 18
9:00am-12:00    Steers & Swine Weigh-In
4:00pm             Goat Show, followed by Lamb Show
4:00pm             Rabbit Show, followed by Broiler Show

Friday, January 19
10:00am           Livestock Judging Contest – open to all Nolan 
                           County exhibitors
2:00pm             Steer Show
4:00pm             Swine Show

Saturday, January 20
10:00am           Honorary Show – open to 2nd graders & younger 
                           residing in Nolan County
11:00am           Fajita Lunch – catered by Skeet’s Texas Grill, 
                           sponsored by Lone Star Ag Credit – 
                           Adults $10, Children $5
12:30pm           Awards, followed by Premium Sale



The meeting of the City Council in City Hall on January 9 was completed relatively quickly as there were no major items on the agenda.

City Manager Cody Thompson gave the Council an update on recent and current City projects. City employees have been struggling to keep up with the many leaks and broken pipes in the City water lines caused by the cold weather. There was also a major break in the sewer line at 10th Street between Cypress and Main Streets.

The recent issues with the City’s RO water treatment plant have been corrected, and the plant is now filtering the water properly. Patching of City streets is also underway.

An additional light has been added to Windmill Park, and others will go up when additional power is added.

The Council approved the first quarter investment report as well as a couple of routine items and then adjourned.



Brandon Lavalais (10) makes a lay-up in last night's game with Hawley.
Over the past two weeks, the Plowboys have played four district basketball games, winning one and losing three. They are now 1-4 in district play. Here are the stats for the last four, listed from the oldest to the most recent:

Plowboys 37 – Hamlin 26
Scores by quarters:
Plowboys            6        15        28        37
Hamlin               6          9         21        26

Individual Plowboy scoring: Micheal Wright 8, Jayden Gonzales 7, Jose Ortega 7, Junior Martinez 4, Hunter Anglin 4, Clemente Aguayo 3, Brandon Lavalais 3, Brayan Medina 1.

Haskell 38 – Plowboys 30
Scores by quarters:
Haskell              11        14        25        38
Plowboys            8        11        25        30

Individual Plowboy scoring: Lavalais 10, Ortega 8, Gonzales 4, Aguayo 3, Medina 3, Camden Boren 2.

Stamford 89 – Plowboys 33
Scores by quarters:
Stamford          26        47        68        89
Plowboys            7         14        21        33

Individual Plowboy scoring: Gonzales 7, Martinez 7, Anglin 4, Ortega 3, Nick Limones 3, Boydston 3, Aguayo 2, Medina 2, Wright 2.

Hawley 57 – Plowboys 47
Scores by quarters:
Hawley              17        25        37        57
Plowboys          13        23        35        47

Individual Plowboy scoring: Ortega 18, Martinez 5, Anglin 5, Gonzales 4, Lavalais 4, Wright 4, Aguayo 3, Limones 2, Boren 2.

The Plowboys’ next game is this Friday, January 19, with Anson in Anson.



Kinzie Buchanan shoots a jumper in last night's game with Hawley.
Over the past two weeks, the Plowgirls have played four district basketball games, winning one and losing three. They are now 1-4 in district play. Here are the stats for the last four, listed from the oldest to the most recent:

Hamlin 48 – Plowgirls 33
Scores by quarters:
Hamlin              14         31         46        48
Plowgirls           13         21         25        33

Individual Plowgirl scoring: Kinzie Buchanan 24, Bonnie Wilkinson 5, Veronica Cuellar 2, Liberty Saenz 2.

Haskell 90 – Plowgirls 28
Scores by quarters:
Haskell             23        41         64        90
Plowgirls            5        13         19         28

Individual Plowgirl scoring: Buchanan 17, Cuellar 4, Victoria Martinez 4, Wilkinson 3.

Plowgirls 34 – Stamford 23
Scores by quarters:
Plowgirls           12         16         26        34
Stamford             4         15         19        23

Individual Plowgirl scoring: Buchanan 11, Baylor Trevino 10, Martinez 5, Wilkinson 4, Cuellar 4.

Hawley 32 – Plowgirls 18

Scores by quarters:
Hawley              13         19         27        32
Plowgirls            4           9          11        18

Individual Plowgirl scoring: Buchanan 8, Cuellar 4, Wilkinson 3, Trevino 3.

The Plowgirls’ next game is this Friday, January 19, with Anson in Anson.



Ice in the water trough at windmill park yesterday afternoon.
This past week has seen a variety of temperatures and skies, but the one constant has been the wind, which has been consistently high even for west Texas. The last few days have also been extremely cold, not only because of the drop in temperature, but also because of the wind chill, which has been in the single digits for the past three nights.

Last Wednesday, the high was 75°F, which would have been just fine if it hadn’t been accompanied by high south winds that reached 39mph with gusts up to 53mph. On Thursday, a norther blew through with winds from the north as strong as the winds from the south on the day before. On my drive from Houston to Roscoe that day, I came through a rainstorm that was so strong that cars were pulling off the road and waiting it out, followed by a sandstorm, followed by thick snow flurries, followed by sunshine and 50° temperatures but with high winds. On Friday the high was 51° but didn’t feel that warm with the wind chill, and the low was 23°. On Saturday the wind wasn’t so bad, but the low was 19° and the high 49°. Sunday was the nicest day of the week with a high of 57°, and Monday was also okay up until the afternoon when another windy cold front blew through, Since then, we’ve experienced some seriously cold weather. As I said, the wind chill temperature has been in the single digits for the last three nights, and yesterday’s high was only 28°.

Starting today, though, the weather takes a turn for the warmer with a high today of about 42°, 51° tomorrow, 64° Friday, and 72° Saturday. However, there will be wind, and unfortunately, there is no precipitation in the forecast.



A family memorial service will be held later in Denton for Charles Wayne Meadows, Sr., 80, of Roscoe. He passed away Saturday, January 13, at Sweetwater Health Care Center.

Charles was born June 13, 1937, in Denton to the late Jack Nathan and Thelma (Taylor) Meadows. He married Barbara Lee Bowman May 6, 1965, in Gainesville. He moved to Roscoe from Virginia in June of 2017. He was a Baptist Minister, auto mechanic for 62 years, truck driver off and on since 1953 and had been an insurance salesman. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict and Vietnam, was a lifetime member of the VFW and American Legion, and was a longtime member of the American Radio Relay League.

He is survived by his wife of fifty-two plus years, Barbara, of Roscoe; sons, Charles, Jr., of Galax, Virginia, and James and wife Michelle of Roscoe; daughters, Tracie Dawn Diamond and husband Anthony of Alamogordo, New Mexico, D’Linda Hughes of Hurst, Texas, and Sam Rivers Weber of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. Also surviving are his grandchildren,Caitlin Passananti, Aaron and Addison Diamond, Bridgette Sharpe, Shelby Murphy, Abi Gail, Tessa and Jaimee Meadows, Diana Meadows, Wren Rivers, Gabe and Adriel Benjamin, Alexis, Dylan and McKenzie Diamond.

Charles is preceded in death by a sister and two brothers.


Funeral services for Ruby Parker, 98, were held on Sunday, January 14, at Roscoe Church of Christ with Dan Boren officiating. Interment followed at Roscoe Cemetery. She passed away Wednesday, January 10, at Cogdell Memorial Hospital in Snyder.

Ruby was born May 12, 1919, in Dunn to Oscar and Lula Hagood. She married Walter Tillman Parker on November 7, 1942, in Snyder. They bought half the family farm after the death of his father. Walter and Ruby worked side by side until Walter’s death in 1986. She continued to work and live there with the help of her children until her death.

Ruby is survived by her daughter, Viva Powell and husband Jerry; granddaughter, Tamara Castlebery and husband Joe; grandson, Gerald Powell and wife Karrie; great-grandchildren, Shaylea Castlebery and Colby Castlebery; great-grandson, Kevin Powell, and great-granddaughter, Megan and sons, Ellyn and Eston; Brandon and son Jordan; daughter-in-law, Donna Parker; grandson, Shane Parker and wife Jewel; and great-grandchildren, Shaundra and Ronnie, Ronda White and husband Justin, and children Riley and Kelton, Lisa Butler; and Brian and daughter, Ollie.

She was preceded in death by her sons, Ronny Parker and Larry Parker.

Pallbearers were Kevin Powell, Bradon, Mark Hagood, Tim Ince, Jimmy Hudgins, and Colby Castlebery.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bitter Cold Grips Area

 Yesterday's afternoon sun wasn't warm enough to thaw the frost on the ground at Old Town Park.
When I complained last week about how cold it was, I didn’t know it was going to be even colder this week, but it was. The arctic cold front that swept through the area pushed temperatures farther down than they already had been, and on Monday, the new year began with a low of 6°F with a wind chill of -8°. That’s the coldest Roscoe has been since I returned in 2010. And the rest of the week wasn’t that much better. The temperature hasn’t been above freezing since Saturday when the high was a balmy 38°.

It seems like longer than just a few days since the mercury rose to 55° on Friday. Saturday’s high was 38°, Sunday’s 28°, Monday’s 20°, and yesterday’s 25°. The lows on those days was 24°, 15°, 6°, and 16° respectively along with this morning’s 17°. The last days of last week were cloudy and misty, and the mist froze when it covered the grass and tree limbs. The sun came out long enough to melt the ice on the trees, but the frost was still on the grass yesterday afternoon despite the sunshine.

The good news is that the highs for the rest of the week should be in the fifties and warming up to 65° on Sunday. Lows will be below freezing up to Saturday, when the low will rise to around 44°. Winds should also be mild. Unfortunately, there is still no precipitation in the forecast.



Next Tuesday, I will drive to Houston for a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Then I’ll drive back to Roscoe on Thursday. As a result, I will not be around next Wednesday to post the Roscoe Hard Times.

Publication will resume the following Wednesday, January 17, and anything that happens this coming week should be included then.



In a game played yesterday evening in Albany, the Lions beat the Plowboys 62-44.

Scores by quarters:

Albany              22        44        53        62
Plowboys          10        16        24        44

Individual Plowboy scoring: Brandon Lavalais 8, Jayden Gonzales 5, Junior Martinez 5, Jose Ortega 4, Brayan Medina 4, Micheal Wright 4, Camden Boren 4, Clemente Aguayo 3, Nick Limones 2, Anglin 2.

The Plowboys open district play with Hamlin at the RCHS Special Events Center Friday at 8:00pm.



The Lady Lions were too much for the Plowgirls in Albany yesterday, winning by a score of 40-29.

Scores by quarters:

Albany              7          23        32        40
Plowgirls          8          13        25        29

Individual Plowgirl scoring: Veronica Cuellar 10, Kinzie Buchanan 9, Baylor Trevino 3.

The Plowgirls also open district play against Hamlin here in Roscoe Friday evening at 6:30pm.



As promised a few weeks ago, this is the second part of Roscoe's earliest history. It covers the coming of the railroad and the establishment of permanent settlements, as well as the transition of unpopulated Katula to the settlement of Vista and the establishment of the town of Roscoe.

A T&P engine of the type used in 1881.  The car behind it was known as the tender.
The coming of the Texas & Pacific railroad to west Texas in 1881 greatly accelerated the advance of settlers and civilization to the untamed area. Twelve years earlier, the first transcontinental rail line had been completed up north when the Central Pacific Railroad, laying track east from California, connected with the Union Pacific coming west from Iowa. The northern railway’s completion greatly eased the movement of people and materials from the east to the west coast. Trips from St. Louis to the west coast  that had taken months could now be made much more quickly and safely. Its completion also sparked interest in a transcontinental southern route, and in 1871 the Texas & Pacific Railroad was chartered by the Texas legislature.

In 1874, the new company sent out surveyors to find the best route across west Texas. They mapped out three possible east-west routes from Fort Worth to El Paso before settling on the center one, which came to be known as the Center Line Trail. This hitherto unnamed trail, which ran directly through what is now the Roscoe area, was older than its new name. Before the surveyors ever came, it was used by buffalo hunters as they went east to Weatherford and Fort Worth or west to Colorado (now Colorado City) and Big Springs (now Big Spring), both watering stops that preceded the coming of the railroad. As far back as the 1850s, the same trail had been used by southerners on their way west hoping to make their fortunes in the California gold rush.

Unbroken west Texas prairie, much as it would have looked in 1880.
In 1880, Captain E. B. McBurnett, a Confederate veteran, took a load of oats from Eastland County to feed the mules of some Texas & Pacific surveyors working near Colorado City. In later life, he wrote a memoir of that trip, which describes what this area was like before the railroad came. He followed the Center Line Trail on his way out and camped briefly at Seven Wells, near Colorado City, before returning to Eastland. He was so impressed with the Roscoe area that he returned the following year to become one of its first settlers. The ranch he established was about six miles southeast of present-day Roscoe.

A Texas & Pacific track-laying gang in the 1880s.
Then, in 1881, the Texas & Pacific Railway, building its railroad west from Weatherford, reached Abilene on January 13 and Sweetwater on March 11. Following the Center Line Trail, the track gangs moved through the Roscoe area around the last week of March. By April 12, they were in Colorado City and moving westward toward Big Springs and other water sources farther on.

As the laying of the track progressed westward, its work gangs built water stops about every ten miles so its steam engines would have the water necessary for them to run. From Abilene to Colorado City, T&P officials named several of these water stops, anticipating that they would soon become towns: Tebo (now Tye), Merkel, Trent, Eskota, Sweetwater, Katula, and Loraine.

The trestle over Cottonwood Creek today three miles west of town.  This is the site where the three men died in 1881.
Less than a month after the line reached Colorado [City], there were two major train wrecks in Nolan County, both with fatalities and both on the morning of May 3, caused by trestle washouts from a heavy rainstorm. The first was on Sweetwater Creek, just east of the tent city of Sweetwater, and the second was on Cottonwood Creek, three miles west of Katula. Two men were killed in the Sweetwater Creek accident, and three were killed and another seriously injured in the Cottonwood Creek wreck. The latter is the earliest recorded historical incident concerning what would later become the Roscoe area. The Dallas Herald detailed its events in three articles, two on the day after the accident, one from Weatherford and the other from Colorado City.

With the arrival of the railroad, the people living around Sweetwater Creek moved to the present location of Sweetwater to rebuild next to the new station. The post office moved with them, and they continued to call their community Sweet Water. At first it was a town of tents, but soon wooden structures were built, and it was named the county seat for Nolan County. It prospered and its population grew. By 1883, it had a courthouse, a few stores and saloons, a hotel or two, churches and residences—and about 1300 people. But then it shrank considerably during the drouth years of 1885, ‘86 and ‘87. This was also the time of the great cattle die-off during the blizzard of 1886, when thousands of cattle all over west Texas drifted south and froze to death. By 1889 Sweetwater had fewer than half the people it had had five years earlier, and in 1890 its population was only 614.

From 1881 to 1889, while Sweetwater’s fortunes were waxing and waning, Katula, eight miles to the west, remained an unsettled flagstop. The train stopped there only by pre-arrangement or when someone flagged it down. A used boxcar served as its depot.

During that time, the land around Katula was used by J. S. Johnson to raise sheep. Johnson, an early sheriff of Nolan County, was the first person ever to buy a lot in the new town of Sweetwater (now the southeast corner of Oak and Broadway).

R. C. Crane, in his 1932 article, “Early Days in Sweetwater,” relates this story about him:

"In passing it is interesting to note that it was told of J. S. Johnson that he was in the sheep business when the Texas and Pacific Railway Company was building through the county and then herded his sheep where the town of Roscoe is now located. There were no people in reach anywhere near. One day while Johnson was out herding his sheep he discovered that he was entirely out of chewing tobacco. It is said that thereupon he flagged down a passing freight train to get a chew from the engineer or fireman."

In 1889, a switch off the main line and a shipping pen were built at Katula for loading cattle on their way to be sold in Fort Worth. There was also a section house for railroad employees and a few huts where some Mexicans lived.

The Katula area had only a handful of residents, but the potential for growth was already recognized, and the inhabitants expected more settlers to soon be on the way. The fertile black soil of the Blackland Divide held promise for farms and ranches, and pure, fresh water was available not too far underground and could be brought up by a recent innovation to the west, the windmill.

In 1889, the first family to live in what is now Roscoe, the Whortons, bought a section of land less than a mile north of the Katula station and settled in, building a two-story wooden home, breaking land for cultivation, and starting a farm. They were from Georgia, but had lived for a couple of years in Ellis County, about 30 miles south of Dallas, before coming west. F. M. Whorton, the family patriarch, was eager to purchase the virgin land since the land they had farmed in Georgia was worn out from many years of farming in a time when farmers didn’t know about conservation and crop rotation.

Shortly thereafter, John A. “Jack” Thompson arrived at Katula wanting to find a site for a general store. He had sold his store in Bell County and come west to start a new life. Since there was no other place for him to stay, the Whortons invited him to stay with them, and he was there over the Christmas holidays. F. M. Whorton suggested he buy the section of land just north of his, the one between the Whorton land and the depot. There his store could be close to the railroad and section house, which had been rebuilt after the original one burned down. Thompson bought the section of land, paying $4 an acre for it. He then built a two-story building with six rooms on each floor, the front of which became the Thompson General Store. The rest became the family residence when his wife and daughter came out on the train.

He and others decided to name their budding community Vista. This must have been in the latter part of 1889. The first historical record I could find using the new name is in an Abilene Reporter article dated February 28, 1890. Entitled “Over 11,000 Acres in a Wheat Farm,” it says: “Arrangements have about been completed for the sale of 11,000 acres of land near Vista, a station on the T. P. Railway, 50 miles west of this city…” Before Thompson had finished building his store and residence, a dwelling was started by Dr. W. T. Wallace, and settlers began to come in.

Newspaper records show that the community was called Vista for less than two years. A short entry in the Abilene Reporter on August 14, 1891, mentions that “F. E. Bompart made a flying trip to Roscoe Saturday evening.” Less than a month earlier on July 17, the town had still been called Vista when a real estate company advertised “13 sections of the finest land in the state, in the western portion of Nolan County, 40 miles west of Abilene within 1-1½ to 5 miles of the town Vista on the Texas & Pacific railroad.” So, Vista became Roscoe sometime between July 17 and August 14, 1891.

The name change came when the settlement’s residents applied for a Post Office named Vista. Because there was already a town named Vesta ten miles southeast of Albany, where their mail was often missent, the postmaster, William H. Brasher, was told they would have to use a different name. Brasher told them to call it Roscoe, which was the name of the son of the superintendent of the T & P railroad between Weatherford and El Paso.

During the time that the community was known as Vista, settlers living in the area included the Emersons, who lived in a dugout until they could build a house, the Goodes, the McBurnetts, F. F. Walts, and the Lagows, as well as the Whortons and a few others.

The first church service was held in the Whorton home when a Methodist minister came there, but not too long after, the residents got together and built a one-room wooden building where church services and a school for the children could be held. It was located where the Church of Christ now stands, and all denominations held their services there. These included the Methodists, Baptists, Fundamental Baptists, and Church of Christ. The school’s first teacher was C. S. Knott, known locally as Professor Knott.

By this time, the town had become a functioning community. An ad for land sales in the Abilene Reporter on September 11, 1891, says the land is, “near the new and growing town of Roscoe.” “The country is settling fast and good church, school, and trading facilities are to be found in Roscoe.”

This article from the October 29, 1892, Fort Worth Gazette suggests how much Roscoe had developed by the following year as a new and growing town:



The Center of Cheap and Productive Farming Lands—The Country Rapidly Filling Up—What is Needed.

ROSCOE, NOLAN COUNTY, TEX., Oct. 27 [1892].—[Special.]—West Texas is progressing, but just at present Nolan county is receiving a great amount of attention from people not only in Texas, but other states.  Roscoe, a flourishing town, is situated in this county and is surrounded by some of the best agricultural lands to be found in the Lone Star State.  The worth of these lands is manifest to all when it is known that 200 families have bought homes within the past six months and will settle here before the first of next January.

The county is rapidly filling up and thereby creates new openings for business men in Roscoe.  At present the town is badly in need of a few more good, live merchants.  A good saddler and hardware business would also be a paying investment.  A bank is also much needed.  The prevailing idea among even the people of Texas is that this country is only fit for grazing purposes, but that idea will be knocked out of anyone who will take the time to visit Nolan county.  The soil is very productive and will produce nearly anything in the way of crops that can be raised anywhere in Texas.  Mr. Crocker of Garland, Arkansas, after visiting this country writes back, “My friends will not believe our reports of your country.  I will be back with ten others in a few days.”

Any person desiring a home in a farming country will do well to visit Nolan County before they locate.  Low rates of fare can be had over the Texas and Pacific railway to Roscoe for all who wish to look at the country.  Lands, choice lands, are yet cheap and can be bought on advantageous terms.  Roscoe is at present enjoying great prosperity.  New buildings are being erected, new enterprises are being started.  A roller flouring mill and a new Methodist college are soon to be erected and will add much to the advantage of the town.  Visit Nolan and Roscoe and you will never regret it.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Happy New Year!

Christmas is done, winter has officially arrived, and, although it’s too early to really notice it, the days are getting longer. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and in just a few days, we’ll all be changing our old calendars for new ones. Before leaving the old year, though, perhaps we should mark its passing by reflecting on the things that happened in and around Roscoe in 2017.

Festivals and the Music Scene

Charley Pride at the Lumberyard on Spring Super Sunday.
In recent years, Roscoe has become regionally known for its annual city celebrations and live country music performances, often by some of the best-known singers in the business. The City sponsors three major festivals, Spring Super Sunday in April, the Independence Day Celebration on or around July 4, and the West Texas Wind Festival in October. These events draw large crowds with live music, street dances, contests, street vendors, and fireworks shows—and this year was no exception.

Spring Super Sunday featured country music great Charley Pride, who performed on the big stage of the Lumberyard to a crowd larger than Roscoe’s population, and many also enjoyed a new festival event, the demolition derby and “Tuff Truck” competition in the old Planters Gin lot just north of the railroad track. The July 4th Celebration had its Lions Club’s pancake breakfast, annual parade, and Plowboy Mudbog competition, the street dance “on the bricks,” and a great fireworks show. Unfortunately, the West Texas Wind Festival was cut short this year when a sudden downpour rained out the show shortly before the featured singer, T. G. Sheppard, took the stage. The rainstorm lasted long enough to ruin the band’s sound equipment and send people running to their cars, effectively ending the day for the celebration. However, it had a happy ending for those who hung around as more sound equipment was located, and T. G. Sheppard later returned to the Lumberyard, where he and his band put on their show originally planned for the free concert and street dance.  

In addition to the City festivals, Roscoe’s reputation as a major music venue was once again enhanced by the live performances of several nationally known artists and groups at the Lumberyard. This year’s lineup included Crystal Gayle, Gary P. Nunn, Johnny Bush, the Mavericks, Dale Watson, and Jo Dee Messina, and those who love the “Red Dirt” sound also enjoyed Randy Rogers, Stoney LaRue, Wade Bowen, Casey Donahew, Micky and the Motorcars, and others.

As in previous years, the Lumberyard received acclaim in Texas newspapers. Here’s an article that appeared in the Abilene Reporter-News in August.

City businesses also prospered in 2017, helped along by Spring Super Sunday and the Christmas Open House, as shoppers from all over the Big Country came to town to check out the wares offered at Vickie’s Gifts, the Wildflower Boutique, the Rockin S Cantina, McVey’s Nursery, and others.

Here's a video sampler (9:50) of Charley Pride's performance on Spring Super Saturday:

Roscoe School

Roscoe’s school system increased its standing as possibly the most accomplished and innovative rural school in the state. In addition to their high school diplomas, 27 of its 28 graduating seniors also received their Associate’s Degrees from Western Texas College, a feat matched by no other high school in the country. This program saves thousands of dollars in college expenses for students, who can enter universities as juniors and go right into their major courses because they have already completed all their general requirements. And the ones who don’t go to college have abilities and credentials that can get them skilled employment.

This year the school showcased two new collegiate programs, Edu-Vet and Edu-Drone. Both offer students valuable experiences and certifications. Edu-Drone students learn to repair and fly drones, leading to FAA Certification for commercial drone flight, and the school is partnering with Office Depot to spread its curriculum to other schools in the nation. Edu-Vet students benefit from working with on-site veterinarians. Located in the STEM Center, the Edu-Vet initiative is also a working pet clinic run by Dr. Betsy Oesch and Dr. John Dedwyler. (For information and appointments, phone 325-766-3529. The Edu-Vet website is at, and the Facebook page is at Edu-Vet Pet Hospital.)

The Early Childhood Center on Main Street.
In August, the school also added a new facility and program for pre-schoolers, the Early Childhood Center, which uses the acclaimed Montessori system for giving kids a jump start in their education. It is one of only a handful of public schools in the state to offer this advantage. Montessori schools are known for their individualized instruction, which allows children to follow their own interests and advance at their own pace. Almost everywhere that a Montessori education is offered, it is done only privately and is not cheap. Children who go to Montessori schools in Dallas, for example, are charged around $11,000 dollars per year in tuition, while those in Roscoe go tuition-free.

State Senator Charles Perry speaks in the STEM Center.
The RCISD system model of education got plenty of praise and encouragement at the STEM Advisory Meeting at the STEM Center in October. State Senator Charles Perry and State Representative Stan Lambert both spoke of Roscoe’s importance as a model for other rural Texas schools. State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was unable to make the meeting, so Assistant Ag Commissioner and RHS grad Dan Hunter, better known here as Danny, attended in his place. Two Texas Tech professors reported that they are working with the state government of West Virginia to teach them about the Roscoe system model so that they may implement its ideas into their own public schools.

Also in October, RCHS was invited to be one of thirty schools in a global learning network. The group includes schools from the United States, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, and Canada. Schools were chosen for their excellence, equity, and innovation.

Roscoe’s robotics team, led by Coach Dan Boren, continued its annual feats of overachievement. In March, they competed in the Hub City Regional Meet in Lubbock with 45 other schools and finished in first place in the qualifying round. It earned them an invitation to the state tournament in Austin in May, where they finished eighth place out of 32 invited schools. It was a remarkable finish for such a small school. In robotics meets the size of the team’s school is not considered, and everyone competes in the same contest. Thus, almost all the schools represented in the state meet are big ones with hundreds and sometimes thousands of students.

In May, RCHS sophomore Bonnie Wilkinson won the 2A state championship in the triple jump with a distance of 36’11½”. Her sister, Lyndi, won the bronze in the 800-meter run. Lyndi has graduated, but Plowgirl fans look forward to seeing Bonnie do more great things this year and next.

Nick Limones (12) carries the ball behind Rey Martinez (74).
Coach Jake Freeman’s Plowboys once again gave Roscoe fans plenty to cheer about this fall, although their last two games unfortunately kept them from advancing in the playoffs as they had last year. They went into their final regular season game in Hamlin with a 6-3 record and a chance for a share of the district championship, but lost a heartbreaker in overtime 21-14. Then the following week in a bi-district match-up, they once again lost a close one, this time to Farwell 39-32, which ended their season. Even so, since Coach Freeman took over the program, the Plowboys have once again become a 2A team to reckon with in the Big Country, making the playoffs for the past four years—and there’s plenty of optimism about their chances for next year.

City Progress

The ribbon-cutting for the Legacy Tattoo Parlour in February.
Two new businesses have opened in town this year. One is the Legacy Tattoo Parlour on 14 Cypress, across the street from the Lumberyard. It is owned and operated by Manny Arenivaz. The shop offers several kinds of tattoos including custom art, cover-ups, and flash (predetermined patterns displayed on walls of the shop.) The shop minimum is $40 and can go up depending on the size and amount of work necessary. For more information, drop by during business hours, e-mail, or phone 325-766-2200.

The other is the Cotton Belles gift shop on 716 Broadway, where McFaul’s Garage used to be and next door to Windmill Park. It has not yet had its ribbon cutting but had its soft opening during the Roscoe merchants’ Christmas Open House in November and has been open since. It is owned and operated by Susie Alford and Misti De Loera. The shop offers a variety of gifts, t-shirts, jellies, and friendly service. Store hours are 10-5 M-F and 10-3 Saturday. For more information, phone 325-766-3663.

Windmill Park and its mural.
The City also has a new park located on the corner of Broadway and Main Street. It is called Windmill Park because it has a large windmill donated to the City by Jay and Scott Etheredge. The windmill is not a working windmill but is ornamental. It was raised in July by Ivey Windmill of Roscoe and 7 Wells Pump of Colorado City. On the wall next to the Cotton Belles shop is a huge mural painted by Calina Mishay Johnson, the same artist who painted the mural behind the Smackers building on Main Street.

The City sewer system got a major upgrade by Whitney Underground of Valley View this past summer. New lines and manholes were laid in several alleys in south Roscoe as the old lines were over sixty years old and in need of major repair.

Seventh Street was also widened and improved, and several streets got a new sealcoating in the City-County’s annual summer sealcoating project.

All three houses in the Young Farm Estates development have been sold and more are planned for construction in the coming year.

The City and School held elections in May, and there are new faces on both the School Board and City Council. Edward “Spider” Herrera and Kenny Hope, Jr., are now on the School Board, and David Pantoja, a former member, is back after a break. On the City Council, KC Hope has replaced Helen Perry.

As usual, the local wind farms still make the national and international news from time to time. Just last month, I met a French journalist in the Lumberyard who had just finished interviewing Cliff Etheredge, and a couple of weeks ago I visited the new Lithium-Ion Battery Storage System on the Inadale Wind Farm. It is E.ON’s first ever battery storage system for an American wind farm and only its second such system in the U.S. The first was one installed in July on a solar farm in Arizona.

Cotton and the Weather

Some of the fine dryland cotton grown around Roscoe in 2017.
This has been a banner year for cotton farmers in the Roscoe area. It has produced the kind of crop that farmers always dream about but seldom get. The actual amount of rainfall was less this year than last year or the year before. In 2016, Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried recorded a total of 28.97 inches, in 2015 33.55 inches, and this year just 23.68 inches.

The big difference in the size of the crop was not how much rain it got but when it got it, and this year it invariably came at the right time for the cotton. The big rain that really made the difference was the 2.43” rain that fell on August 13, with farms west of town getting more like three inches and some up to four. Right after that rain, one farmer remarked that it was a “million-dollar” rain, and, as it turned out, he was right. On this past Friday, the Central Rolling Plains Co-op Gin surpassed 50,000 ginned bales with 725 modules waiting in the gin yard and 4,638 modules still in the fields. Gin Manager Larry Black says this year will break the record for production by the Roscoe gin and estimates a final total of somewhere between 117,000 and 121,000 bales. The current record is the 2007 total of 109,991 ginned bales.

Other facts about 2017 from the official records of Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried are these. The last spring freeze came on February 25 when the temperature fell to 29°F, and the first freeze this fall was on October 28, when it dropped to 31°. Like last year, the temperatures this year were generally mild with fewer extremes than usual. The hottest day was the 105° recorded on June 18 and the coldest was January 10, when it dropped to 10°. However, there were only 10 100°+ days this year, compared to the 20 triple-digit days last summer or the record-setting 81 days in 2011.

In short, things continue to move in the right direction for Roscoe, and with continued hard work, creative thinking, and a little bit of luck, the coming year could well continue the trend. In any case, have a Happy New Year, and here’s wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2018!



Carlton Anderson
New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday night this year, so the Lumberyard will be celebrating on Saturday night instead. Featured artist will be Carlton Anderson, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter from Nashville. Check out his sound on this YouTube video of his version of “Drinkin’ Problem.”

For reservations and more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



All the tree limbs are covered with ice this morning.
It wasn’t supposed to get this cold. All the predictions a couple of days ago were saying today would be in the fifties. Yeah, right! Was it W. C. Fields who said, “It ain’t a fit night out for man or beast?” Whoever, it was, that’s the way I feel this morning. This miserable weather all started when a cold front moved in on Monday and got worse yesterday with cloudy skies, a misty fog, a strong north wind and a temperature that dropped several degrees below anything that was predicted. The wind chill temperature was in the low teens. Things started icing up around midnight, and today should be a good day not to do any more outside activities or traveling than absolutely necessary.

It wasn’t that way on Saturday when the temperature rose to 61°F. Sunday’s high was cooler at 41° but was still warmer than Monday’s maximum of 36°. Yesterday the high was only 39°, and this morning it’s only 20° with a projected high today of just 31°. Yesterday's mist has frozen on the trees and grass, and it looks like a winter wonderland out there. 

The good news is that tomorrow should be warmer with a high of around 51°, and the weekend should be even warmer with a high of 61° on Saturday and lows above freezing, although skies will remain essentially cloudy. On Saturday, there’s a 30% chance of precipitation, but it’s likely to be only drizzle. At the present time, the weathermen are forecasting a 40% chance for snow on Monday, New Year’s Day. I think I’ll stay inside and watch the football games.


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