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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 in Roscoe: A Retrospective


The past year has been a good one for the city of Roscoe, and in these final days of 2010 a summing up of the year’s events is in order.  I didn’t move back to Roscoe until September, so I asked City Councilman Ken Brawley to help me out on what happened before I got here.  Here’s what he wrote:

“This waning year started out cold and wintery, much more so than the past few years. Its beginning came on the heels of the first White Christmas in a very long time for Roscoe. The whole winter was very wet and no doubt a huge factor in the bountiful cotton and fruit crops that followed. We, as a City, made some tremendous strides. We got the trees along Cypress Street established—three more will be added this winter—and we got the Memorial Park finished and dedicated on Memorial Day. That day was marked by a visit from Susan King, State Representative, and a short talk by a retired Air Force General. The day was also marked by an all day festival down ‘on the bricks.’  Broadway and Cypress Streets were lined with vendors, and Tommy Alverson capped off a great day with a free concert that drew a very respectable crowd.
On the 4th of July another ‘on the bricks’ festival happened with Honeybrowne capping off another very successful day. Again the streets were lined with vendors, and the crowd was larger than Memorial Day. Our fireworks show was talked about all over Nolan County for weeks afterwards. Other wildly successful parts of that day were the Quarterback Challenge, Cow Patty Bingo, and the good times had by all.  Good things are happening in Roscoe, and this coming year is going to be even more amazing.”

Thanks to Ken for bringing me up to September when I returned to Roscoe to live for the first time since 1967.  I got back just in time to make the 2010 Roscoe High School Homecoming, its first since 2007, and enjoyed reliving earlier times with old classmates and other acquaintances, many of whom I hadn’t seen for years and had some trouble recognizing.

Homecoming was followed by the fourth annual Wind Harvest Festival, another big success for the city.   A large group of street vendors filled Broadway and Cypress downtown, and events included the first annual Steak, Stuffed Pepper, and Rib Cookoff, the Plowboy Mudbog at the baseball field, and an evening street dance “on the bricks” with music from the Dusty Creek Band and Gary P. Nunn, along with a big fireworks show.

This fall also saw a banner harvest for area farmers with a big cotton crop.  Many area farmers made over a bale to the acre and got higher prices for their cotton than ever before with a bale of cotton fetching  over $100 more this year than last.  This was also the best harvest in years for area fruits and vegetables, and there was an abundance of local produce.

In October, the City of Roscoe learned that the State of Texas had approved its application for a loan to improve city water.  The “loan,” which is 100% loan-forgiveness qualified, totals $1,765,000 with $1,265,000 going to the construction of a new reverse-osmosis water treatment plant that will provide the city with mineral-free water and $500,000 going to the much needed upgrade of existing city water lines.  Construction of the new water treatment plant is scheduled to begin sometime this spring.

New construction was also a feature of the Roscoe school as the elementary school was remodeled and renovated, and a new technology center was built along with conference rooms and offices.  The old high school building, in continuous use since 1938, saw its last classes ever earlier this month, and in January, it will be torn down to make way for a new cutting-edge building that will include classrooms and a new gymnasium. 

Roscoe Collegiate High School continued to blaze a trail for innovative teaching techniques and serve as a model for other high schools with its college preparatory courses that earn college credits for the students who take them.  Instruction now includes laptops for all the students and smart boards in all the classrooms.  Superintendent Kim Alexander and the entire high school faculty deserve to be commended for taking on the extra effort this innovation involves.  

The Plowboy football team had its first season under new head coach Jonathan Haseloff, and its star player, Caden Smith, was named the Most Valuable Player in the district, while several other Plowboys made the first and second all-district teams.  After a rough start, the Plowboys won enough games to once again make the playoffs. 

In October, downtown Roscoe saw the opening of a thriving new establishment, the Lumberyard, a restaurant built on the site of the old Higginbotham Bartlett lumberyard on Cypress Street.  In addition to providing food, the Lumberyard also serves as a sports bar with two wide-screen TVs.  It also has an outdoor stage with a dance floor where several well-known Texas country-and-western bands have already performed to sizable crowds.  These include the bands of Tommy Alverson, the Tejas Brothers, Mike Mancy, Charlie Shafter, James Lann, and Mike Kelly, among others.  Mike Mancy will be the featured band for the New Year’s Eve celebration on Saturday, and once again a big crowd is expected.  

All in all, it’s been a great year for Roscoe, and, as Ken Brawley predicts in his report, “this coming year is going to be even more amazing.”  Let’s hope he’s right!  Happy New Year, and here’s wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2011!    
                            
                     


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas! Memories of the 1950's Trades Day Drawings

Merry Christmas everyone!  Here’s wishing the best of holiday cheer to each and every one of you!  The approach of Christmas takes me back to an earlier time in my life and reminds me of the Christmas Trades Day Drawing that used to be the Grand Finale of the year for the Roscoe Trades Day Association. 

Anyone living in or around Roscoe in the 1950s will remember the weekly Trades Day drawings that were held in the open area where the Roscoe State Bank now stands.  Every time you bought something from a participating Roscoe merchant—and that was practically all of them—you got a yellow ticket for every dollar you spent. So, if you bought something for $5.25, the merchant was supposed to give you five yellow tickets, but they would always round up and give you six. Each ticket had a number on it with a detachable stub. 

Then on Friday afternoons at four o’clock, William Haney and one of his “soda jerks” from the drug store would set up a table just outside the south wall of the Boys Club hall and put on top of it a big turning “squirrel cage” type barrel made of wood and chicken wire.  They also hooked up a mike and speakers for Mr. Haney to do the announcing.  While this was going on, a huge crowd of Roscoe and country folks would gather with tickets in hand, filling the lawn area where the bank and its parking lot now stands.  Someone then put all the ticket stubs accumulated from sales all over town that week into the barrel, which was turned over and over. 

Then a kid randomly selected from the crowd opened the little door, reached in, and drew out a stub.   Mr. Haney would announce the amount of the prize and then call out the numbers on the stub, and all assembled would carefully check through their tickets.  The lucky winner would yell, “I’ve got it!” and go up to the table to collect the prize.  On normal weeks there were three—first $10, then $15, and then to top off the day, a $25 prize. Of course, this was in the ‘50s, so $10 was a substantial amount of money, enough to make anyone who won it feel like it was their lucky week. The prize money wasn’t cash but trades day script redeemable in any participating store, but since practically all the Roscoe businesses participated and since people did most of their shopping in Roscoe, the coupons were as good as cash. 

When the weekly drawing was over, people didn’t throw their yellow tickets away because you could trade in fifty yellow tickets for one red ticket, and the red tickets were used for the Grand Finale drawing of the year that took place the week before Christmas. The Roscoe Times Office handled all the tickets, so when merchants ran out of yellow ones, they came around to the Times Office to get more. Also, as Christmas approached, people came to the Times Office and “cashed in” all their yellow tickets to get the red ones. 

The biggest prize ever given away at one of the Trades Day drawings was a brand spanking new Chevrolet. This would have been around 1955 or 1956.  Back then, Bill Pollard had his Chevrolet dealership on the northwest corner of Main and Broadway, just east of the Coffee Bar and across the street from Kirby Smith’s filling station. He did a thriving business, not just in Roscoe, but for the whole area. In fact, he was so successful that his dealership outgrew Roscoe, and he moved to Big Spring and was successful out there for many years. 

Anyway, I don’t remember who won the new car, but it was the Grand Prize at the red-ticket Christmas drawing that year, and I believe the winner was some farmer from south of town, maybe Champion. Whoever it was, I remember folks saying that it went to a deserving person, someone that everybody liked and who didn’t have a lot of money.

The drawings went on for several years after that, but there was never again any prize as big as that one. I think in later years, the grand prize at the Christmas drawing was something like $100, but again, that was a lot of money for those days.

 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

PLOWBOYS’ BASKETBALL WIN STREAK STOPS AS ALBANY WINS AT BUZZER


The Roscoe Plowboys’ win streak in basketball was stopped at four last night as an Albany player hit a three-point shot at the buzzer to beat the Plowboys 46-45 in a non-district game.  Up until that final shot, the Plowboys had been on a roll, winning four in a row after losing their first two games of the season.  

Last Tuesday night they easily defeated the Baird Bears 55-32 for their third consecutive win with Cody Graham scoring 22 points, Caden Smith 14, and Gabriel Perez 11.  Then on Friday they won their fourth in a row by stopping the Robert Lee Steers 53-42 in the Highland Hilltop Classic.  In that game Caden Smith paced the Plowboys with 18 points, Cody Graham had 14, and Gabriel Perez 9.


Unfortunately, the outcome was different last night against the Albany Lions, a perennial Class A power.  The Plowboys never trailed by more than a point the entire game and went ahead by two with six seconds left to play, so it was a tough loss.  Even so, their strong play suggests they’ll be a prime contender for the district title.  Caden Smith scored 25 points for the Plowboys, Cody Graham had 10, and Gabriel Perez and Juan Solis had 4 each.  


The Plowgirls haven’t had as much success as the boys.  They fell to Baird in overtime 29-25 with Kim Norris scoring 8; then they lost to Robert Lee 35-29 with Kim Norris scoring 11, and last night they lost again, this time to Albany 50-24 with Sarah Kingston scoring 10, Kim Norris 5, and Katie McIntire 5.  


Roscoe’s next basketball will be at home on Friday evening against the Cross Plains Buffaloes.  The Plowgirls’ game starts at 6:30, and the Plowboys’ at 8:00.      



--o--

CHRISTMAS PARADE: Don't forget that The Roscoe Christmas Parade will be on Saturday, December 18. Lineup is at 10:30am and the parade begins at 11:00. Santa Claus will be there riding a Harley, the big purple Roscoe High School marching band will participate, and once again the parade will be dedicated to all military personnel past and present.

For more information, call Police Chief Felix Pantoja at 325-514-8384, or send an e-mail message toroscoe.police@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Caden Smith Named District MVP; Other Plowboys Also Receive Honors

Caden Smith, who did it all on both offense and defense for the Plowboys this fall, has been named the Most Valuable Player in District 7A-II.  For the season, he rushed for over 1300 yards with over a 6-yard average per carry, scored 18 touchdowns and passed for 5 others, and made big stops on defense game after game for the Plowboys.  

The Plowboys had six other players on the all-district first team.  On offense were receivers Anthony Castor and Collin Smith and linemen Michael Massey and Juan Solis. Massey and Solis were also named to the defensive team along with Edgar Gallegos and Austin Carrasco. Sophomore Landon Jones tied for defensive newcomer of the year.   

Gallegos and Carrasco also made the second team on offense, along with Corey Hatcher.  Hatcher also was named to the second-team defense with Matthew Cuellar.  Plowboys making honorable mention included Adan Aguayo, Cody Graham, Devon Freeman, Landon Jones, Damian Loza, Eric Padilla, Gabriel Perez, and Martin Solis. 

Six Plowboys were also on the academic all-district football team: Adan Aguayo, Austin Carrasco, Cody Graham, Collin Smith, and Caden Smith.

--o--

IRAAN BOY KILLED ON "ROLLER COASTER ROAD"

Many of you know about “roller coaster road,” a stretch of caliche road southeast of Roscoe between Highland and Lake Trammell where a big dip will take your breath away.  Last Thursday night at about 9:30, Hilton Dean Goff, 18, from Iraan, was killed there when he was thrown from a pickup driven by Louis Green, 19, of Sweetwater.  Green, recuperating in Rolling Plains Hospital, apparently lost control when he hit the dip at high speed, and Goff, unlike Green, was not wearing a seat belt.

--o--

ROSCOE FIRE DEPARTMENT HELPS PUT OUT BIG GRASS FIRE AT HIGHLAND

The Roscoe Fire Department was called on Sunday afternoon to help put out an 800-acre grass fire that broke out near the Highland School.  The fire began close to the Maryneal highway at a travel trailer used by hunters and may have been caused by a heater left on inside.  It started before noon and wasn’t contained until about 3:30.  Fire Departments from Maryneal, Roscoe, Sweetwater, Lake Sweetwater, Nolan, Snyder, Loraine, and Colorado City were all involved with battling the blaze.  No injuries were reported.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Roscoe Historical Museum Call for Photographs

Main Street, Roscoe, Texas, about 1905.
During Homecoming and other Roscoe events such as the Fourth of July celebration and the Wind Festival, the Roscoe Historical Museum is always open for those who want to revisit the earlier days of the city.  Unfortunately, a lot of the old treasures there were destroyed by a leaking roof a few years back, and many of the photographs that were once there are now gone never to return.

On behalf of the museum, I am now in the process of trying to build back up an archive of photographs that illuminate the history of Roscoe and surrounding area over the past century.  To that end, on Tuesday I visited Mava Cooper in Abilene in the hopes of getting some of the many photographs her husband, J. B. Cooper, Jr., took of Roscoe over the years.  She and I were able to locate several from the last few decades, mostly of RHS homecomings; however, she has unfortunately thrown the majority away, and they are now gone for good.

Before the same fate befalls others that capture something of the history of our community, I would like to issue a call for any photos that would be of general interest to Roscoans.  If you already have them in digital form, you can send copies as e-mail attachments or by other similar means.  (The higher the resolution of the photographs, the better.) 

If you have photos that exist only as prints, I would love to have the opportunity to borrow them temporarily so I can scan them into my computer and make them publically available in one of two ways--either as prints on display in the museum itself or as images on a Roscoe Historical Museum website now under construction.  I will of course return as soon as possible any prints lent for scanning.  The plan is to get enough to group them chronologically in categories so that visitors to the site can access them in an organized way.

Particularly needed are photographs of downtown Roscoe and ones that show stores, gins, and other establishments and public places that people will remember. Photos of events such as the 1957 Semi-Centennial or the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations, 4th of July parades, the 1980 flood, or other notable community events and activities are also wanted. 

Those of you on Facebook may know of the “Roscoe, Tx” Facebook account, which has many wonderful photos put there by a number of contributors like Glyniss McDaniel, Sharion McFaul Henley, Erik Duncan, and others.  Such photos are exactly the kind needed for the Roscoe Historical Museum. However, they aren't big enough to show a lot of detail on Facebook, which also reduces their size and resolution during the uploading process, so if you've put some of the good ones there, I'd appreciate it if you could please re-send the original images for the museum.

To whet your interest, I am posting a series of photos of early day Roscoe, which you can access by clicking here

Please help us make a better museum by sending copies of any scanned images you can contribute to eduncan@towson.edu.  If you have questions, contact me at the same e-mail address. 

John Strother in front of Arant's Variety Store in downtown Roscoe, about 1945. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


The time of year is once again upon us when Americans of all races, religions, and political persuasions gather to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon them for the previous year.  And Roscoans have plenty to be thankful for this year—a bountiful cotton crop, continued leadership in the field of wind energy, a program at the high school to put students on the fast track for college, renovations and plans underway for new school facilities and a new high school building, a city government that is proactive in improving the city’s looks and reputation, state money for a new reverse-osmosis water treatment plant that will give the city pure, mineral-free water, as well as all our personal benefits.

Thanksgiving is also a holiday given over to getting together with loved ones to feast upon dishes we generally ignore for the rest of the year—roasted turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, pecan, or mincemeat pie--yet on this one day these dishes are somehow perfect for the occasion. If we’re not careful, we leave the table stuffed and groaning to collapse on the couch or recliner to watch the Dallas Cowboys do their annual Thanksgiving thing.  In past years, this was often a blowout of the Detroit Lions, but this year they’re playing the Saints, so anything can happen.  If you’re a college football fan, you may also be gearing up for the annual Aggies vs. Longhorns game.

Since that first Thanksgiving feast shared by the Pilgrims and Indians in New England, the holiday has been observed in many ways, but if you were a boy growing up in Roscoe in the 1950’s or 1960’s, you may well have been involved in a yearly Thanksgiving ritual that was celebrated in a way like no other I ever heard of.
 
The Roscoe Boys Club had an annual Thanksgiving Feast, usually held on a little creek on a ranch not far from Maryneal.  Each boy who participated, and there were usually about twenty or twenty-five who did, was instructed to bring a dish from home—potato salad, pie, cobbler, cake, cranberry salad, macaroni and cheese, green beans, potato chips, sweet potatoes—anything except the turkey and dressing, which was furnished by the Boys Club and prepared by the local Steak House.  Boys Club director George Parks would make up a huge steel vat of lemonade made with fresh-squeezed lemons and pour in Welch’s grape juice from quart bottles. The squeezed lemon rinds would be thrown into the vat for flavor, and the top of the lemonade was covered by crushed ice and floating lemon rinds.

All the boys would meet at the Roscoe Times Office at about nine or nine-thirty on Thanksgiving morning and go out to the ranch in a borrowed school bus, arriving at the creek around ten or ten-thirty.  Time between then and feast time was taken up with games, explorations up the creek, and shenanigans of one sort or another—like stripping off our clothes and running around “in the raw” as we called it.

Then, when it was time to eat, the food would be brought out and set up on rock ledges.  Boys would get a paper plate, line up, and fill their plates with everything that looked good to them. They would then go sit on a rock somewhere and start eating.  There was always glory for the boys who could eat the most. But everybody ate two or three times as much as normal, especially since there was always an abundance of dessert, and the time after the meal was punctuated by the moans of those who had gorged themselves, that is, the majority of the boys.  Nothing happened for at least a half hour while everyone lay on rocks and tried to recover, but then as stomachs started feeling better, activity would once again start up.  Now it was time for the Rat Race, the highlight of the day.

The Rat Race was a kind of initiation ceremony.  Boys who had run the Rat Race on a previous Thanksgiving were the throwers, and boys making the trip for the first time were the rats, the runners.  First, a nice grassy expanse was located, one which could be run on barefooted without hurting the feet.  This was always somewhere down by the creek.  Then all the half-lemon rinds in the lemonade vat would be distributed to the throwers.  There would generally be enough rinds for every thrower to have two or three.

The hapless victims, the runners, would then strip down completely naked.  This in itself could be harsh, especially in those years when Thanksgiving happened during a cold spell with a sharp north wind.  In the meantime, the throwers with their lemon rinds would arrange themselves in a long line running parallel to the creek.  The runners, who were at one end of the line, would wait their turn to “run the gauntlet” between the creek and the throwers.

When George said, “Go,” one of them would run as fast as he possibly could past the line of about twenty howling boys, who would pelt him with the lemon rinds as hard as they could throw as he went running by.  When he got to the end of the line, he would jump into the creek for a quick, cold washoff because he would be covered with the sticky lemonade juice that came from his pelting.  Throwers would then retrieve their lemon rinds, line up again, and yell out threats and taunts at the next victim until George set him off and the pelting resumed.

This process was repeated until every rat had run.  The only rules for the throwers were that you could not throw until the boy was even with or past you—and that you couldn’t aim for the head.  Backs, sides, and butts were the acceptable targets, and a hard-thrown half-lemon rind could raise a welt, especially when thrown by some of the older boys.  The only mercy shown was to the littlest boys who bravely endured the ordeal.  Everyone else was pelted unmercifully.  The only solace for the runner, often through held-back tears, was that once he had run the Rat Race, he never had to do it again.  Instead, he could look forward to being one of the throwers the following year and forever thereafter. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roscoe High School Prepares for the Future

Architect's drawing of the new Roscoe High School building.

The Roscoe High School building we all know and love is now entering its final days of use.  A lot of water has passed under the bridge since it opened for business some three-quarters of a century ago, and in that time there have been within its walls countless first loves, breakups, fistfights, practical jokes, honors, performances, and other milestones of life—not to mention the knowledge gained from the many great teachers who dedicated their lives to the endeavor.  But, as Robert McBride reminded us at Homecoming, time marches on, and the day is rapidly approaching when classes will cease and students clean out their lockers for the last time there.  

According to Superintendent Kim Alexander, the last day for the old building will be at midterm in December.  In January, it goes into abatement, and in February it will be demolished.  Immediately thereafter, construction of the new High School building will begin.  The architect’s illustration above shows that something of the old building’s appearance is maintained with the twin bell towers that have characterized the school since 1938.    

Other changes have already happened or are happening now.  The elementary school has been remodeled and renovated, and at midterm students will be moving into other areas now nearing completion.  These include a new early childhood center, and, where early childhood has been, a new wing for math and science classes.  There is also a new technology center with an innovative open classroom area observable from above, along with a couple of conference rooms and offices.  

The result will be a cutting-edge facility that should serve our students well for decades to come.  
The building will feature a new gym as well as classrooms.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Plowboys Bite the Dust 49-14

The Roscoe Plowboys’ hopes for playoff success were decisively dashed at Jim Ned Stadium in Tuscola Thursday night.  They got off on the wrong foot against a strong Munday team and were never able to recover.

The Plowboys received the opening kickoff but were stopped on downs and had to punt.  Munday then moved down the field for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.  On the following kickoff, the Plowboy returner fumbled the ball and the Moguls recovered on the 21-yard line.  After a short drive, they scored again and went up 14-0, which is where the score remained until the end of the first quarter. 

Munday began the second quarter with a 15-yard run for another TD.  After the extra point, the score was 21-0, and things only went downhill for the Plowboys from there.  By halftime the score was 42-8, making the second half essentially meaningless.  The final score was 49-14 with the principal highlight of the evening for the Plowboys a 61-yard touchdown run by Caden Smith.
 
The Plowboys’ football season is now over while Munday moves on in the playoffs to face Iraan next week.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Plowboys Hammer Yellowhammers 53-7

Collin Smith scores the first of many Plowboy TDs against Rotan.
The Roscoe Plowboys laid waste to the Rotan Yellowhammers at Plowboy Field last night, raising their district record to 3-2, which is good enough for them to make the playoffs for yet another year.  The final score was 53-7, and it could have been worse.    

Rotan’s first mistake was winning the coin toss and electing to defer to the second half.  The Plowboys received the opening kickoff, and Cody Graham returned it sixty yards all the way to the Rotan three yard line.  On the next play Collin Smith carried the ball into the end zone, and Roscoe took the lead 7-0.  

Following the ensuing kickoff, Roscoe forced Rotan to punt and almost immediately scored another touchdown when Caden Smith hit Anthony Castor on a perfectly thrown 40-yard pass.  By the end of the first quarter, the score was 19-0, and the rout was on.  The halftime score was 33-0, and at the end of three quarters it was 53-0.  

By winning, the Plowboys make the playoffs, earning the right to play at least another week.  Their opponent next Friday will be the Munday Moguls, who beat Archer City last night 32-20.  The Moguls defeated the Plowboys earlier this year in Munday 31-0.    

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cotton Crop Looking Good

Farmers around Roscoe are anticipating a banner year this year with the cotton crop.  Gary Pieper of Gary Pieper Crop Insurance estimates that with last year’s wet winter and this year’s rainfall, most of the dry land cotton around Roscoe should make from ⅔ to 1¼ bales per acre and the irrigated even more.  

According to Pieper, the cotton within a five-mile radius of town is generally better than in places such as Wastella and some parts around Inadale that got less rainfall, and all local fields suffered from the hot, dry August when temperatures got up to around 100° every day for about three weeks.  

As a result, the overall harvest may not equal some of the bumper crops of past years, but it’s still going to be well above average for most farmers, and the price of cotton this year is higher than it’s ever been.   Because of lower yields worldwide due to floods in Pakistan and bad weather in India, the demand for cotton is exceeding supply, and recent cold spells in China and hailstorms in the Texas panhandle have caused prices to go even higher.   

On the futures exchange in New York, cotton jumped on Tuesday to $1.34 a pound for December delivery, which is the highest it’s ever been.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that all the farmers in this area will be getting that much for their cotton, though.  A majority of them are in the Plains Cotton Co-op Association pool that contracted to sell the cotton back when the price was much lower.  However, even they should be able to get around 80 cents a pound and possibly more—and that’s a lot higher than last year when prices were in the mid-60’s, or the year before when it was in the low 60’s.  

So, all things considered, if the area can get some decent weather between now and the end of harvest, this year’s cotton crop should go down as one to remember.  

--o--
FOOTBALL: PLOWBOYS DOWN RALLS 33-12.

The Roscoe Plowboys defeated the Ralls Jackrabbits in Ralls last Friday night 33-12 to bring their record to 2-2 in the district.  They conclude regular season play at Plowboy Field on Friday night against the Rotan Yellowhammers, but if they win, they'll be in the playoffs.  Kickoff is at 7:30.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grand Opening of the Lumberyard

Ribbon Cutting at the Lumberyard.  L to R: KXOX Radio DJ "Skinny Kenny" Brawley; Delma Boston, Wildflower Boutique; Pete Porter, Roscoe Mayor; Brenda Martinez, Lumberyard staff; Nolan Martin, Lumberyard General Manager; Timy Teel, Lumberyard staff; Misty Guelker, Brooklyn's Heavenly Treasures; Kelly Etheredge, Roscoe Wind Council; Vickie Haynes, Vickie's Gifts; Edwin Duncan, Roscoe Hard Times.
Downtown Roscoe will be rocking this weekend with the official Grand Opening of the Lumberyard.  Located on the site of the old Higginbotham-Bartlett Lumberyard on 7 Cypress Street just south of the Texas & Pacific railroad track, this new establishment gives a welcome boost of energy to the downtown area.  Whether it should be termed a restaurant, sports bar, recreational area, or night club depends on the time and reason for going. 

During the day and on many evenings it is primarily a restaurant with a variety of dishes for customers.  This evening, however, when the Texas Rangers play their first World Series game against the San Francisco Giants, it will definitely be a sports bar with its two wide-screen TVs.  Tomorrow night when country music star Tommy Alverson brings his music to town—or on Friday evening when the Tejas Brothers help Roscoe celebrate Halloween with a costume party and contest, it will definitely be a night club.  

If it weren’t for the appearance of these two well-known musical acts, one might almost consider the Grand Opening itself something of an anti-climax, since the Lumberyard actually opened a couple of days before the West Texas Wind Festival back on October 16 and has been going strong ever since.  Sizeable numbers were on hand to watch the Texas Rangers playoff games against the Yankees last week as well as the Dallas Cowboys football game on Monday night.  And a daily lunch crowd has already developed on regular weekdays.  

Owner Cody Thompson and Lumberyard manager Nolan Martin have been busy for some time getting the place ready to go, and their hard work is paying off.  In addition to the restaurant and sports bar inside, there is the raised stage and dance floor outside, a horseshoe pitching area, and an outdoor pavilion for drinks and dominoes.  

The Lumberyard is a welcome addition to the life of our community, and we wish it the best of luck!

Inside the Lumberyard

--o--

FOOTBALL: CROSBYTON DEFEATS PLOWBOYS 56-29.

The Crosbyton Chiefs beat the Plowboys in Crosbyton last Friday night 56-29.  For details, see the write-up in the Sweetwater Reporter by clicking here.  The Plowboys are now 1-2 in district play and 2-6 overall.  This Friday night they'll play the Ralls Jackrabbits in Ralls.  Kickoff is at 7:30.

Monday, October 18, 2010

4th Annual West Texas Wind Harvest Festival


Part 1. 4th Annual West Texas Wind Harvest Festival, Roscoe, Texas, October 16, 2010: High School Quarterback Challenge, "Carbon Nation," Plowboy Mudbog, Mudbog Dash for Cash, inflated slide, Matt Davis, the Dusty Creek Band, street scene.



Part 2. "Barbecuing in the Wind Cookoff" awards, "Carbon Nation" producer Peter Byck, the Dusty Creek Band, Gary P. Nunn and the Bunkhouse Band: "What I like about Texas," "Two-Step Away," fireworks show.


Gary P. Nunn and the Bunkhouse Band: "London Homesick Blues," "Terlingua Sky," "Reggae Armadillo."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Plowboys Down Roby 22-8

Caden Smith scores on a ten-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Roscoe Plowboys got back on the winning track against the Roby Lions in a hard-fought game Friday night at Plowboy Field.  The Plowboys scored first on a Caden Smith run in the first quarter and converted the extra point to go up 8-0, but Roby came right back with a drive of their own and tied the score at 8-8.  The second quarter had several big plays but no scores, and at halftime the teams were still deadlocked at 8-8.  

The Plowboys opened the third quarter with a long drive culminating in a touchdown and a kicked extra point, and the score was 15-8.  On the ensuing drive, Roby quarterback Stormy Rasberry got his bell rung and had to leave the game, and the Lions lost their punch on offense after that.  The Plowboys scored another Caden Smith touchdown in the fourth quarter to ice the game and make the final score 22-8.  Plowboy standouts were Caden Smith, Edgar Gallegos, and Austin Carrasco, while Stormy Rasberry led the Lions.

The Plowboys are now 1-1 in district play and will face Crosbyton at Crosbyton next Friday night.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gary P. Nunn & the Bunkhouse Band to Highlight Live Music at Wind Festival

Gary P. Nunn
This year’s West Texas Wind Festival on Saturday, October 16, is proud to present Texas country music legend, Gary P. Nunn, along with his Bunkhouse Band, as its feature act for this year’s “street dance on the bricks” downtown.  Nunn, a pioneer of the outlaw music scene in Austin with his Lost Gonzo Band, played with Willie Nelson, Michael Murphy, and Jerry Jeff Walker in the seventies—and has been a fixture of the Texas music scene ever since.  

His fame as a performer is matched, if not exceeded, by his songwriting skills.  What self-respecting Texan can’t sing along to “I want to go home with the armadillo, good country music from Amarillo and Abilene” from his “London Homesick Blues”?  He’ll be singing that and “That’s What I Like about Texas” along with many others, including songs from his latest album, “Taking Texas to the Country.”  

The live music will begin at 4:00pm with Matt Davis from San Angelo, and around 6:00, Roscoe’s own  Dusty Creek Band will take the stage with members Lyndall Underwood, Robbie Nolan, Steve and Chris Myers, and Danny Letz.  They’ll get the crowd going until about 8:00 or 8:30. 

Then Gary P. Nunn and the Bunkhouse Band will take the stage.  They’ll play a 45-minute set and then break for the FIREWORK SHOW, after which they’ll return and do another set.  

Folks, this is one feature of the Wind Festival that you don’t want to miss.  Bring your dancing shoes, and be ready for a musical experience you won’t soon forget!

To warm up for the event, click on these Gary P. Nunn videos:



HIGH SCHOOL QUARTERBACK CHALLENGE

The event that will kick off this year’s Wind Festival is the High School Quarterback Challenge, which starts at 10:00am in the little park directly across from the City Hall on Cypress Street.  Several area high school quarterbacks will test their passing accuracy by attempting to throw footballs through a tire, and the winner will receive not only a trophy but also glory for his football team and high school.  


BARBECUING IN THE WIND COOKOFF

The open areas around the Fire Station on Broadway will be the venue for Roscoe’s First Annual Steak, Stuffed Pepper, and Rib Cookoff.  Organizers for the event are Gary Armstrong and Virgil Pruitt.  Participants may enter one category or all three.  The entry fee is $25 per category or $70 for all three.  Entrants will want to set up early.  Judging will take place at 3:00pm for the Stuffed Pepper Cookoff, 4:00 for the Steak, and 5:00 for the Rib.  There will be a $1000 prize money for the best steak, $500 for the best ribs, and an undetermined amount as of yet for the Stuffed Pepper.

Along with the Cookoff, there will be a raffle for various items with tickets at $1 each or 6 for $5.


SHOWINGS OF THE MOVIE CARBON NATION

A movie somewhat similar in spirit to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which discusses pollution and global warming, Carbon Nation, produced by Peter Byck, focuses on solutions to offset the manmade carbon emissions being pumped into the atmosphere.  

The first part of this documentary is about wind energy and the Roscoe wind farm.  It features Cliff Etheredge and possibly other Roscoe folks.  The movie’s producer, Peter Byck, is coming from Kentucky to be on hand for the three showings in the Community Center at 12:00, 1:30, and 3:00.   Admission is free, but event organizer Cliff Etheredge says to bring your own popcorn.


VENDORS

There will be a multitude of vendors selling all sorts of things in the downtown area throughout the Wind Festival.  As of yesterday, 39 were signed up.  So bring some cash.  You’re sure to find something you’ll need to buy.


HELICOPTER NOT COMING

The only known snag in the Wind Festival thus far has been the last-minute cancellation of the announced helicopter rides.  You can blame the federal government for this unfortunate turn of events.  Last month the FAA announced new legislation regarding the insurance for such events, and the company bringing in the helicopter learned that it might not be covered under the new regulations.  So, regretfully, it has had to cancel.  


“SOFT OPENING” OF THE LUMBER YARD 

Although the grand opening of The Lumber Yard won’t be until later this month, this new downtown restaurant, located on the site of the old Higginbotham Bartlett lumber yard on Cypress, will be open for a sneak preview during the Wind Festival.


So bring your chair and make a day of the Fourth Annual West Texas Wind Festival! 

For more information about any of the Wind Festival events, contact Kelly Etheredge at 325-725-0756.  



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Plowboy Mudbog


The fourth annual West Texas Wind Harvest Festival in Roscoe this weekend will feature many events, but for many, none is more anticipated than the Plowboy Mudbog, to be held at George Parks Field on Saturday afternoon.  

Event organizers Felix and David Pantoja say the word is out among area mudbog enthusiasts, and the competition this weekend should be even tougher than it was at the Plowboy Mudbog in Roscoe on July 4th, when there were 28 entries.  Felix is predicting a huge crowd and as many as 40 entries for Saturday.

The mud track, just beyond right field of the baseball park, will be 200 feet long and go from two-feet deep to four-feet deep in good ol’ squishy Roscoe blackland mud.  Winners are those that go the farthest before coming to a halt.  The winner of the open class at the July 4th mudbog, Zack Welch, made a distance of 140 feet.  

Entries will be in three classes: Street: 36” tires and under; Modified: 36” to 39”; and Open: 40” and over.   Since there’s an advantage in going last rather than first, each truck takes two runs, with the second run in reverse order from the first.  

The registration fee for entries is $25 with the winners of each class taking the fees as prize money.  Registration begins at 8:00am on Saturday in front of the baseball field at Second and Sycamore Streets.  Admission to the event beginning at noon is $5 for adults and $2 for children.  All proceeds will go to benefit the Roscoe baseball little league.  

For more information, contact Felix Pantoja at 325-514-8384 or David Pantoja at 325-280-1917.


--o--

FOOTBALL: The Plowboys lost in Hamlin to the Pied Pipers last Friday night 39-18.  They are now 1-5 on the year and will host the Roby Lions in a district game at Plowboy Field on Friday.  Kickoff is at 7:30.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gary High

Gary High, 63, who grew up in Roscoe, passed away on Sunday in San Angelo. The funeral will be at 1:30 on Thursday.  Click here for the obituary in the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hallelujah! Roscoe Lands State Funding to Improve City Water


Anybody who’s lived in Roscoe in recent years knows the problems caused by the minerals in the water.  They create difficulties and shorten the lives of all sorts of appliances that use water—coffee makers, water heaters, shower heads, icemakers, dishwashers, and so on—besides being less than ideal for drinking, especially for expectant mothers, small children, and certain others.
But because of its demographics, the persistence of the city manager, mayor, and city council, and a little bit of luck, Roscoe will receive $1,765,000 from the state in the form of a loan that is 100% loan-forgiveness qualified.  That’s quite a chunk of change for a city the size of Roscoe.  Of that amount, $1,265,000 is for the construction of a new reverse-osmosis water treatment plant and $500,000 will go to sorely needed city water line improvements. 
The City of Roscoe unsuccessfully applied for the loan over a year ago but reapplied and hit the jackpot this time around.  City Manager Cody Thompson and City Council members Ken Brawley and Robert McBride recently made a trip to Austin to attend a hearing on the issue and got the good news earlier this week.  They will be returning there on October 21 to coordinate with the state on the project.  
Construction of the new water treatment plant and work on the water lines should begin sometime next year.  The process of reverse osmosis produces pure, clean water that will enhance the quality of life for everyone in Roscoe in a multitude of ways.  This development is great news, and sincere thanks are due to everyone who’s played a part in bringing it about. 
--o-- 
FOOTBALL:  The Plowboys lost to Munday last week 31-0.  Enough said.  This week they had an open date, and next week they’ll begin district play in Hamlin against the Pied Pipers.  Hamlin is 3-2 on the year with losses only to Stamford and Albany.
--o--
If you have any news I should mention in the Roscoe Hard Times, contact me at eduncan@towson.edu or 325-766-2233.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roscoe High School Homecoming 2010


Roscoe High School exes from near and far gathered this weekend for Homecoming, the first since 2007.  The event began with a Friday afternoon pep rally to a packed audience in the new gym, followed by a baked potato supper in the cafeteria and a football game on Plowboy Field against the Merkel Badgers.  The game didn’t turn out as hoped since the Badgers won, but it didn’t seem to matter all that much to many who attended, because they were busy on the sidelines and in the stands reuniting with old classmates whom they hadn’t seen in years or even decades.  After the game, there was another gathering for coffee in the cafeteria, while some classes had reunions and parties at the homes of local grads. 

Saturday morning’s registration with coffee and doughnuts in the cafeteria was followed by a brisket lunch at 12:00 and a program and business meeting at 12:30.  Jacob Tiemann informed exes of Roscoe High’s new designation as Roscoe Collegiate High School.  As recipients of a grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundations, Roscoe High now offers college-level classes to aspiring juniors and seniors, and last year actually offered a graduating senior its first Associate’s Degree.  Robert McBride reviewed highlights and memories of Roscoe High over the decades and also explained why the old high school building, in continuous use since 1938, will soon be coming down to make way for a new one.  He invited everyone to walk the halls of the old building one last time, and many did so at the conclusion of the meeting, while others gathered and reminisced at the Roscoe Historical Museum downtown.

Individual classes and groupings of classes gathered on Saturday evening at various venues, and, as far as I know, a good time was had by all.  

Homecoming 2010 Slideshow Click to view. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Merkel Stops Plowboys 28-14

Caden Smith (12) scores Plowboy TD in first quarter.

Hopes were high Friday night for the Roscoe Plowboys as they looked to rebound from last week’s loss to Stamford by beating up on their old nemesis, the Merkel Badgers.  Some of the intensity of the traditional rivalry between the two schools has faded in recent years as Merkel has grown and moved from Class A up to 2A and is no longer a district foe.  Still, the Badgers undoubtedly remembered recent losses to the Plowboys and came into the game intent on spoiling Roscoe’s homecoming.

The Badgers came out clicking on all cylinders and before the first quarter was half over, they were already up by a score of 14-0 and moving the ball down the field at will.  After the second Merkel touchdown, the Plowboy offense finally woke up and was able to put together a long drive that culminated in a Caden Smith touchdown from the two, but then Merkel responded with another drive of its own, and by the end of the quarter the Badgers were ahead 21-7.  It appeared that the rout was on.  

The Plowboys defense stiffened, though, and the two teams were equally matched throughout the second quarter.  Caden Smith capped off another Plowboy drive with a touchdown, and at halftime the score was 21-14.  

The third quarter was similar to the second with both teams playing well and neither able to score.  The Plowboys had chances to tie the game but never managed to do so.   Merkel began the fourth quarter on the Plowboy 12-yard line, but the Plowboy defense held for four plays and the ball went over on downs. 

Unfortunately, they fumbled the ball away on the next play, and Merkel capitalized a couple of plays later with their final touchdown, putting the game out of reach at 28-14, which turned out to be the final score.

After the disastrous start, the Plowboys played tough, but they were plagued by poor tackling off and on throughout the contest, and the failure to wrap up ball carriers, along with critical turnovers, cost them the game.  Quarterback Caden Smith had another good night both running and passing, and halfback Collin Smith also had several good runs.  Merkel was led on both sides of the ball by Frankie Harris.

Life doesn’t get any easier for the Plowboys next week as they go to Munday to play a 3-1 team that has recovered from an opening loss to Stamford with strong victories over Olney, Jim Ned, and Haskell.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Fruit Crop

Since coming back, I’ve learned that this year’s fruit crop in Roscoe has been the best in years.  I’m told that the peach trees across the street were so loaded that they were breaking the limbs, and the same was true for apricots and cherries.  Because of my late arrival, I missed out on these, but my cousin Arlo welcomed me home by taking me out to his apple trees and having me pick a plastic grocery bag full.  He’s got so many apples this year he doesn’t know what to do with them all, and there are dozens under the trees just lying on the ground.  


Arlo's apples
My mother’s pomegranate bush is covered with pomegranates, not ripe yet.

 Pomegranates

And the jujube tree in the back yard is similarly loaded.  When I say jujubes, I’m not talking about those little candies you get at the movie theater, but real jujubes, the kind that grow on trees.   They’re oval shaped, about an inch-and-a-half tall, and, when ripe, have a brown skin.  When I was little, my mother used them to make jujube butter, similar in color and flavor to apple butter.  But the best thing to do is to just eat them straight off the tree.  They taste more like an apple than anything else, but really they have their own flavor.  They always remind me of Roscoe since that’s about the only place I’ve ever seen them—except for Iran, where they originally came from. There you can buy them in the markets. 

Jujubes

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stamford Defeats Plowboys

Caden Smith (12) follows the block of Michael Massey (69) to score and tie the game 6-6 in the first quarter.

For several years now, the Roscoe Plowboys have participated in the TSTC Sammy Baugh Classic, an annual weekend of football games held in the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater. Named after football legend Sammy Baugh, former Sweetwater High quarterback and charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the event runs Thursday through Saturday and features several games involving area schools.

Roscoe’s opponent this year was the highly regarded Stamford Bulldogs, who came into the game with a 2-0 record after beating Munday 53-19 and Anson 48-12. Roscoe was 1-1 after losing 27-13 to Albany, ranked fifth in state, and defeating Hawley 19-6.

The game, which started at 1:00pm on Saturday, was played in blistering heat. Mustang Bowl is essentially a big hole in the ground, and what little breeze there was at ground level didn’t make it down to the playing field. Game time temperature was 95° in the shade, but there was no shade to be found. In fact, the beginning of the second half was delayed about fifteen minutes when paramedics were called in to take away on a gurney one of the members of the Bulldog marching band who was overcome by the heat.

Besides that band member, the other casualty of the afternoon was the Plowboy football team, which was overpowered and outplayed by Stamford, losing 41-12. The first indication that the Plowboys might be in for a long afternoon occurred when the two teams faced one another at midfield for the pre-game coin toss. The Stamford boys were clearly bigger and heavier, and their team had about twice as many players.

Even so, the first quarter was fairly even with both sides getting a touchdown. Stamford scored first to go ahead 6-0, but Roscoe came right back and marched down the field for a touchdown with quarterback Caden Smith running 12 yards around the right side to paydirt. However, the extra point attempt was blocked, and one of the Stamford players picked up the ball and ran ninety-plus yards to score, putting the Bulldogs ahead 8-6.

The Stamford returner muffed the ensuing kickoff, picked the ball up in the end zone, and made it out only to the half-yard line before being tackled, and things were looking good for the Plowboys. However, on the next play, Hagan Hutchinson, the Stamford quarterback, threw a bomb, which his receiver Jesse Ramos caught running full stride at about the 35-yard line and cruised all the way in for a touchdown, a 99½ yard play—and it was downhill for the Plowboys from that point on. By halftime the score was 35-6 with the outcome no longer in question.

The second half was relatively uneventful with Caden Smith breaking free for an 85-yard touchdown run and the Bulldogs responding with a long touchdown run of their own. Stamford played many second teamers in the fourth quarter, and the final score was 41-12.

Admittedly, Roscoe’s two losses have come to two of the best Class A teams in West Texas—and since these are non-district games, there is plenty of time left for the Plowboys to recover and do well in district play. Nevertheless, this game must be seen as a reality check for all us exes who have in recent years become accustomed to seeing the Plowboys regarded as one of the elite Class A teams in the state. It will be interesting to see if they can bounce back and play well against the Merkel Badgers at Homecoming next Friday night.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Opening Remarks

As many of you already know, I recently retired and have moved back to Roscoe to live in the same house I lived in when going to high school fifty years ago. My mother lived in it until she was 100, but then three years ago she moved to the rest home in Sweetwater, and the Duncan house has been unlived in since. As a result, many things (such as the air conditioner and refrigerator) aren't working, and it needs repairs and upgrades, so I have a number of concerns that need my immediate attention. The moving truck with almost all of my earthly possessions won't arrive until sometime next week, and I am still without television, but I got Internet access today, so in that regard at least, things are looking up.

I've moved back from Parkville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, where I lived in a condo that I bought in 1998. I've just put it on the market and have my fingers crossed that I can sell it soon. Up until my last day as department chair about a month ago, I worked at Towson University non-stop since 1993, except for one school year, 1996-1997, when I was a visiting professor at the University of Akron.

Like most Texans, I’d never heard of Towson until shortly before I got a job there and didn’t even know how to pronounce the word. In case you’re wondering, the ‘Tow’ in Towson rhymes with ‘cow,’ and it’s not a small private institution as you might suspect, but a pretty large state school with over 21,000 students. When I first started working there, it was Towson State University, and up until the 1960s it was Towson State Teachers College, but, as has been the trend with schools all over the country, the official name changed as it grew and expanded its offerings.

Anyway, since leaving Roscoe over forty years ago, I've lived in Maryland longer than in any other place. I spent about five years in Lubbock, five more overseas, eleven in Austin, two in northern California, seven in Beaumont, and shorter periods of time in other places. I’ve been married twice, divorced twice, and have three grown daughters and a granddaughter. Over the years I’ve had so many different jobs, I doubt that I could name them all. My favorite—and the one I’ve stuck with the longest—is college professor. For the past few years I’ve spent more time as an administrator than in the classroom, but teaching has been my calling, and it’s always been the most rewarding.

Even so, I’ve been looking forward to retirement and the opportunity to get out of the big city rat race and return to my hometown roots, where I can enjoy life at a more leisurely pace. Or at least, that’s the plan. As I’ve done in the past, I may once again be deluding myself—but I hope not. We’ll see.

Anyway, I hope to keep people posted on what's happening in Roscoe, so if you know of anything that's going on that I should be mentioning here, please let me know. My e-mail address is eduncan@towson.edu.

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