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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


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.      


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

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.



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.



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  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. 

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