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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ugh! This Year's Crop May Not Be So Hot, Say Injun Robert

The wind was from the southwest the second morning of Spring. (Photo by Robert McBride)
The verdict is in, and it ain’t pretty. As he has in years past, “Injun Robert” McBride performed the “Sunrise Wind” ceremony at dawn Monday morning, the first day after the beginning of Spring, and watched helplessly as a southwest breeze wafted the smoke of his fire off to the northeast. According to the ancient lore of the Plains Indians, that outcome foretells a below-average crop for this year.

Those unfamiliar with the ritual may appreciate some background information to understand its import. Known in the Comanche language as Taba’na Yuan’e, or “Sunrise Wind” ceremony, it was a traditional practice of the Plains Indians long before the white man came. It was observed around 1880 by a Mr. Crim, who was in charge of the mule teams used in building the T&P railway across west Texas. While in the Van Horn area on the morning of March 22, he noticed puffs of smoke coming from all the Indian huts in sight. He asked what was going on and was told that the Indians were seeing what kinds of crops they would have that year by building a fire just before dawn and then, as the sun appeared, observing which direction the wind blew the smoke.  This was always done on the morning after the first day of spring.

According to legend, an east or northeast wind meant a "very good” year, north or northwest "average," west or southwest "poor," and south or southeast "very bad.”

In the early 1970s George Parks, editor of the Roscoe Times, learned of the ceremony, which was still being performed annually in Muleshoe by old Mr. Crim’s son, referred to by the locals there as “Injun John.” “Injun George” found out the particulars from “Injun John” and replicated them here for many years until shortly before his journey to the happy hunting grounds in 1983. In addition to observing the smoke, “Injun George” added a rain dance around the fire in hopes that it would lessen the effects of a bad forecast and increase those of a good one.

In 2012, “Injun Robert” revived the tradition, even adding a “rain turtle” in 2014, although he abandoned it for 2015 since it didn’t seem to help. As with “Injun George” before him, his predictions have been mostly but not completely accurate. Here’s his record so far with the annual number of bales ginned at the Central Rolling Plains Co-op used as his measure of success. (Since the gin’s opening in 2007, the average number of bales ginned each year is almost 60k with the high being 109,991 in 2007 and the low 9,966 in 2011.)

            Year         Wind            Prediction      Bales Ginned
            2012     Northwest        Average           66,985
            2013     Southwest        Poor                 71,849
            2014     Southwest        Poor                 32,274
            2015     Northwest        Average           75,636
            2016     Southwest        Poor                      ?

The only year’s forecast that doesn’t really correspond with the results was 2013, when the 71,849 bales ginned was definitely not a “poor” crop—but that’s not a bad thing! You never know, the same could happen again this year. At least let’s hope so!



The dump site by the railroad tracks at Bois d'Arc and Front Streets.
Roscoe’s annual Spring Clean-Up is underway and runs through this Saturday, March 26. This year it is being held at Bois d’Arc and Front Streets, just south of the railroad tracks. Hours of operation are 9:00am to 7:00pm.

There are three large dumpsters at the location, two for all debris and one for tires. Items which may not be placed in containers are as follows: paint, oil, oil filters, chemical containers, and tree limbs.  Air conditioners and refrigerators must be tagged land-fill acceptable.  There is no curb service, and since the Spring Clean-Up is for Roscoe residents only, anyone dropping off anything must be prepared to show a City of Roscoe water bill.

For more information, contact City Hall during business hours at 325-766-3871.



The City of Roscoe will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt in Old Town Park across from City Hall on Cypress Street Saturday afternoon, March 26, starting at 2:00pm. Hunts will be divided by age groups: Newborns to 3, 4 to 7, and 8 to 12.

Don’t forget to bring Easter Baskets and cameras.



Max Nemir was runner-up in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 40.9, and Bonnie Wilkinson was second in the 200 meter dash for the Plowgirls with a time of 27.61 at the Pied Piper Relays in Hamlin on Saturday. Several Plowboys and Plowgirls were absent because of Spring Break.

Here are the complete results for the Plowboys and Plowgirls:


Event                           Place         Athlete                 Time/Distance
300 meter hurdles        2          Max Nemir                    40.9
Pole vault                        3          Jayden Gonzales          10’6”
200 meter dash             4          Francisco Garza            24.1
400 meter relay             4          Plowboys                        45.8
  (Juan Huidobro, Max Nemir, Francisco Garcia, Diego Garza)
Long Jump                     6           Max Nemir                     19’2”
100 meter dash              6          Diego Garza                    11.76


200 meter dash             2          Bonnie Wilkinson          27.61
800 meter run               4          Alejandra Solis             2:41.44
Triple Jump                    4          Lyndi Wilkinson             31’9”

Next up are the Cottonwood Relays in Roby tomorrow afternoon.



The RCHS robotics team is back from the Alamo Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. Unfortunately, they encountered some mechanical problems with their robot and wound up placing 23rd out of the 66 teams that finished the competition.



Micky and the Motorcars
Micky and the Motorcars, a hot alternative Texas country band from Austin, will return for an encore performance to the Lumberyard Friday night.  The band has released five mainstream albums: Careless (2007), Naïve (2008), Live at Billy Bob’s Texas (2009), Raise My Glass (2011), and Hearts from Above (2014).  Top singles include “Carolina Morning,” “July, You Are a Woman,” “Careless,” and “Hearts from Above.” Opening for them is the Aaron Einhouse Band, who will begin at 8:00pm. Micky and the Motorcars will take the stage at around 9:30.

The Midnight River Choir
Then on Saturday night, the featured band is the Midnight River Choir, a Texas Country jam band from New Braunfels.  Their latest album, Fresh Air, contains many of their top singles. These include “Circles,” “Church of the Midnight Moon,” and “Run Away from Me.” Other notable songs include “My Friend” and “Tie Dye Sky.”

Opening for them are Zac Wilkerson and the Wayward Souls, a Texas Soul band originally from Amarillo. They will begin at 8:00pm and the Midnight River Choir at about 9:45.

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



My Texas Red Oak is full of new leaves.
It’s official. Spring has come to West Texas—although it didn’t feel like it when it arrived with that sharp north wind cutting right through you early Sunday morning! But that cold spell is history now, and all the telltale signs confirm it. Trees around town are budding out or already have, the buzzards are back, the wind has been blowing hard for days with no letup in sight, and, yes, even the old mesquites are beginning to put on buds.

Although we’ve had springlike weather for some time now, it all came to a screeching halt last weekend as a cold front moved in on Friday with strong winds from the north-northeast, making the weather considerably less than ideal. It stayed that way until early Monday morning when “Injun Robert” performed the “Sunrise Wind” ceremony and confirmed that the wind was indeed out of the southwest.

High for the past week was yesterday afternoon’s 81°F, and the lows were on Saturday and Sunday mornings when the temperature dropped to 32° in many places and 34° in others. It wasn’t a hard freeze, though, as it didn’t last long and the blooms are still on the peach and apricot trees around town.

Although the temperatures varied considerably from day to day and the winds came from several directions, there were a couple of constants: one was that there was no precipitation, and the other was the strong breezes, no matter where they came from. And the forecast for this week is for more of the same, i.e., no precipitation and strong winds from all directions. Wind advisories and fire weather warnings have been and will continue to be in effect throughout the Big Country. Temperatures will also vary as a couple of light northers move through.

Today’s forecast high of around 80° will be accompanied by 25-35 mph winds, and when the wind shifts to the northwest tonight, the temperature will drop about ten degrees, but the wind will continue to blow with the same force. At least the weekend should be warm with a forecast high of 79° for Good Friday and 83° for Saturday. Sunday will be cooler though with a high of only 63°.

Skies should be clear or almost clear throughout the week, and no precipitation is in the forecast. Happy Easter on Sunday, everyone!



Funeral services for Annell Campbell, 80, will be at 2:00pm on Friday, March 25, at Roscoe First Baptist Church with Reverend David Draper officiating. Interment will follow at Roscoe Cemetery. A resident of Roscoe, she passed away on Saturday, March 19, in Arlington.

Ms. Campbell was born in Roscoe on June 6, 1935. She married Robert Gordon Campbell on April 20, 1957, in San Antonio. Annell was a member of the Roscoe First Baptist Church and a homemaker. She had lived in the metroplex for thirty-five years before moving back to Roscoe in 1994.

Survivors include her daughters, Brenda O'Brien and husband, David, of Arlington, and Lisa Campbell of Roscoe; son, Greg Campbell of Irving; grandchildren, Colin O'Brien, Caitlyn O'Brien, and Casey O'Brien of Arlington; and sister, Willa Munroe of Irving.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Gordon Campbell, on April 19, 2011; parents, Clifton and Grace Hodges; sister, Alma Jean Sealy, and her infant brother.

Visitation will be 6 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, at McCoy Funeral Home.


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