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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy New Year and a Look Back at 2012

Here’s hoping you all had a Merry Christmas yesterday!  I know I did.  But now that Christmas is over and we look forward to the New Year next Tuesday, perhaps it’s time to take one last look at 2012 and remember what a year it’s been for the city of Roscoe.

The three successful city festivals come immediately to mind.  The Spring Fling in April drew a large number of area folks to listen to the free concert, watch the fireworks show, and sample the chili entries featured in the Screw Terlingua Chili Cookoff, which raised over $600 for the Open Door Day Care Center.  The Independence Day celebration included a morning parade and a Plowboy Mudbog that attracted an audience of over a thousand as well as the area’s top mudbog vehicles.  Music was provided to a large audience by country legends Curtis Potter and Justin Trevino, and the free concert and street dance was followed by fireworks.  The West Texas Wind Festival in October was also one of the region’s major events with a morning 5k "Run with the Wind," the Fire Department's annual Barbecue Cookoff, a show-pig sale, and Gene Watson headlining the free concert that evening, followed by the ever popular fireworks show.  These three annual events, all successful and well attended, contributed to Roscoe’s growing reputation in the Big Country as a city on the move.

Roscoe is also becoming known as a mecca for country music.  In addition to the music groups featured at the city festivals, the Lumberyard drew huge crowds this year to see such nationally known country music stars as Ray Price, Mel Tillis, the Bellamy Brothers, Johnny Rodriguez, Asleep at the Wheel, and others. 

The city got three new restaurants this year, but only one of them remains.  In February, the Vaquero Grill opened on South Main only to close a month or so later, and in March, Smackers Café reopened for the first time in years.  Unfortunately, it also had to close down only a couple of weeks later when fire swept through the building.  Then, in August, the Blackland Smokehouse opened on Broadway downtown and is still going strong. 

The Roscoe Schools had another memorable year.  The multi-year construction and renovation project was finally completed, and the school now has a new parking lot and safer access at the east entrance, a newly paved Seventh Street, and a Special Events Center with a new gymnasium, three new classrooms and an indoor and outdoor concession stand.  In addition, Plowboy Field is now covered with Astroturf, and the track also has a new surface.  

The school also continued to excel academically.  For the second year in a row, over half of the high school graduates also received Associate’s Degrees from Western Texas College, and in September Roscoe was one of only 23 school districts in the entire state—and the only class A one—to be invited by the Texas Education Agency to join its new High Performance Schools Consortium.   Last spring the robotics team, the Plowbots, won two awards at the tri-state Alamo Regional Meet in San Antonio, and this fall was one of the three teams chosen to represent the Big Country at the Regional Robotics Meet in Dallas.

The school also saw an increase in enrollment this year with a net gain of over eighty students for all twelve grades, most of them transfers from other area schools.

The downtown area saw a number of improvements this year.  Old Town Park, across the street from City Hall, got a brick wall on three sides with nice lighting for the south wall, a “plaza” in the center with a huge Texas star, three semi-circular walkways, and a gazebo.  The firehouse got a makeover with a new awning and a show window for its vintage ’38 Ford fire engine along with a huge flag painted on its inner west wall, and the Community Center got a new brick front. 

Memorial Park, across from the Museum, got three new markers.  The Texas Historical Commission issued one dedicated to the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway, and a group of Bankhead Highway enthusiasts supplied another to commemorate the old highway that once ran through downtown Roscoe.  Originally known as Texas Highway 1, it later became the Bankhead Highway and still later US Highway 80.  The third marker is a memorial to George Parks, supplied through donations from a number of former members of the Roscoe Boys Club and the old Boy Scout Troop 37.  

The Roscoe Wind Farm, still one of the world’s largest, was once again in the national media, being featured in a PBS Earth Day TV special called “Powering the Planet,” as well as in a Weather Channel series entitled “Turbine Cowboys.”  It was also highlighted in “Switch,” a full-length award-winning environmental film. 

The local weather in 2012 was not a year of extremes like 2011, when both heat and rainfall records were set.  According to the official records kept by Roscoe’s weatherman, Kenny Landfried, the total rainfall this year was 17.51”.  That’s 4.39” below Roscoe’s 77-year average of 21.9” per year, but certainly a total that falls within the normal range for the area, unlike last year’s all-time low of 7.69”. 

Compared to 2011’s record 81 days in which the temperature rose to 100°F or more, this year’s 34 days seemed downright reasonable.  The hottest temperature of the year was 107°F on August 12, and the coldest was the 19°F recorded this morning.  The last freeze of last winter was on March 9, and the first one this fall was on October 27.  

There were also no records broken with this year’s cotton crop, but the yield has nevertheless been greater than estimates made back in September and even November.  By Friday, Roscoe’s Central Rolling Plains Coop Gin had ginned 48,383 bales with another 18,000 tagged and on the way.  Gin manager Larry Black now estimates that the total will be over 66,000 bales for the year.   

One of the most intriguing prospects for the area is the possibility that an oil boom may be in the offing.  The prices paid to local landowners for three-year oil leases this year climbed to $500-$600 per acre along with 20-23% royalties on producing wells.  This is a big jump compared to the $25-$50 per acre being offered just a couple of years ago and suggests that fracking and the new horizontal wells doing so well elsewhere may also be big producers here.  Already a couple have been successfully drilled in the near vicinity, leading to speculation that many more may soon be on the way. 

All in all, things are moving in the right direction for Roscoe, and with continued hard work, a little bit of luck—and rain—the coming year may well continue that trend.  In any case, Happy New Year, and here’s wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2013!


† Harold Althof

Services will be held at 11:00am tomorrow, December 27, at the First Baptist Church in Roscoe for Harold Althof, 70, who passed away on Saturday, December 22, in San Antonio. Interment will follow at the Roscoe Cemetery.

Harold Carl Althof was born on October 19, 1942, in Sweetwater. He married Rita Flowers on June 1, 1962, in Ralls and later married Patricia Nations on November 22, 2008, in San Antonio. He lived in Roscoe most of his life before moving to Ingram, Texas, in 2005 and San Antonio in 2008. He graduated from Roscoe High School in 1960 and attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. He was a farmer and rancher, a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Roscoe, a  member of the Roscoe Lions Club for 25 years and the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department for many years. He served on the chain crew for Roscoe Plowboy football games and was very active with the Nolan County Livestock Association. He recently was a member of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.

He is survived by his wife, Pat Althof of San Antonio; sons Greg Althof and wife Crystal of Crane; Jeff Althof and wife Jessica of Abilene; mother, Lydia Althof of San Marcos; grandchildren, Kasi, Tyler, Jake, and Layla Althof; sisters Leona Julian and husband Terry of San Marcos and Carolyn Young and husband Richard of Abilene; stepdaughter Rene Hopper of San Antonio; as well as several nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Rita, on February 26, 2008, and his father, Richard E. Althof, on April 1, 1994.


† Don Graham

Funeral services for Don L. Graham, 55, will be held at 2:00pm tomorrow, December 27, at the First United Methodist Church in Sweetwater, followed by interment in the Loraine Cemetery with full graveside honors by the Texas Department of Public Safety Honor Guard.   He passed away on December 22 at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. 

He was born on December 23, 1956, in Sweetwater and married Sandra Kay Hale on August 15, 1981, in Panhandle, Texas. A member of the First United Methodist Church in Sweetwater and a 1975 graduate of Loraine High School, he lived in Nolan and Mitchell County practically all of his life. He also attended Texas Tech for three years.  He worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety for 28 years before retiring in December 2006.  He also served on the Roscoe City Council for a decade and received an Award of Appreciation from the City last year. 

Survivors include his wife, Sandra Graham of Roscoe; and son, Cody Graham of West Texas A&M in Canyon; parents, Doris and Donald Graham of Loraine; father-in-law, Shirley Hale of Pampa; uncle, Bobby Graham and wife Wanza of Loraine; aunts, Shirley Graham of Loraine,  Evelyn Landra of San Antonio, and Laveda Brooks of Burleson; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Visitation will be held from 6:00pm to 8:00pm today at McCoy Funeral Home in Sweetwater.

Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 309 Cedar St., Sweetwater, TX 79556 or the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.


† Nolan Martin

Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm today at Coker Funeral Home in Jacksboro for Nolan Martin, 61, who passed away on Thursday, December 20, at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.  Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Jacksboro.

Nolan was born on September 29, 1951, in Fort Worth, to Houston and Oleta Belle Camspey Martin.  For the past two years he lived in Roscoe and worked as manager of the Lumberyard.  

He is survived by his spouse, Susan Compton Martin of Haltom City; sister, Derenda Paradise and husband Joe of Seneca, South Carolina; brother, Tony Martin and wife Barbara of North Richland Hills, Texas; half-brother Ronnie Martin of Quitman, Texas; and his friends for life, Cody Thompson and John Floyd.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

George Parks Memorial Now in Memorial Park

The George Parks Memorial has finally arrived and been placed in Memorial Park across from the Museum. Thanks to the generosity of all those who donated to make the idea a reality, we now have a permanent marker to serve as a tribute to George and all he did for the community and its boys for almost all his adult life.

A formal dedication is planned for Spring Fling in mid-April, and those of us living here in Roscoe hope that enough former Boy Scouts, Boys Club members, and other well-wishers will attend to make the affair a reunion of sorts. 

More details will be provided as that date approaches, but for now we invite one and all to check out the memorial marker honoring George in Memorial Park.



Vincent Pantoja on a 66-yard TD run against Ranger in October.
Freshman linebacker Vincent Pantoja was named Defensive Newcomer of the Year, and several other Plowboys were named to the All-District 7-AII football teams announced last weekend.

Shelton Toliver, a junior receiver, was one of the 23 players named to the district’s first-team offense, while lineman Landon Jones and cornerback Brant Burnett, both seniors, were among the 25 players named to the first-team defense.  Chris Deleon, a senior, was one of seven utility players also named to the district’s first team.

Plowboys landing spots on the second-team offense were senior running back Eduardo Gallegos, and junior receivers Jesus Leanos and Esteban Benivamondez.  Named to the second-team defense were senior lineman Joe Luis Aguayo, senior end Jose Rangel, junior cornerback Jesus Leanos, and freshman safety Kevin Lavalais.

Honorable mention on offense went to sophomore quarterback Cutter Davila, junior receiver Zack Longoria, senior linemen Alex Rhoades and Brenon Moore, and sophomore lineman Chase Cathey.   

Making honorable mention on defense were junior safety Luke Rovig, junior lineman Rafael Pantoja, and sophomore linemen Dominic Pantoja and Anthony Ortegon. 

District 7-AII’s MVP was senior quarterback Jake Bumguardner of Albany, and Coach of the Year honors went to Albany’s Denney Faith.  Albany made it to the regional championship game before losing to Munday this past weekend.  Offensive Newcomer of the Year was sophomore Sterling Dowden of Roby.


The District 7-AII Football Academic All-District results were also announced.  Plowboys on this year’s Academic All-District team are seniors Brant Burnett and Jose Rangel; juniors Kane Peavy, Shelton Toliver, and Luke Rovig; and sophomore Chase Cathey.



The Plowgirls easily defeated the TLCA (Texas Leadership Charter Academy of San Angelo, formerly the Tree of Life Christian Academy) Lady Eagles last night 55-21 in a basketball game played in Roscoe Collegiate’s Special Events Center.  The game was never close as the Plowgirls jumped out to a 20-0 first quarter lead and then coasted to victory. 

Faith Boren led the Plowgirls in scoring with 22 points, and Mirian Solis had 9.

The Plowgirls played also three games last weekend in the Highland Tournament and came in third.  On Thursday they blew out Blackwell 60-18.  They were ahead 28-5 at the end of the first quarter and cruised to a victory from there.  High scorers for the Plowgirls were Eva Aguayo with 11 points, and Shelby Brown, Faith Boren, and Carolina Perez, all with 10.

Unfortunately, the Plowgirls lost the second game to Garden City 25-20.  They were ahead at the half 17-7 and the end of the third quarter 20-18, but Garden City held them scoreless in the fourth quarter in a come-from-behind victory.  High scorers for the Plowgirls were Carolina Perez with 5 points and Faith Boren and Stina Tomlin, both with 4.

Then in their third game, the Plowgirls easily defeated Eldorado 40-19.  Eva Aguayo led the Plowgirls with 11 points, while Faith Boren and Carolina Perez both had 8.

Meanwhile, the JV Plowgirls played in a tournament at Bronte and came in second, beating Bronte JV 29-14 in the first game and losing to Miles 33-26 in the second.  Samantha Ortega had 12 and Olivia Rovig 9 against Bronte, and Ortega had 9 and Dani Dean 6 against Miles.

The varsity Plowgirls’ next game is at home Friday evening at 6:30 against Forsan.  The JV Plowgirls’ game starts at 4:00pm and the JV Plowboys’ game at 5:15.



Javier Leanos takes a jump shot against TLCA.
The Plowboys played four basketball games this past week, winning two and losing two.  In their first game in the Highland tournament last weekend, they downed Blackwell 47-40.  They jumped out to a 19-11 lead in the first quarter and led the rest of the way, although the Hornets closed the gap to 37-34 by the end of the third quarter.  The halftime score was 26-20 Roscoe.

High scorers for the Plowboys were Jesus Leanos with 17 points and Dillon Freeman with 12. 

In the second game, they were on the wrong end of a blowout against Garden City, losing 70-31.  The halftime score was 34-18.   High scorers for the Plowboys were Jesus Leanos with 9 and Luke Rovig with 8.

Then, in the third game the Plowboys defeated Highland 32-30.  The Hornets were ahead 15-12 at the half, but the Plowboys overtook them in the third quarter, which ended 26-25, and hung on in the fourth for the victory.  Jesus Leanos led the Plowboys in scoring with 13 points, while Dillon Freeman had 7 and Cutter Davila 6.

Last night, they lost to TLCA 54-24 in a game that was as lopsided as the girls’ game before it—only with the tables turned.  The halftime score was 34-11.  High scorers for the Plowboys were Dillon Freeman with 8 and Cutter Davila with 7.

The Plowboys next game is with Forsan Friday night in the Special Events Center.  Tip-off is at 8:00pm.



Roscoe got a dusting of snow early Monday morning.
Last weekend was nice with a 77°F high on Friday and 71° on Saturday, but that all changed on Sunday night.  A cold front blew in around midnight, and the Roscoe area got its first taste of winter.  Early Monday temperatures dropped into the mid-twenties, and with wind gusts from the north as high as 38mph, the wind chill was down in the teens.

At dawn on Monday morning there was a dusting of snow on the ground and a temperature of 23°.  The sky was sunny, but the mercury never rose above 40° that afternoon.  Yesterday was slightly warmer but not much with a low of 27° and a high of 50°. 

Today should be better with a high of 60°, but the forecast through the weekend is for Roscoe to live up to its title of Wind Capital of the World.  Highs will be in the sixties and lows in the forties to mid-thirties, with15-25 mph winds from the south and gusts going above that. 

There is no precipitation in the forecast.



Raymond Mitchell Zetzman, 88, died on Sunday, December 9, at Rolling Plains Hospital in Sweetwater. Services will be held today at 2:00pm at First Salem Lutheran Church, followed by US Navy Military Graveside rites.

He was born to John M. and Frieda Goebel Zetzman on August 18, 1924, in Roscoe, where he lived all his life, and married Jean N. Schoppa on May 16, 1945.  He was a Navy Veteran of World War II and was retired from Lone Star Industries, where he was a process controlman, and from farming.  A life member of the First Salem Lutheran Church, he was also a member of the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, Roscoe Lions Club, and the Sweetwater Elks Lodge. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Milton Zetzman, and his sister, Irene Loyd.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Zetzman, of Roscoe; three daughters: Carrie Blaschke and Russell of Abilene; Jerrie Gee and Larry of Sweetwater; and Sherry McGlothlin and Eddy of Loraine; eight grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

KTAB-TV Airs Spot Promoting Roscoe and the Lumberyard

Scene at the Lumberyard from the KTAB-TV video.
 KTAB-TV, Abilene’s CBS channel, has created a short (2 min. 36 sec.) spot on the emergence of Roscoe’s Lumberyard as one of the Big Country’s popular music venues. 

Produced by KTAB’s Matt Torres, it was filmed Friday evening and began playing on KTAB this week.  It is also available online at the Big Country Homepage.  You can access it by clicking here.  (Unfortunately, for some reason, the clip appears darker online than on television.)

The Lumberyard was also recently featured on Tumbleweed Smith’s syndicated radio program, The Sound of Texas, when Tumbleweed Smith interviewed Lumberyard owner Cody Thompson.



The City of Roscoe will once again sponsor a Christmas parade in downtown Roscoe.  This year the line-up for the parade will begin at 5:30pm, and the parade will be at 6:00pm.

Santa Claus will be in the parade and in the Community Center for an hour following the parade.

For more information, contact Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja at 325-514-8384.



The Plowboys had a rough time at the Robert Lee tournament last weekend, dropping all three games they played, the first to Eden 59-32, and both the next ones against Eldorado 48-44 and 60-44. Here are the scores by quarters:
                                 1      2      3      4
    Plowboys        13    19    28    32
    Bulldogs          20    39   53    59

High scorers for the Plowboys were Shelton Toliver with 8 and Cutter Davila with 7.

The first game with Eldorado: 

    Plowboys        13    27    36    44
    Eagles                 6    18    34    48

High scorers for the Plowboys were Jesus Leanos with 22 and Davila with 7.

The second game with Eldorado:

    Plowboys        11    29    34    44
    Eagles               18    31    52    60

High Scorers for the Plowboys were Davila with 14 and Jesus and Javier Leanos, both with 11.

Then last night at Trent, the Plowboys got into the win column by downing the Gorillas 44-39 in a game that was tied at the end of regulation and went into overtime.  Here’s the score by quarters:

                               1      2      3      4    OT
    Plowboys        3    11    23    33    44
    Gorillas            3    15    24    33    39

High scorers for the Plowboys were Rafael Aguayo and Luis Villa, both with 8 points, and Kevin Lavalais with 7. 

Up next for the Plowboys is the Highland tournament starting tomorrow.


The Roscoe Plowgirls got third place in the Robert Lee basketball tournament last weekend by winning two and losing one, and Carolina Perez was named to the All-Tournament Team.   Their loss to eventual champion Colorado City was their second to the Lady Wolves this season.

They won their Thursday game against Eden 43-21.  Here was the score by quarters:

    Plowgirls                   7    16   32    43
    Lady Bulldogs         4      7    15    21

High scorers for the Plowgirls were Carolina Perez with 14 points, Shelby Brown with 12, and Faith Boren with 6.

The Friday game was against Colorado City, and the Plowgirls lost that one 36-28.

    Plowgirls               11    17    22    28
    Lady Wolves          7    24    32    36

High scorers for the Plowgirls were Faith Boren and Carolina Perez, both with 9 points.

The Saturday game was against the Lady Steers—I’m not making that up—of Robert Lee.

    Plowgirls             14    26    42    55
    Lady Steers           5    11    19    24

High scorers for the Plowgirls were Eva Aguayo with 19 and Faith Boren with 11.

Then, last night the Plowgirls lost at Trent 37-34.  High scorers for the Plowgirls were Faith Boren with 11 points and Eva Aguayo with 9.

The Plowgirls will play next at the Highland tournament, which starts tomorrow.



Several Roscoe seventh and eighth graders came away winners at the UIL district meet held at Highland last week.  Besides Roscoe and Highland, other competing schools were Rotan, Hermleigh, Loraine, Ira, and Westbrook.

Seventh grade winners included Cam Boren in Editorial Writing and Parker Payne in Ready Writing.  In Social Studies, Ethan Scott got 1st place and Murissa Horton 2nd, and Roscoe also had the winning team: Ethan Scott, Murissa Horton, and Clemente. 

Brayden Beal won individual honors in eighth grade Social Studies and was also a member of the winning Social Studies team along with Austin Willman and Braiden Moore.

First place in math went to Cam Boren in the seventh grade and Caleb Ward in the eighth grade.  

Caleb Ward also won the Dictionary competition and was on the winning Dictionary team with Jonathan Cuellar and Jayce Phillips.



The marigolds in my flowerbed are still in full bloom.
The past few days have been unseasonably warm. Weekend highs were right at the 80°F mark and lows at 58° and 59°.  On Monday night, a weak cold front came through and lowered temperatures by about ten degrees, but it’s still hard to get into the Christmas spirit when there are tomato and pepper plants in my garden still alive, and afternoons are warm and sunny.   

But I’m not complaining.  It’s better to have this warm weather than freezing temperatures, sharp north winds, sleet, and snow. 

This mild weather is forecast to last through the weekend with highs around seventy and lows in the forties.  On Sunday night, however, a norther is supposed to hit, taking temperatures down into the thirties and on Monday night into the twenties.  That should finally do it for my surviving tomatoes and peppers.

There is a 20% chance of precipitation on Sunday night.  



Graveside services were held on Friday at the Roscoe Cemetery for Doris Lynn Brown Turner, 90, who passed away in a Fredericksburg nursing home last Tuesday, November 27.

Doris Lynn Brown was born on April 11, 1922, in Scranton, Texas, to Maggie Mae Bailey Brown and Ernest R. Brown and grew up in Colorado City.  She married Veltie E. Turner on January 3, 1941, in Colorado City, and they raised four children in Roscoe.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Veltie Turner, in 1988, and son Ronny E. Turner in 2003.  She is survived by daughter Janilyn Turner Thompson and husband, Jim of Petersburg; daughter Sally Turner of San Angelo; son Brene Turner and wife, Leah Ann, of Spring; six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Jo Ella Turner of Fort Collins, Colorado; sister Ona Mae Harris and brother John D. Brown, both of Colorado City.

A special thanks to Cynthia Wilson and her staff for their care and compassion to Doris and her family.

The family requests memorials be made to their favorite charity.  Online condolences may be expressed at


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Roscoe Icon Bernard Shelan Dies in Longview

Bernard Shelan, 96, one of the last of a disappearing generation and for years one of the best known people in Roscoe and west Texas, died in Longview last Wednesday night. 

After making his name as a football player for the Roscoe Plowboys and the ACC Wildcats in the 1930s, he served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, got married, and after the war returned to Roscoe to raise three sons with his wife, Sylvia. 

He took over the family business, Shelansky Dry Goods, and over the years developed it into one of the most prominent western wear stores in the Big Country.  Always one of Roscoe’s most active and civic-minded citizens, he was a long-time volunteer fireman and member of the Lions Club.  He will be remembered for his friendliness, good cheer, and community involvement.

A complete obituary is provided below.  


A memorial wreath on I-20 where Cory Lynn Carlile died.
A driver going the wrong way on I-20 early Friday morning collided head-on with another car three miles west of Roscoe causing one fatality and one injury.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Gustavo Cervantes, 36, of Wichita Falls, was driving a 2002 Dodge Ram eastbound in the westbound passing lane of I-20 when he crashed into a 2006 Toyota SXC at approximately 2:41am.  Cervantes was taken to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene and has since been released.

Cory Lynn Carlile, 41, of Rowlett, who was driving the Toyota the right way, wasn’t so lucky.  A technician for Exterran, a natural gas company in Fort Worth, he was apparently killed instantly and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The body was taken to McCoy Funeral Home in Roscoe.

The crash occurred .4 of a mile east of mile marker 233, just west of the Duncan-Hastings road overpass.  It is currently under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety.


by John Cox

The catapult built by the Physics class.
Roscoe Collegiate High recently completed a Punkin' Chunkin' Contest.  Robotics challenged the Physics class and the Ag Department to a contest with each team having a week to construct a catapult.

Robotics won the event with a long throw of 90 feet for the pumpkin and 120 feet for a basketball.  They used a trebuchet design as seen in the photos.


by Ann Klepper Etheredge

Several members of the Roscoe High School Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th anniversary with a reunion recently in San Antonio.  Friendships were renewed and many memories were shared of "how things used to be and who we were back then."  Age & fading memories did not allow the truth to interfere with good stories. 

The older, but never "former," Plowgirls and Plowboys took a barge ride on the San Antonio River, ate some great food, and took lots of pictures—at least those who knew how to operate their phones or cameras took pictures! 

It was a wonderful weekend with lots of laughter.  At the end of one evening, the group gathered in a circle and surprised others in the restaurant by singing "The Eyes of Roscoe" and loudly cheering, "R-R-R-o-s, C-C-C-o-e, R-O-S-C-O-E, Roscoe!  Roscoe!  Roscoe!" 

Those attending were Ruth Ellen (Richburg) Hill, Diane Smalligan, Betty (Parks) Graham, Kathryn (Kerby) Rister, Retha (Dooley) Antoniello, Pat (Nations) Althof, Joe Darrell Powell, Warren and Georgia Haney, Wade and Judy McLeod, Lewis and Monica Cleckler, Ed and Lynda (Hastings) Stafford, and Cliff and Ann (Klepper) Etheredge.



The sorry state of Lake Trammell.  The stench of the visible dead fish fills the air around what's left of the water.  (Photo courtesy of Robert McBride.)
Beautiful Thanksgiving weather was followed by a cool weekend with highs in the sixties and lows in the forties.  On Sunday the high got up to 77°F, but then a cold front came in, and yesterday morning Roscoe got another freeze.  The temperature dropped down to 30°F and stayed there for about four hours.

Today’s high should be in only the sixties, but the forecast is for warmer weather tomorrow with highs in the mid to upper seventies through the weekend and into early next week.  Lows should be in the fifties.

Despite the day-to-day fluctuations, the long term view is that the area still needs more precipitation.  Last year’s drought has still not been completely overcome, as can be seen by the current state of Lake Trammell, pictured above, which is almost dried up.

Unfortunately, there is no rain in the forecast.



Graveside services were held at 2:00pm on Sunday at Congregation Shearith Israel Cemetery in Dallas for Bernard M. Shelan (né Shelansky), 96, who passed away last Wednesday, November 21, from natural causes.

Bernard M. Shelansky was born on July 17, 1916, in St. Louis to Charles and Rae Shelansky and raised in South Philadelphia. At the age of 13, he moved with his parents and brothers, Harold and Bobby, to Roscoe, where his parents opened Shelansky’s Dry Goods.  He quickly embraced his new life and made many friends by joining the Boy Scouts, taking on a paper route, and playing sports—especially football.  Although he was small in stature, his speed and agility on the football field earned him many accolades, including the nickname Mousie and a football scholarship to Abilene Christian College.  By the time he finished senior year there, he had set a record for kickoff returns that remained intact for the next 20 years.

In 1938, he graduated with a B.S. Degree in Physical Training and moved to Houston to teach courses at the Houston Jewish Community Center. In 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Houston. During this time, he met and dated Sylvia R. Krawitz of Tulsa, OK. They were married in Houston in 1943 and after the war returned to Roscoe to assume ownership of the family store. During the ensuing thirty years, they developed Shelansky’s Dry Goods into the region’s most prominent western wear store and a social hub of the community. 

For 18 years, he was an active member of the volunteer fire department, often leaving his store at a moment’s notice when the siren signaled. He fought ranch fires in 106°F temperatures and winter fires so cold that the water from the fire hose froze on contact. He was a Lion and a lifelong member of the Elks Club, as well as a Shriner, where he was a 32nd degree Mason, and served as president of the Shriners in 1966.

He and Sylvia raised their three sons, Ronald, Charles, and Evan, to believe in the importance of honesty, hard work, humor, and education.  He encouraged all three boys to participate in sports and taught them the significance of teamwork and perseverance. He was admired by friends and family for his strength of character and will.

In 1979, he and Sylvia sold Shelansky’s Dry Goods and retired to Abilene, where they remained until 1993, when they relocated to Longview to be closer to their youngest son, Evan, and his family. They were longtime members of Temple Mizpah in Abilene and Temple Emanu-El in Longview.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Rae, and two brothers, Harold and Bobby. He is survived by Sylvia Shelan, his wife of 69 years; his sons and daughters-in-law, Ronald and Lillian Shelan of Santa Rosa, CA, Charles and Norma Shelan of Olympia, WA, and Evan and Debbie Shelan of Longview; granddaughters Naomi Shelan and Rick Dell’Ara of San Francisco, CA, Lillian and Casey Berman of San Francisco, CA, Aliza Shelan of San Francisco, CA, Ashleah Shelan of Los Angeles, CA, Heather and Tim Cole of Melbourne, Australia, Erin and Wade Skinner of Flint, TX, and Stephanie and Doni Katz of Berkeley, CA; and his four great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Shriner’s Hospital, Temple Emanu-El,  Longview, TX 75605.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

If you’re reading this, then you’ve made it to Thanksgiving for another year, and, if nothing else, you can be grateful for that.  But of course there is always more than that to be thankful for, and tomorrow most of us will once again be getting together with family somewhere to give those thanks, celebrate, and enjoy the day. 

Most of us will also be eating those once-a-year dishes reserved for the day: roast turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, topped off with mincemeat or pumpkin pie.  With the possible exception of the sweet potatoes, does anyone actually ever eat any of these dishes any time during the rest of the year?  I know I don’t.

All you football fans will be happy to know that, once again, the day will be a football extravaganza on TV.  Yes, one of the teams, as always, will be the Detroit Lions, but they won’t be playing the Cowboys this year.  Instead, they’ll face off against the high-flying Houston Texans at noon on CBS. 

Then, at 3:30 the Cowboys get their turn on Fox, this year against RGIII and the Washington Redskins, and with the way the Cowboys have been playing this year, there is no telling how that one will turn out.

Unfortunately, there is no Longhorn-Aggie game this year for the first time in decades.  Instead, Texas will be playing TCU at 6:30 on ESPN, in a game that strikes me as something of an anticlimax.  Aggie fans have already had their Thanksgiving game.  It came weekend before last against Alabama. 

In any case, Happy Thanksgiving, and here’s wishing you all a safe and wonderful holiday break!



If you want to enjoy a good Thanksgiving dinner without the hassle of fixing it, or if you’re away from family this year and have nowhere to go, the solution to your problem is at the Roscoe Community Center, which is hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner from 11:00am-3:00pm with turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings.

The price is $6 a plate, including drinks and dessert, and all are invited.

Donations and help are also welcome. For more information, contact Helen Perry at 325-766-3149.



Juan San Agustin and the Mitchell County cornerstone.

Recently, while on a family outing to Lake Trammell, Juan San Agustin noticed a limestone rock his family members were walking over.  Curious because of its square shape, he dug it out of the dirt, turned it over, and was surprised to find that on the side that had been down there were letters etched into it, the most prominent being the numerals 1884.

He also noticed that badly rusted barbed wire had apparently been used to tie the stone to something.  He was unable to make out what the words said but knew he had something historical and was afraid to knock off the rust and caked dirt for fear of damaging the letters.  He took the stone home and later brought it to me since he knows I am the curator of the Roscoe Historical Museum. 

The stone is 12” x 11” x 5” and weighs 45 pounds.  After carefully brushing off some of the rust and dirt from the letters, I was able to make out what they spell:

                                                  MITCHEL. CO.
                                                          1 8 8 4
                                                   HARRY HALL

Speculating that what San Agustin might have found was the cornerstone of the original Mitchell County Courthouse, I did some research online and found information that said the original courthouse was built in Colorado City in 1883 of native rock.  It was torn down shortly afterwards because the original surveyor made a mistake and built it in the right-of-way of Oak Street instead of facing Oak Street, as intended.  The second courthouse was demolished to make way for the current one, built in 1924.  

Although the lettering on the stone is neat and carefully done, it is not professional work such as you'd see on a tombstone, so another possibility is that the rocklayer, who may have been the Harry Hall whose name is on the stone, carved the letters himself before laying the stone in the courthouse wall. 

In any case, after the original courthouses were torn down, it appears that someone picked up the stone, tied barbed wire around it and threw it into Lake Trammell, perhaps for use as an anchor for a trot line. Then it lay there forgotten for many years until San Agustin saw it and picked it up. 

The cornerstone has been donated to the Heart of West Texas Museum in Colorado City and will soon be on display there.  Patty Pharis, the curator of the museum, was surprised and glad to get the relic of an earlier time.



The Plowgirls suffered their first defeat of the season last night as Colorado City pulled out a come-from-behind victory to win a close game 27-23.  Previous to that, the Plowgirls were riding a four-game winning streak after beating Winters in Winters last Friday evening.

Against Colorado City, the score was tied 5-5 at the end of the first quarter, and at halftime the Plowgirls led 13-12.  They then led by two at the end of the third quarter 19-17, but in the final frame, they were overtaken by the Lady Wolves and lost by four points. 

Even so, Colorado City as a 2A school is larger than Roscoe, so the defeat, while disappointing, is something the Plowgirls can take in stride and learn from.

The Plowgirls were led in scoring by Stina Tomlin with 5 points, while four girls—Faith Boren, Kendall Moses, Carolina Perez, and Torrey Willman—had 4 each.  

Last Friday, the Plowgirls won their fourth game in a row with a victory over the Lady Blizzards, 37-27. 
At the end of a closely played first quarter, the score was 8-7 in favor of the Plowgirls, who extended their lead in the second quarter to be up at halftime 18-9.  By the end of the third quarter, the Plowgirls were ahead 27-17 and went on to win the game by ten 37-27.

Leading scorer for the Plowgirls was Carolina Perez with 10 points, followed by Faith Boren with 8 and Mirian Solis with 6.

The Plowgirls are now 4-1 and will play their next game next Tuesday, November 27, against the Lady Bearcats in Hawley.



The Plowboys were originally scheduled to play their first basketball game of the season last night against Colorado City, but the game was called off because the Wolves won their bi-district football game over Crane 20-0 last weekend and so are still involved in the football playoffs.  

The Plowboys’ first game will now be Hawley next Tuesday in Hawley. 

With this year’s re-alignment of the districts, both the Plowboys and Plowgirls will have new district foes.  As members of Class 1A-II Region 2, District 13, they are now in the same basketball district as Hermleigh, Highland, Ira, Loraine, and Westbrook, and will play each of those teams twice, once at home and once away.  



If the meteorologists are correct, then tomorrow will be pretty much a repeat of today with mostly sunny skies and a high in the mid to upper seventies.  Friday and the weekend should also be nice but a little cooler with highs in only the sixties.  Still, the weather should be clear, so people out driving this weekend should be fine, at least as regards the weather.  

There is a 20% chance of precipitation tonight.

The forecast weather is pretty much a repeat of what we’ve just had all this past week—sunny skies and the mild temperatures typical for this time of year.   There have been no more freezes, so plants not killed by the freeze of the week before are still alive and kicking—and if the forecast is correct, they may still be growing this time next week.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cotton Crop Larger Than Initially Expected

Cotton modules at the Co-op Gin west of town.
A couple of months ago, most estimates for this year’s number of bales to be ginned by Roscoe’s Central Rolling Plains Co-op Gin were in the 32,000-45,000 range—not a bad year and certainly a great improvement over last year’s drought crop of less than 10,000, but still somewhat below average. 

But as cotton has continued to come in since then, estimates have steadily risen, and now Gin Manager Larry Black is guessing the Co-op will gin somewhere between 50,000 and 55,000 bales, and possibly even more than that.  As of Monday, the gin had already produced almost 15,000 bales with 2100 modules waiting, and there is still plenty of cotton in the fields to be stripped.  

Yields vary depending on area, of course, but averages are generally running somewhere between half a bale and a bale to the acre for dryland cotton. 

If reached, this revised estimate will make this year’s crop comparable to the 57,184 bales produced in 2008—about midway between the record 109,991 bales of 2007 and last year’s disastrous 9,966.


“Injun Robert” and the “Sunrise Wind” Ceremony

So, how well does this year’s total correspond to the prediction made last spring by “Injun Robert” McBride?  

You may recall that on March 22 he performed the old Plains Indians’ “sunrise wind” ceremony, which supposedly foretells the outlook for the year’s crops, the same ceremony that used to be performed each year on March 22 by palefaces “Injun George” Parks of Roscoe and “Injun John” McCrim of Muleshoe.

The wind at dawn on March 22 was out of the southwest, which foretells an inferior crop.  However, performing the ceremony on March 22 without regard to leap years, as this year is, doesn’t correspond to the Indian practice of always doing it on the first day after the beginning of spring. 

As discussed in the March 28 issue of the Hard Times, the Indians obviously did not have calendars or leap years and instead had their own methods of determining the exact arrival of spring.  Since the day after the arrival of spring this year fell on March 21, that is the day the Indians would have used for their ceremony.

And at dawn on March 21, the wind was out of the northwest, foretelling an average crop according to Indian lore—and that is just what we are getting, confirming at least for this year the accuracy of the “sunrise wind” ceremony.



Sterling Dowden goes over from the one for Roby's first touchdown.
In games between closely matched teams, the winner is often the side that gets the breaks—and such was the case Friday night, when Roby got at least three to emerge victorious over the Plowboys 14-7.  In the final analysis, two deflected passes and a fumble sealed the fate of the Plowboys.

A big part of the first quarter was taken up by a long opening drive in which the Lions moved the ball methodically down the field but were finally stopped on downs deep in Plowboy territory.  The Plowboys took over but couldn’t score, and the first quarter ended 0-0.

The Lions got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Sterling Dowden completed a Roby drive by going over from one yard out.  The extra point was good, and the score was 7-0.  The Plowboys responded with a drive of their own.  Vincent Pantoja scored from the five, and Rafael Pantoja’s extra-point kick was good, tying the score at 7-7. 

The Plowboys had another long drive right before the half that was stopped by a fumble on the Roby 9-yard line.

In the third quarter Roby moved the ball down the field, but the Plowboy defense stiffened, and on fourth down and seven from the 22, the Roby quarterback threw a pass that was batted into the air by a Plowboy defender, and the Lions caught their biggest break of the night as the ball fell right into the arms of a Roby receiver, who caught it and ran to the two-yard line before being tackled.  The next play Sterling Dowden went over for the touchdown, and Roby took the lead 14-7. 

In the final quarter, Roby got another break when a Lion runner fumbled the ball that just happened to bounce right into another Roby player’s arms.  Their third break came as the Plowboys were driving down the field, and with only two minutes left, a Plowboy pass was deflected and once again landed in a Roby player’s arms for an interception.  That killed the drive and the last chance for the Plowboys to tie or win the game. 

For the evening, Cutter Davila had 14 completions on 27 attempts for 146 yards with one interception, while Eduardo Gallegos led the Plowboy rushers with 30 yards on four carries.  Jesus Leanos and Shelton Toliver led the receivers with 4 receptions for 59 yards and 6 receptions for 33 yards respectively.

The Plowboys end the season with a 2-8 overall record and 2-5 in district play.



The Plowbots' Web Design Team that won second place; back row,  l to r: Eduardo Gallegos, Mike Rosas, Alejandro Ortega, and Rene Diaz.  Front row: Braiden Moore and Amber Craig.
The Roscoe Collegiate Plowbots were one of three teams representing the Big Country Hub in the Regional B.E.S.T. Robotics Competition in Dallas this past weekend.  Sweetwater High competed in the Robot Competition, and Roscoe and ATEMS (the Abilene Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math & Science) competed in the All-Around B.E.S.T. Competition, which included events in marketing, web design, exhibit, spirit, and engineering notebook, in addition to the robot event.

The Plowbots improved their performance in all areas, but the highlight of the weekend came when the team’s web design members took second place—even though it was their first year to compete in web design and they were going against teams from Arizona and New Mexico as well as Texas. 

This year’s team has over 40 members from grades 6-12, led by co-presidents Faith Boren and Brant Burnett, who are both four-year members.  In addition to the Web Design team, pictured above, the team’s groups include the following members: 

Spirit Team—Jovana Pena, Micheala Horton, Joshua Stegge, Ty Fullwood, Shelby Spencer, Adrian Lomas, Kenley Reed, Andrew DeLeon, Ethan Morris, Mason Hernandez, Jayden Gonzales, Liv Madden, Veronica Cuellar, Bonnie Anglin, Caleb Boren, Adrienne Laurens, Austin Willman, and Megan Kirkland;

Build and Drive Team—Jose Chivera, Francisco Garcia, Parker Payne, Zack Rangel, Paul Pantoja, Corey Carriker, Braxton Parrott, Camden Boren, and Ethan Scott;

Exhibit Team—Mitchell Madden, Amber Craig, Braiden Moore, Kyle Bromley, Landon Jones, and Tait Fullwood;

Presentation Team—Faith Boren, Brant Burnett, Brenon Moore, Eduardo Gallegos, Tito Arce, Mirian Solis, and Samantha Ortega.

The Plowbots extend a special thanks to their sponsors:  Ludlum Measurements, TSTC, Vickie’s Gifts, Feed Store & More, and Hagerman NAPA.  Their support is essential to the success of the program.



Stina Tomlin shoots a free throw against Robert Lee.
The Roscoe Plowgirls remained undefeated in basketball by winning against Coahoma 28-26 in Coahoma on Saturday afternoon and Robert Lee at home last night 30-19. 

The game against 2A Coahoma was a tough one with the lead going back and forth before the Plowgirls prevailed.  The Plowgirls were up at the end of the first quarter 11-7 and down at the half 14-11.  They retook the lead in the third quarter, and finally eked out the victory by two points 28-26.  High scorers for the Plowgirls were Faith Boren with 6 and Mirian Solis with 5.

Then, last night the Plowgirls had an easier time against the Lady Steers of Robert Lee.  Still, the game was close in the first half.  The Plowgirls led 6-5 at the end of the first quarter and 13-11 at the half.  But they pulled away in the third quarter, going up by a score of 21-13, and went on to win by a margin of 11, 30-19.  Carolina Perez led the Roscoe scoring with 11 points; Eva Aguayo had 5; and both Faith Boren and Stina Tomlin had 4.

The Plowgirls’ next game is on Friday evening against the Lady Blizzards in Winters.  Game time is 6:15pm.



The area got its first full-fledged freeze early Monday morning when the temperature dropped to 32°F and stayed there for about four hours before rising again.  The first time we had 32° weather a couple of weeks ago, my garden wasn’t affected at all, but this time was different.  The freeze killed my tomatoes, okra, peppers, and eggplants, leaving only my herbs still green and growing.

Last weekend was warm, sunny, and windy with highs around 80° and lows in the 55°-60° range, but that all changed on Sunday when a cold front blew in from the northwest, dropping highs down into the fifties and lows into the thirties.  Yesterday's morning temperatures were predicted to fall into the twenties, but that never happened as the low was 35°.

The forecast is for steady warming over the next few days with sunny skies, highs in the sixties, lows in the forties, and 5-10 mph winds from the south. There is no rain in the forecast.



Bobby Neil Haney, 78, of Imperial, California, passed away on Thursday, November 8, of a cerebral hemorrhage.  Memorial services were held on Monday, November 12, at First United Methodist Church in Brawley. Burial with military honors will be tomorrow morning at 10:00 at Riverview Cemetery in Imperial.

Bobby was born in Roscoe, Texas, on December 9, 1933, to Dew V. and Iva Clayton Haney.  He graduated from Roscoe High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts from North Texas State University and a Master of Arts from Pepperdine University.

He was a teacher in Sweetwater and in Heber and Brawley, California, where he was also the principal at Ben Hulse Elementary for 18 years.  He proudly served in the United States Army and was stationed in South Korea during the Korean War.

He enjoyed playing golf, attending theatrical and musical events, and visiting with family and friends. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church. He also was a member of the California Retired Teachers Association.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his son, Perry Neil Haney; and his sister, Gina V. McGill.  He is survived by his wife, Sue, of 55 years; daughters, Malin Williams, Cynthia (David) Gunther, and Marilyn (Vance) McAlister; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Brawley First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1363, Brawley, CA 92227, or Imperial High School music scholarships.



Memorial services were held at 11:00am on October 15 in Aurora Chase Chapel, Aurora, Colorado, for Benny Dalton Hunter, 68, who died on October 8.

He was born on April 18, 1944, in Cisco to J. B. and Ida Lee Hunter.  He had two sisters, Linda Kay and Candace Diane, and one brother, Larry J.   He grew up in Roscoe, where he played baseball for the Boys Club and football and basketball for the Plowboys.  He graduated from Roscoe High in 1962 and went on to Tarleton State, where he was on the rodeo team as a bareback and bull rider. 

On June 7, 1963, he married Judy Reed, and together they had three children, Kevin Dalton, Kelly Renee, and Kyle Jeffrey.  He also had five grandchildren.  He had a successful sales career, primarily in the dental and medical fields, for over forty years.  He loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping, fishing, and “hunting” with his camera.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in his name to the National Alzheimer’s Association, c/o Ben Hunter, 455 Sherman Street, Suite 500, Denver, CO 80203.


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