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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 CafĂ© 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


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