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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Here’s hoping you’re enjoying this special holiday with family and friends.  I’m also hoping you were a good boy or girl this year and Santa didn’t bring you switches or lumps of coal.  If you got a new BB or pellet gun, as I did, please let me remind you to be careful.  Those things can put your eye out! 

Whenever I think about Christmases in Roscoe back when I was a kid, I remember several things, some of which have changed over the years.  There are many aspects of Christmas that could be talked about (visiting relatives, church, Christmas Dinner, etc.), but I’ll confine this discussion to just the Christmas tree itself and the gifts under it. 

In my entire childhood, we never bought a Christmas tree.  Instead, four or five days before Christmas, my daddy would ask my brothers and me if we were ready to go out and get one.  We’d jump in the car and head out to the ranch country south of town, where we drove around looking for a suitable cedar tree that had a pleasing shape and was the right size for our living room.  When we spotted one that we thought was perfect, we’d get out and Daddy would saw it down with his handsaw. 

Then, we’d bring it back home where Daddy would get a couple of one by four pieces of wood about a foot long and nail them in an X shape to the bottom of the tree.  By this time my mother would have gotten out all the Christmas decorations from a box in one of the closets.  She’d put a cloth skirt around the bottom of the tree, and that evening after supper, we’d begin the decorations.  We kids would cut out strips of colored paper and glue them together in a ring shape and make paper chains that we hung around the tree.  We also made strings of popcorn by getting needle and thread and stringing them together one after the other. We also decorated the tree with long strings of chinaberry seeds.  The seeds were star-shaped if you looked at them from the top and had holes through their centers, which made them perfect for stringing. My mother would dye them different colors by cooking them in a pot with food coloring.  We also had other homemade tree decorations--Indian eyes of God, snowflakes, and so on.  There were also some store-bought lights and ornaments that were used from one year to the next, along with the thin aluminum strips that were supposed to be icicles. 

Then gifts were put under the tree, which we kids would pick up and shake in an attempt to determine what they were.  We tried to do this when our mother was busy with something else, because if she caught us doing it, she’d make us quit and run us out of the living room. 

On Christmas Eve, right after supper, we’d go in and open all the gifts we’d received from one another and from relatives.  But the best gift of all was always the one that Santa brought, and we didn’t find out what that one was until Christmas morning.  We kids would try to sleep lightly that night in hopes of seeing Santa, but somehow we never managed to stay awake long enough to do it.  We knew he’d been there, though, because the snack we’d left him would be eaten, and the hung stockings were full of nuts, fruit, and peppermint candy canes.  And of course there would be that grand gift under the tree.  It might be a BB gun or a bicycle or an electric football game.  But whatever it was, it usually took up all our attention for the rest of the day. 

In short, some of the traditions of family Christmases are just as they’ve always been while others have changed, sometimes drastically.  But for a kid it’s still one of the most—if not the most—special time of the year, and that is unlikely ever to change.



Shelton Toliver (10) made All-District as a wide receiver.
There are four Plowboys on this year’s 7-1A, Division II, All-District first team: quarterback Cutter Davila, wide receiver Shelton Toliver, defensive end Sebastian Benivamondez, and utility player Jesus Leanos.

Max Nemir was named as one of the district’s two defensive newcomers of the year.

Rafael Aguayo and Jesus Leanos made the second team on both offense and defense.  Aguayo made it as a receiver and inside linebacker, Leanos as a receiver and cornerback.  Zack Longoria made honorable mention as a defensive tackle.



A good crowd was on hand Saturday at the Ag Barn to witness the 2013 Roscoe FFA Stock Show.  Both elementary and high school students showed off their animals to the judges and many came away winners. 

The final results are as follows:

        Grand Champion – Jaci Alexander
        Reserve Champion – Jaden Alexander

        Grand Champion – Kristen Johns (Charolais)
        Reserve Champion – Kamren Fisher (Cross)
        Junior Showmanship Award – Kristen Johns

        Fine Wool Champion – Ty Fullwood (Heavy Weight)
        Fine Wool Reserve Champion – Dillon Freeman (Light Weight)

        Fine Wool Cross Champion – Kristen Johns
        Fine Wool Cross Reserve – Kristen Johns

        Black Champion – Ty Fullwood
        Black Reserve Champion – Kristen Johns

        Grand Champion – Ty Fullwood
        Reserve Champion – Kristen Johns

        Junior Showmanship Award – Kristen Johns
        Senior Showmanship Award – Dillon Freeman

         Light Weight – Emma Lee Pulattie
         Medium Weight – Christian Diaz
         Heavy Weight – Chasity Diaz

         Grand Champion – Christian Diaz
         Reserve Champion – Emma Lee Pulattie

         Duroc Champion – Dillon Freeman
         Duroc Reserve – John Ruben Herrera

         Hampshire Champion – Kaylee Palacios
         Hampshire Reserve  – Max Nemir

         White OPB Champion – Justin Herrera
         White OPB Reserve – Tagen Adkins

         Black OPB Champion – Tucker Adkins
         Black OPB Reserve – Hunter Anglin

         Cross Champion – Justin Herrera
         Cross Reserve – Hunter Anglin

         Swine Grand Champion - Justin Herrera
         Swine Reserve Champion - Kaylee Palacios
         Junior Showmanship Award - Hunter Anglin
         Senior Showmanship Award - Dillon Freeman



The Plowboys and Plowgirls will both resume their basketball seasons by playing in the Eula tournament this weekend.  

The Plowboys’ first opponent will be Graford at Clyde High School at 10:30am on Friday.  If they win, they will play the winner of the Stamford-Comanche game at 4:30pm on Friday at the Clyde Auxiliary Gym.  If they lose, they will play the loser of the Stamford-Comanche game at 3:00pm in the Clyde Auxiliary Gym.  If they win their second game, they will play in the Eula Middle School Gym on Saturday.

The Plowgirls’ first game is at 10:30am on Friday with Hamlin in the Eula Middle School Gym.  If they win, they’ll play the winner of the Stamford-Cisco game at 4:30pm on Friday in the Eula High School Gym.  If they lose, they’ll play the loser of the Stamford-Cisco game at 3:00pm on Friday in the Eula High School Gym.  If they win either of those games, they’ll play again on Saturday.



There will be no white Christmas this year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

It rained on Friday night, a little more west of town than in Roscoe itself.  Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried recorded a total of .55” at his weather station on the east side of town.  It was enough to leave puddles in the streets all over town.

Other than that rain, though, the rest of the week has been pretty normal for this time of year.  Skies were sunny or partly cloudy, and highs were in the fifties except for Sunday, when it got up only to 42°F.  Lows were in the upper twenties or the thirties. 

The forecast is for more of the same through the weekend.  The high temperature today should be only around 48°, but temperatures will be slightly warmer through the weekend with highs in the upper fifties and lows in the low to mid thirties.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Plowboy Shelton Toliver is All-State Second-Team Selection

Shelton Toliver (10) makes one of his 17 catches against De Leon.
Wide receiver Shelton Toliver, who had 78 receptions for 987 yards and 17 touchdowns for the year, has been selected to the Associated Press Sports Editors Class 1A All-State second team.  Toliver’s catches and open field runs for TDs were a familiar sight for Plowboy fans this year. 

The only other player from Roscoe’s district to make first or second team was Javier Rocha, a tackle from Albany, who also made second team.  On the honorable mention list were six players from Albany and one from Hamlin.



The annual Roscoe FFA Stock Show will be bigger and better than ever this year with a large number of animals in competition for honors and awards.  The show will begin at 10:00am, this Saturday, December 21, at the RCHS FFA ag barn west of town, just off the I-20 West service road. 

First to be judged will be the steers and heifers, followed by sheep and goats.  Then, after a lunch break in which the Roscoe FFA will be serving meals for $5 or $6 dollars, the show will resume with judging of the various breeds of swine.  This year’s judge is Phillip Allen from Gordon.

For more information, contact RCHS ag instructor and FFA director, J. J. Caswell, at 325-766-3327 during school hours.



The annual Roscoe Christmas Parade will be this Saturday, December 21, starting at 2:00pm.  It will begin on east Broadway and end at the Community Center.  Line-up is at 1:30pm at the 300 block of East Broadway.

Entries are encouraged, and no prior notification is necessary.  Just show up at the line-up and join in.

Santa Claus will be on hand at the Community Center, and there will be free cookies and drinks.  For more information, call Felix Pantoja at 325-514-8384.



The Sweetwater varsity girls came to Roscoe on Friday for a game not originally scheduled and managed to come away with the win by overtaking the Plowgirls with a strong fourth quarter surge to win 43-33. 

The Lady Mustangs took the early lead and were ahead 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.  However, by halftime the Plowgirls led by four, 21-17.  They maintained their lead through the third quarter, and at the end of three, the score was Roscoe 31, Sweetwater 28.  However, the Lady Mustangs pulled away in the fourth, winning by ten, 43-33.

High scorer for Roscoe was Eva Aguayo with 15.  Sunshine Saddler had 6 points and Selena Perez 4, while Whitney Williams, Mia Herrera, Sam Ortega, and Shelby Brown all had 2.

The Plowgirls are now off for the holidays and will resume with the Eula Tournament on December 27-28.


The Plowboys lost two games in the Blackland Divide Invitational Tournament this past weekend before getting their first victory of the year over Rotan, 46-34.  They then fell to Haskell last night, 44-38.

The Plowboys came close on Thursday in the opening game of the Blackland Divide Invitational Tournament, but were unable to come away with the victory and fell to Anson, 43-42.

The Plowboys jumped out to a 12-9 lead in the first quarter and were ahead at the half 26-21.  But Anson pulled to within two, 37-35 by the end of the third quarter, and finally overtook Roscoe in the fourth to win 43-42.

High scorer for the Plowboys was Jesus Leanos with 15 points, followed by Javier Leanos with 9.  Anthony Ortega had 7 points, Cutter Davila 4, Chase Cathey 3, Kevin Lavalais 3, and Shelton Toliver 1.

Their next game against Hawley was also a loss, 52-45.  In that game Jesus Leanos had 14 points, Javier Leanos had 13, Lavalais 11, Davila 3, and Luis Villa, Ortega, and Cathey all had 1.

Then on Saturday they beat Rotan 46-34 for their first win.  In that game, Jesus Leanos had 24, Javier Leanos 10, Lavalais 4, Davila 4, and Ortega 2.

Then last night the Plowboys fell to Haskell 44-38.  Jesus Leanos had 20, Javier had 8, Villa 6, and Lavalais 4.

The Plowboys are now 1-7 on the year.  They will next play in the Eula Tournament on December 27-28.



Ray Price at the Lumberyard in October 2012.
Local folks were saddened to learn of the death this week of country music legend Ray Price. Price, who played at the Lumberyard last year, was the consummate southern gentleman.  After putting on a great show, he hung around afterwards to sign autographs, pose for photos, and talk with everyone who wanted to meet him.



(This originally appeared in the December 22, 2010, posting of the Hard Times.)

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.



Darrell Dewayne Thomason, 63, passed away at his home on Monday, December 16. He was a resident of Roscoe.

His body will be cremated and no services are planned at this time.

Mr. Thomason was born on January 9, 1950, in Brownfield. He is survived by his daughter, Brandi Egger and her husband, James, of Roscoe and his brother, Tommy Thomason, of Rowlett, Texas. Darrell was preceded in death by his wife, Vickie Wells Thomason.

Online condolences may be expressed at


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Storm Hits Hard

Thawing began when the sun came out yesterday.
For the second time in just a little over three weeks, the Roscoe area was once again slammed with a major winter storm that sent temperatures plummeting and forced people to make major changes in their normal activities.  Roads were icy and treacherous, schools were closed, games were called off, and people generally stayed inside as much as possible for most of the past week. I’d be willing to guess that more chili, stew, and cornbread were made during this past week than at any time in the past six months, or maybe even longer. 

The weather was actually the result of two cold fronts that came one right after the other.  The first blew in in the wee hours of last Thursday morning with high winds and rapidly falling temperatures along with freezing drizzle and sleet.  The high that day—34°F—actually came at midnight as temperatures continued to drop throughout the day as the front moved through. Daytime temperatures were in the low twenties with wind chills in the mid to low teens, and the entire Big Country was under a Winter Storm Watch through Saturday. 

Wrecks on I-20 slowed and sometimes completely stopped traffic, particularly in and around Eastland County, and all over west Texas country roads were treacherous with patchy ice.  TxDOT issued one warning after another for people to stay off the roads as much as possible, and the advice was generally heeded.  I-20 had as little traffic on it as I have seen since my return to Roscoe over three years ago. 

On Friday, the high temperature was 23° and the low was 17° with wind chills between 0° and 5°, and Saturday was pretty much the same with a high of 19° and a low of 13°.  On Sunday the sun came out and temperatures rose in the afternoon to 46°.  The relief from the cold was brief, however, as the second cold front hit Sunday night.  This one came with freezing fog, which was unusual in that it came with a brisk breeze along with the low visibility.  The fog froze to wires and tree branches, creating a winter wonderland effect with a thin coat of ice on everything. 

Monday was cold and gloomy dropping down to 17° that night, but yesterday morning the sun finally came out and by yesterday afternoon the temperature once again rose into the mid-forties, and there was a general thawing.  Last night’s low was 32°, and today should get up to the upper thirties, but tomorrow should be back into the mid forties with a 20% chance of rain, and Friday should get up into the sixties and end—for a while at least—the bitter cold we’ve been experiencing lately.

Precipitation for the week varied from less than a tenth up to about .3" depending on the area.



City Manager Cody Thompson addresses the Council.
At its monthly meeting in City Hall last night, the Roscoe City Council tended to some routine matters and received updates on the progress of the water treatment plant, the funds for the upgrade to water and sewer lines, and the proposed dates for the 2014 City Festivals.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported on the latest monthly meeting he held with the contractors of the water treatment plant.  Everything is proceeding as planned but the project is currently about two weeks behind schedule due to the recent inclement weather. 

The Young Farm Estates, currently at work on the sewer line, is in a similar situation regarding the weather delays.  Another four to six weeks is projected for its completion.

The $1,021,110 loan for the water and sewer upgrade will be deposited in the Bank of Texas and when expended checks will be written to the Roscoe State Bank for deposit before checks are written to payees.

The proposed dates for the 2014 City Festivals are these:

                    Spring Fling                             Saturday, April 20
                    Fourth of July                         Friday, July 4
                    West Texas Wind Festival    Saturday, October 18

Police Chief Felix Pantoja requested and received permission from the Council to hold a Christmas Parade down Broadway on Saturday, December 21.  The parade will begin at 2:00pm.

Pantoja also introduced new City Police Officer Steven Spencer to the Council.



Kids check out the multimedia learning aids in the Agrium Mobile.
Roscoe Elementary students are learning about the elements that plants need to grow in a multimedia approach presented by the Agrium Seed Survivor display in front of the Elementary School.  It was there yesterday and will be back again today before moving on to Colorado City on Friday. 

Learning about water, lights, nutrients, and growth works through six interactive stations in the mobile. Students from grades 1-6 learn what plants need to survive and can then plant a seed to take home and grow. 

The display was developed in 2005 in Calgary, Alberta, and is led by Canadian Alex Choiniere, who is aided by retired schoolteachers Deitra and Sherryl McCrory.



Roscoe’s eighth graders have written a book, which has been published and is now available for sale.  Each eighth grader interviewed one or two third graders and wrote a short story about them.  The editors, English teacher Kelly Sexton and teacher’s aide Carol Parsons, then compiled all the short stories into a book entitled RCHS Tales of Derring-Do

It is now available for sale for $7 per copy.  It will soon be available on but can be purchased now by filling out a form available at Roscoe Elementary School.  A form is also available on the Roscoe Homecoming Facebook page.  Proceeds from the sale of the books will be used to create a similar project next year.



Shelby Brown (5) shoots in last night's game against the Hawks.
The Plowgirls, playing in their first game in a week after the Highland Tournament had to be called off because of the weather, easily defeated the Abilene Hawks, a team made up of home-schooled kids, in the RCHS Special Events Center last night. 

The Plowgirls jumped out to 12-4 first quarter lead, which by halftime had increased to 31-7.  At the end of three it was 43-13 and by game’s end 61-20.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Sunshine Saddler with 20, followed by Eva Aguayo with 10.  Shelby Brown had 9, Sam Ortega and Mia Herrera both had 5, and Ashton Payne and Dani Dean both had 3.

Next up for the Plowgirls in the Roscoe Tournament this weekend.  Their first game is at 10:30am on Friday with Hamlin in the Eula Middle School Gym.  If they win, they’ll play the winner of the Stamford-Cisco game at 4:30pm on Friday in the Eula High School Gym.  If they lose, they’ll play the loser of the Stamford-Cisco game at 3:00pm on Friday in the Eula High School Gym.  If they win either of those games, they’ll play again on Saturday.



Jesus Leanos makes 2 of his 16 points against TLCA last night.
After a one-week break because of the cancellation of the Highland Tournament due to inclement weather, the Plowboys were back in action again last night at the RCHS Special Events Center.  Unfortunately, they fell to TLCA (Texas Leadership Charter Academy) of San Angelo 55-41.

The first quarter ended with the score tied 13-13, but by halftime the Eagles had pulled ahead 25-19, and they never trailed again after that.  The score at the end of three was 41-31.

High scorer for the Plowboys was Jesus Leanos with 16 points, followed by Javier Leanos with 12.  Anthony Ortega had 5 points, Kevin Lavalais 4, Dillon Freeman 2, and Chase Cathey and Cutter Davila both had 1.

The Plowboys next game will be in the Roscoe Tournament, which will be this weekend.  Their first opponent will be Graford at Clyde High School at 10:30am on Friday.  If they win, they will play the winner of the Stamford-Comanche game at 4:30pmon Friday, at the Clyde Auxiliary Gym.  If they lose, they will play the loser of the Stamford-Comanche game at 3:00pm in the Clyde Auxiliary Gym.  If they win their second game, they will play in the Eula Middle School Gym on Saturday.



James Troy Rayburn, 65, of Milton, Florida, passed away December 2. He was born November 23, 1948, in Roscoe, to Gene and Camille Rayburn. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his paternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Rayburn and his maternal grandparents Troy and Callie Norris.

Jim was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Roscoe. He graduated from Roscoe High School in 1967 and attended Howard County Junior College before being drafted into the Army in 1969 where he was a Hawk missile specialist stationed in Key West, Florida. He worked as a custom cabinet builder in Florida for over thirty years and loved to hunt and fish.

Jim has been under the care of his former wife, Sandra Rayburn, for the past year and is survived by his sons Troy Rayburn and Chris Rayburn, step-son Josh Smith, and grandchildren Madison Grace Smith and Braelyn Rayburn, all of Milton, Florida.

Jim is also survived by his sister, Beth Weathersby and husband Russell of Tuscola; brother, Gary Rayburn and wife Becky of Midland; niece, Jamie Reich and husband Nathan of Tomball; and nephew, Jacob Rayburn and wife Michelle of Katy.

A private family service is planned at a later date. McCoy Funeral Home of Sweetwater is in charge of arrangements. 



Funeral services were held yesterday for Mary Frances “Pan” McKay, 85, of Henrietta, Texas, who passed away on Wednesday, December 4.

Mrs. McKay was born on January 7, 1928, in Fort Worth to Hanks and Beulah (Walker) Wood. She was the wife of the late John R. McKay of Henrietta, former Superintendent of Roscoe ISD.

Pan graduated from Paschal High School in Fort Worth and attended North Texas State University where she majored in physical education and teaching. Pan also received a Masters in Library Sciences from North Texas State.

Pan was a member of First Baptist Church Henrietta where she was active in many ministries including Missions, Operation Christmas Child, Lottie Moon, Girls in Action (GA) and Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). She was also active in League of Women Voters, Retired Teachers Association, Alzheimer’s Association, AARP, various Librarian Associations and many other activities. She sang in the Midwestern Oratory Chorus and also worked at the Clay County Museum for many years.

Mrs. McKay was preceded in death by her parents and her husband John.

She is survived by two sons; Rick McKay and wife Paula McKay of Falls City, Texas and Joe McKay and wife Cheryl McKay of Cedar Park, Texas; one daughter, Melinda McKay of Groesbeck, Texas; six grandchildren, Alison McKay-Longworth and husband Blake Longworth, Travis McKay, Emily McKay, Mary Abel and husband Andy Phifer, Holly Hungerford-Kresser, Jennifer Hungerford; and three great-grandchildren, Benjamin Phifer and Liam and Landon Kresser. 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

City Hires New Full-Time Police Officer

Officer Steven Spencer
The City of Roscoe now has a new full-time police officer.  He is Steven Spencer, originally from Sulphur Springs, who comes to Roscoe after two and a half years duty for the Quitman Police Department in east Texas.  He was sworn in by City Secretary Donna Parker on Monday and is already on the job.

He was selected from an array of candidates by Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja as the applicant with the best credentials for the position.  Besides his work with the Quitman Police, Spencer has been in law enforcement since 2008 and before that worked for several years as a paramedic and firefighter.

His move to west Texas comes after his wife Lisa, a radiological technician, accepted a position with the Texas Department of Health’s office near Dyess Air Force Base.  The Spencers have four children, ages 16, 13, 10, and 6.  They are not sure yet where they’ll be living as they are still looking for a place to live.    

Roscoe’s part-time police officer, Les Soles, has now retired.  The City’s reserve officer, who can be called upon when needed, is Barry Thomas of Sweetwater. 

Police Chief Pantoja also reports that District Attorney Ann Reed has provided the Roscoe Police Department with $10,000 from drug seizures for a new officer’s in-car computer and a new video system for Pantoja’s patrol car to replace the old one, which was broken and no long usable.



Thanksgiving Dinner at the Community Center. (Photos courtesy of Robert McBride)
The Thanksgiving Dinner at the Community Center last Thursday was a big success.  Besides providing a venue for Thanksgiving Dinner for many people who might otherwise have gone without, the food was good, those attending had a good time, and the donations amounted to $400. 

The money, along with the profits recently made from the Community Center tamale sale, will be used to repair and upgrade the Community Center’s restrooms.



In remembrance of the Day of Infamy on December 7, 1941, the Community Center will show the movie Pearl Harbor, starring Ben Affleck, on Saturday evening, December 7 at 8:30pm.  That movie will be preceded by one for the kids, Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter, which will begin at 6:00pm.

Admission to both is free of charge, but don’t forget to bring some money for the concession stand as drinks, candy, and snacks will be available.



Selena Perez (32) takes a shot against Trent.
If any of the Plowgirls ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving, you’d never know it by the way they played last night as they outhustled a scrappy Trent team to win by a margin of 17 points.  The Plowgirls led all the way, jumping out to a 13-8 first quarter lead and then leading at halftime by nine, 23-14.  They increased their lead to 36-20 at the end of three, and then finished off the Lady Gorillas in the fourth for a 51-34 victory.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Eva Aguayo with 17 points.  Selena Perez and Sunshine Saddler both had 8 points, Samantha Ortega 6, Shelby Brown and Whitney Williams both had 4, and Aston Payne and Mia Herrera both had 2.

The Plowgirls are now 4-2 on the year.  Next up is the Highland Tournament, which runs from Thursday through Saturday.  The Highland girls are ranked number one in the state for Class 1A-II in the TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) poll, so folks can look forward to some good basketball there this weekend.



Kevin Lavalais (12) shoots from the corner.
It wasn’t a pretty game in the RCHS Special Events Center last night.  After jumping out to a 13-8 first-quarter lead over Trent, the Plowboys still seemed to have the game in hand at halftime as they had played well and maintained a 22-20 lead.  

However, the third quarter was a disaster, as the Plowboys managed only 6 points the entire quarter while the Gorillas racked up a total of 25 to go ahead 45-28.  The Plowboys outscored Trent 14-9 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late as the Gorillas went on to win the game handily by a final score of 54-42.

Jesus Leanos was high scorer for the Plowboys with 25 points.  Anthony Ortega made 7 points, Luis Villa 4, and Kevin Lavalais and Javier Leanos both had 3.

The Plowboys will next play in the Highland Tournament, which runs from Thursday to Saturday.



The contrast of this past week's weather with the ice storm and high winds of the week before was typical for west Texas.  Skies were blue and the temperatures balmy in comparison to what we had just been through.  The highs on Saturday and Sunday were in the sixties, on Monday the temperature climbed to 70°F, and yesterday it went all the way to 79° with a low last night of 58°.

Today should be more of the same with another high in the mid to upper seventies.  Unfortunately, that will all change late tonight as another killer cold front arrives.  The entire Big Country is under another Winter Storm Watch starting tomorrow afternoon and continuing through Friday.  The low tonight should be in the mid-thirties as winds shift to the northeast, and there is a 40% chance of rain after midnight.

Tomorrow will bring a 60% chance of freezing rain and sleet, and the northeast winds will blow 15-25mph.  The low tomorrow night should be around 16° with a wind chill of -1° to 5°.  On Friday there is a 20% chance of snow with highs in the upper twenties and a low Friday night of around 16°.  Saturday will be like Friday with similar temperatures and a 20% chance of sleet or frozen rain.

On Sunday the skies should clear with temperatures forecast to rise into the upper thirties with a low Sunday night in the upper twenties.  Monday and Tuesday are currently predicted to be about the same as Sunday—sunny but still quite cold.



Dorothy Helen Whisenant-Broughton, 79 of Converse, LA, passed away on Wednesday, November 27. A native of Roscoe, “Dotty” spent the majority of her life in Sweetwater and Abilene.

The eldest daughter of Sam and Lena Whisenant of Roscoe, she is survived by her sister, Floy Nell Gayle of Colorado City and husband Richard; brother Sonny Whisenant of Jacquin, Texas, and wife Judy and her two daughters, Teresa Broughton Rodgers of Converse and husband Thomas Sr., and Susan Broughton-Radosh of Cypress (Houston) and husband Chris.  Other surviving family members are a niece, Karri McNamara of Arlington and husband Michael, and nephew Alan Waddell of Pittsburg, Texas, and wife Mona.  She had five grandchildren, Gloria Rodgers of Converse, Thomas Rodgers, Jr. of Ft. Worth, Joey Ronemus of Ft. Worth, Sophia Cox (Ronemus) of Arlington, and Stephanie Rodgers of Downey, CA, and five great-grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service in West Texas are pending.



Elvira Garza Caballero, 86, died on Sunday, November 24, at Nolan Nursing and Rehab in Sweetwater.  Holy Mass of Christian Burial was at 2:00pm on Friday, November 29, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with interment following at Roscoe Cemetery.

Ms. Caballero was born in Goliad on March 28, 1927. In 1946, she married Francisco “Frank” Caballero in Sinton. She was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

Survivors include sons Raymond Caballero of Hutto, and Manuel Caballero, Martin Jimenez, Frank Caballero, and Eddie Garza, all of Sweetwater; daughters Vera White of Lubbock, Patsy Palos of Garland, and Lupita Caballero, Suzie Garza, and Adella Soto all of Sweetwater, and  Frances Villegas of Roscoe; 25 Grandchildren; 15 Great-Grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Caballero on May 13, 2009, her parents, and her son, John Caballero.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is upon us once again, and people all over the country will be getting together with family and friends to celebrate this uniquely American holiday.  No matter what our race, religion, or political persuasion, we all use the day to pause, count our blessings, and give thanks for the many good things we enjoy. 

As always, the central event of the day is Thanksgiving Dinner, which involves turkey and dressing, along with the other familiar Thanksgiving dishes--giblet gravy, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and others. 

The holiday has also evolved over time and usually now includes playing games or watching television with friends and family.  For many, the holiday will begin with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV at 8:00am.  Later, for the men and boys at any rate, what’s Thanksgiving without a good helping of football along with the Thanksgiving feast?  The Detroit Lions, who, like the Cowboys, always play on the holiday, will kick off things at 11:30 with an important divisional game with the Green Bay Packers.  Then at 3:30 Dallas faces the Oakland Raiders, a team they rarely play. 

The Cowboys game always used to be followed by the Longhorns and the Aggies, but since A&M joined the Southeastern Conference, that 118-year old traditional matchup is gone.  Instead, this year it will be the Longhorns against the Red Raiders at 6:30 in a game that should draw plenty of local interest. 

At the end of the day, we will all hopefully have had our fill of food and football and be happy to have once again touched base with dear friends and relatives. 

Since that first Thanksgiving feast shared by the Pilgrims and Indians in New England, the holiday has been observed in many ways, but if you were a boy growing up in Roscoe in the 1950’s or 1960’s, you may well have been involved in a yearly Thanksgiving ritual that was celebrated in a way like no other I ever heard of. 

(Editor’s note: I ran this upcoming account three years ago, before this blog had that many viewers, so if you’ve already read it, just skip down to the next article.  If you haven’t, though, please read on.  I run it again because it recently came to my attention that there are some Roscoe folks who didn’t know about the tradition and were having trouble believing it ever really occurred.  I hope the following narrative will convince you otherwise.)

The Roscoe Boys Club had an annual Thanksgiving Feast, usually held on a little creek on a ranch not far from Maryneal.  Each boy who participated, and there were usually about twenty or twenty-five who did, was instructed to bring a dish from home—potato salad, pie, cobbler, cake, cranberry salad, macaroni and cheese, green beans, potato chips, sweet potatoes—anything except the turkey and dressing, which was furnished by the Boys Club and prepared by the local Steak House.  Boys Club director George Parks would make up a huge steel vat of lemonade made with fresh-squeezed lemons and pour in Welch’s grape juice from quart bottles. The squeezed lemon rinds would be thrown into the vat for flavor, and the top of the lemonade was covered by crushed ice and floating lemon rinds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving!



Icicles hanging from the roof of my house.
Mark Twain once said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.” But here in west Texas, there is often not a whole lot to talk about.  Typically, it’s clear, sunny, and breezy, and, when people do talk about it, it’s generally to complain about the lack of rain.

But this past week was different.  We have just come through one of the worst November cold spells in years, with enough frigid temperatures, freezing rain, sleet, and ice to last the entire winter.  The highways and country roads were treacherous with black and patchy ice, and, according to Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja, there were too many wrecks to count.  The bridge just outside Loraine was especially treacherous with several accidents and one fatality.

It all started on Friday when a massive cold front blew in with high north winds that sent temperatures down to 25°F and the wind chill down into the mid teens.  Then, it stayed that way until Monday, never getting above freezing and bringing most outside activities to a screeching halt.  During that time, there were constant weather advisories for the area, and you couldn’t watch anything on the local TV channels without there being a little grid of all the surrounding counties in one of the top corners of the screen. 

Saturday night was probably the worst.  Car windshields were covered with ice, and the north wind was blowing a constant 25mph with gusts up to 35.  On Saturday evening, I parked my car next to the museum, and, when I got out, I heard a loud crackling, popping sound overhead.  I couldn’t imagine what it was until I looked up and saw it was the flag, frozen and icy, flapping in the strong wind.

Sunday wasn’t much better than Saturday.  The cold remained but at least the winds died down.  There was some freezing drizzle and sleet that night.  Monday was better with the high making it to 34°, and then yesterday the sun finally came out again and the afternoon temperature climbed to a balmy 46°.  Outside, birds were once again everywhere and dogs were barking, something they’d done very infrequently, if at all, during the preceding days.

Although it was only 28° (Lyndall Underwood had 27°) this morning. the sun is out, and temperatures should once again get into the upper forties with only a light south breeze.  Tomorrow and Friday should see highs in the fifties and lows in the thirties, and by Saturday the afternoon temperatures will be back into the sixties.

The storm has moved east, and the mayhem it brought to west Texas these past few days are now being predicted for the Southeast—meaning that the people there will be dealing with cancelled flights and treacherous driving conditions on Thanksgiving weekend.  At least we can be thankful we won’t be dealing with that. 

Kenny Landfried, Roscoe’s official weatherman, reports that we officially got .83” of moisture here in town during the cold spell.  He also says that on his farm four miles northwest of town, he got 1.23”.



Irrigated cotton just east of Roscoe.
The cotton harvest is just about half done now. At the Roscoe Central Rolling Plains Co-op Gin, gin manager Larry Black reports that some 23,000 bales have already been ginned with about a hundred modules in the field, which when ginned will bring the total to around 35,000 bales. 

That figure suggests that this year’s yield will be roughly similar to last year’s 67,000 bales but maybe a little better. Black thinks that by season’s end we’ll have more than last year with a final tally of somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 bales.  So far, the quality of the cotton has been better than expected. 

Ginning continued until Sunday when the bad weather forced it to a halt.  The hauling of modules will begin again on Saturday, and by Monday the gin will once again be running 24 hours a day.



Clemente Aguayo and Murissa Horton at the National Air and Space Museum. (All 4-H photos courtesy of Linda Hatcher.)
Roscoe eighth graders Murissa Horton and Clemente Aguayo and teachers Linda Hatcher and Katie Heaps are back from the 4-H Tech Wizard training sessions they attended at the National 4-H Conference Center in Washington, DC, this past weekend.

The group was delayed for a day because of a cancelled flight due to the bad weather, so they took advantage of their extra time by seeing some of the sights there including the Capitol building, the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the WWII Memorial, and the National Mall with its museums and sights. 

They are back in Roscoe now enjoying the time off from school for the Thanksgiving holidays.  They look forward to training the other 4-H student members how to help seniors with technology.



Mia Herrera (30) takes a shot against Hawley last night.
Last week, the Plowgirls got to play two games in the Irion County Tournament before it was cancelled due to the bad weather.  They lost to Rankin and won against Irion County.

Rankin beat them 40-24.  The first quarter ended with the Plowgirls behind 6-4, and by halftime Rankin led by ten 22-12.  At the end of three they increased the lead to fourteen, 30-16, and then won by sixteen, 40-24.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Mia Herrera with 8 points.  Eva Aguayo had 5, Sam Ortega 4, Whitney Williams 3, and both Sunshine Saddler and Shelby Brown had 2. 

The Plowgirls then beat Irion County.  They jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the first quarter, and at halftime led 22-15.  By the end of the third, the score was 30-24, and the final score was 35-31.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Ortega with 9 points, followed by Aguayo with 8, Saddler 6, Brown 5, Williams 3, and Dani Dean 2.

Then, last night in the RCHS Special Events Center, the Plowgirls were victorious over the Lady Bearcats from Hawley. The Plowgirls jumped out to an early 14-3 first quarter lead and at the half were still ahead by four 18-14.  They increased their lead to 30-18 by the end of the third quarter, and won the game with an 18 point cushion, 45-23.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Aguayo with 15, while Saddler had 7, Ortega 6, Brown and Payne 4, Williams 3, and Selena Perez 2.

The Plowgirls are now 3-2 on the year.  They will play Trent next Tuesday, December 3, and then in the Highland tournament on Thursday, December 7.



Anthony Ortega (30) goes for a layup against the Bearcats.
If the Plowboys had played as well in the first half as they did in the second, things might have turned out differently, but as it was, they fell to the Hawley Bearcats by a margin of ten, 45-35.

Hawley got off to a fast start and led by the end of the first quarter 16-7.  They then extended their lead by halftime to 33-12, and at that point it appeared they would blow the Plowboys out.  But in the second half, Roscoe played much better, especially on defense.  By the end of the third quarter, they had cut the lead to 15, 37-22, and in the fourth quarter continued to outplay Hawley, cutting the lead to just ten by the end of the game.  They could have cut it even further except for a scoring drought right towards the end. 

Kevin Lavalais was the leading scorer for the Plowboys with 11 points, followed by Javier Leanos and Rafael Aguayo, who both had 8.  Jesus Leanos and Chase Cathey both had 3, and Cutter Davila had 2.

The Plowboys are now 0-2 on the year, having lost to Colorado City in their first game 51-29.  Their next game is next Tuesday at home against Trent, followed by the Highland tournament starting next Thursday.



Funeral services were held this morning at 10:00am in the Wright Colonial Funeral Home chapel in Snyder for Lonnie Henry, 75, of Snyder, formerly of Roscoe, who passed away on Sunday in Snyder. 

He was born on June 13, 1938, in Jacksonville, Texas. He owned and operated Lonnie's Barber Shop in Roscoe until his retirement in 1978. He then drove a bus for Snyder ISD and McKinney ISD for ten years. 

Survivors include three daughters and two sons-in-law: JoAnn and Robby Cearly, Von Dale Henry, and Terri Sue Henry and Steve Hand, all of Snyder; One son and daughter-in-law: Tom E. and Shawna Henry of North Carolina; One brother and sister-in-law: Tommie and Nell Henry of Hermleigh; eight grandchildren: Sarah Cearly, Bear Hand, Bubba Hand, and Julie Hand, all of Snyder, T.J. Jones of Austin, Troy Joe Henry of Lubbock, and Brandon and Austin Henry, both of North Carolina; One great-grandson: Cameron Joe of Snyder; One niece: Mande Reaves and family of Lubbock; and one nephew: Jimmie Joe Henry of San Angelo.

Online condolences may be expressed by visiting


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Remembering November 22, 1963

The motorcade in Dallas in 1963.  (Photo from Internet.)
There are certain public events in life that occur with such impact that anyone who lives through them always remembers where they were and what they were doing when they happened.  Examples that spring to mind are the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Coming of the New Millennium on January 1, 2000, and the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9-11, 2001.

One of the most momentous was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and this Friday will mark its fiftieth anniversary--a fact we are all sure to be reminded of if we watch the news or read the paper that day.  But anyone old enough to remember that time will also remember how it shook the country to the core when it happened.

It was a day that started out with so much promise.  If I’m not wrong, it was the first time any President had ever visited the state of Texas, and Kennedy got a grand welcome in Fort Worth before heading over to Dallas for a downtown motorcade, and we all know what happened there.

Where were you when you learned that the President had just been assassinated?

I was a sophomore at Texas Tech and was in the Broadway Drug just across the street from the Tech campus.  Three friends and I were in the back playing pinball for quarters.  The pinball machine was next to the pharmacy counter, and the pharmacist had his radio on listening to music, which was interrupted with the news that the President had just been shot and taken to Parkland Hospital.

My roommate, Rick, who was from Mississippi and despised Kennedy, smiled and exclaimed, “So, they finally got the s. o. b.!” whereupon my friend Tom said to him, “If you say another word, I’ll beat your brains out!”  I also remember seeing Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on national TV a couple of days later and also watching the military funeral given the President through the streets of Washington.

It’s a time I’ll never forget, and, if you’re old enough to remember it, I’m willing to bet that the memory is impressed just as indelibly in your mind as it is in mine.



Aston Payne makes a layup in 3rd quarter action against Winters.
In a game that saw several lead changes, the Plowgirls came through with a strong finish Friday evening to defeat Winters 31-27.  The Lady Blizzards led 8-7 at the end of the first quarter, 18-14 at the half, and 20-19 at the end of three.  But the Plowgirls went ahead to stay early in the fourth quarter and came away with their second win of the season.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Eva Aguayo with 10 points.  Aston Payne had 8, Shelby Brown 7, Sunshine Saddler 3, Whitney Williams 2, and Selena Perez 1.

In the early game, the Stamford JV beat the Plowgirls JV 51-17.

Then last night in Colorado City, the Plowgirls lost to the Lady Wolves 41-22.  The score was 13-5 at the end of one, and by halftime it was 27-6.

Aguayo was again the high scorer for the Plowgirls with 10 points.  Saddler had 4, Mia Herrera 3, Payne 2, Brown 2, and Danielle Dean 1.

The Plowgirls JV lost the first game to the Colorado City JV 41-29.  High scorer for the Plowgirls was Magali Casas with 14 points.



US 84 traffic is rerouted to I-20 West as workers repair bridge.
For the past week, the US 84 overpass east of town has been closed as repairs were necessary after the recent truck wreck there, and traffic has once again been detoured with much of it coming through Roscoe as a short cut to I-20 East. 

According to TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) spokesperson Darah Waldrip, that should all cease next Tuesday, November 26, as that is the scheduled date for the completion of bridge repairs. 

TxDOT will also open bids soon for the installation of lighting on I-20 West at the curve just before the underpass in the same location.  Hopefully, the lights will cut down on the number of wrecks there.



The 4-H Conference Center in Washington, DC.
Two local 4-H Club members, Clemente Aguayo and Murissa Horton, both eighth graders, have been chosen to participate in a 4-H Tech Wizard technology training workshop at the 4-H Conference Center in Washington, DC this weekend.

The trip is funded by AARP (American Association of Retired People) and will be repaid with student community service.  Students will mentor senior citizens in the use of such modern technology as computers, cell phones, and the new high-tech televisions.

Aguayo and Horton were selected to represent the Roscoe 4-H Club from the quality of the essays and presentations they made as members of the Roscoe 4-H Club’s Tech Wizard program.  The director of the Roscoe 4-H Club is Roxanna Reyna.



If you want to enjoy a good Thanksgiving dinner but not the hassle of fixing it, or if you’re away from family this year with nowhere to go, the solution to your problem is at the Roscoe Community Center, which is hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

There is no charge for the dinner, but donations will be accepted, and all are invited.  For more information, contact Helen Perry at 325-766-3149.



The weather this past week has been relatively unremarkable for this time of year.  The weekend was beautiful with highs of 81°F on Saturday and 80° on Sunday.  It was a bit breezy but not that bad.  Monday and yesterday were sunny but cooler with highs of 64° and 72°, respectively, and today should be similar.

There is a 20% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow, increasing to 40% tomorrow night and Friday as a cold front blows through.  Friday will be much cooler with highs in the upper thirties and lows in the upper twenties.  

We could see some sleet or freezing rain Friday night and Saturday.  Sunday and Monday will also be cold with a 30% chance of precipitation.


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