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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peppy's Now Open on Main Street

Peppy's at 210 Main Street.
Peppy’s, a new business on the corner of Main and Third Street, just across from Vickie’s Gifts, is now open and selling Mexican imports, Southwestern pottery, and other items.

Owned and run by Eddie and Minnie Castro, it is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm or so. 

Some of the merchandise is outside and some inside.  Items for sale include chairs, pottery, ironwork, wall hangings, patio and garden d├ęcor, aluminum lampposts, bird feeders, birdbaths, and other odd and assorted products.

Their phone number is 325-766-3356.



The Plowboy Center at 1000 W. Broadway.
The Plowboy Center, across from the Community Center on 1000 Broadway and owned by Tom and Max (Maxine) Watt, is making some new additions. 

There is now a small office along with an Ulrich Log Cabin, a portable home that they are using as a display for those who might be looking for something like it or something similar with a different size or options.  They will be selling such homes as well as other buildings produced by the same company such as offices, hunting lodges, storage and commercial buildings. 

The cabin is also available to rent for overnight use or small get-togethers.  Max says it is furnished with everything but a suitcase.  She also says to remember that it’s a “Bed and Breakfast” where you make your own bed and breakfast.

Behind the cabin, construction has begun on three “Rent-a-Rooms,” separate site-built rooms with either two queen beds or one queen bed with a sitting area, a kitchenette and eating area, a loft for storage, a bath with closets, and a covered patio for outdoor use.  These should be completed and ready to rent by late April or early May.

Plowboy Center also offers 14 10’x20’ storage units—Lock and Leave Storage—and includes a three-bedroom home that serves as a part-time residence for the owners.

For more information, contact Max Watt at 575-799-0812, or e-mail



The fire at dawn showed a wind from the southwest.
Using an ancient Indian method of foretelling the prospects for the coming year’s crop, “Injun Robert” McBride has lit the fire and done the dance, and the result is not pretty.  This year’s southwest wind at dawn on the day after the beginning of spring has forecast a below-average crop.

Those who were reading the Roscoe Hard Times this time last year will recall a couple of articles about “Injun George” Parks, who every year on March 22 used to go out into the country and light a fire shortly before dawn.  Then, as the sun came up, he would throw something on the fire to create a lot of smoke, and the direction of the wind at that moment would foretell the prospects for the coming year’s crops.

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

If the wind that carried the smoke upward was from the east or northeast, crops would be plentiful. A north or northwest wind foretold average yields, a west wind was bad, a southwest wind worse, and a south wind the worst of all. 

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

Last year, “Injun Robert” McBride revived the practice in Roscoe, and the prediction turned out to be an accurate one.  On dawn of the day after the onset of spring, the wind was from the northwest, forecasting an average crop—and that’s just what we got. 

Let’s hope that “Injun Robert’s” rain dance around the fire will improve the prospects for something better than the inferior crop forecast by this year’s southwest wind.  



Monday, March 25, 2013

Dear Parents and Community Members:

Roscoe Collegiate ISD is excited to be a member of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (The Consortium).  After an application process, the Texas Commissioner of Education announced in September 2012 that our district would join 22 other districts from across the state of Texas to develop high priority learning standards, meaningful assessments and a community-based accountability system that is not over-reliant on high-stakes testing.

The Consortium is charged with making a number of recommendations to the governor, legislature and commissioner of education that will be designed to make the schools stronger so that our students are prepared to succeed in post-secondary education settings and the workforce.

We are committed to providing you with all of the information, resources, and updates necessary to keep you apprised of the work of the Consortium.  On the link provided,, you will find a Consortium Overview, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), reports related to the Consortium, Consortium Members’ School Districts, and legislation associated with the Consortium.  As more information becomes available, we will share it by means of this webpage.

Thank you for your support in our district’s effort to create student-centered, future-ready schools.  I look forward to the innovative work of the Consortium and this first step in our continued partnership with the legislature to provide a better, brighter future for the public school students of Texas.


Kim Alexander, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools



Several Roscoe and Highland athletes did well at the Cottonwood Creek Relays last weekend in Roby.  The boys competed against a field of eight teams and the girls against a field of ten.  

Shelton Toliver finished second in the high jump with a leap of 5’10”, followed by Jacob Richburg of Highland with 5’6”.

Michael Hyde of Highland was first in the pole vault with a vault of 10’6” followed by Dillon Freeman’s 8’6”.

Sheldon Hall of Highland won the 800 meter run with a time of 2:03 and was third in the 400 meter dash with a time of 53.36.

Roscoe was second in the 1600 meter relay with a time of 3:43.

On the girls’ side, Amber Craig was third in the 3200 meter run (15:21), while Kelsi Johns of Highland won the 800 meter race (2:38:57).  Beth Richburg of Highland won the 100 meter hurdles (17.2), finishing just ahead of Plowgirl Olivia Saddler (17.21).

Lora Stewart of Highland was second in the 400 meters (1:08.02), and Beth Richburg of Highland was second in the 300 meter hurdles (51.2).

The Lady Hornets’ 1600 meter relay team finished first (4:36.59) while the Plowgirls were second (4:41.31). 

In the Hamlin Piper Relays the previous weekend Plowboy Jesus Leanos was third in the 3200 meter run (10:57.54)

The Plowboys travel to Aspermont on Friday to compete in the Double Mountain Track Meet.



In case you missed it, last Thursday, March 21, the Abilene Reporter-News ran an interesting article by Big Country Journal writer Ronald Erdrich, who interviewed Regina McVey of McVey’s Native Nursery in Roscoe about Monarch butterflies and the native west Texas plants they prefer.  

The article can be accessed online by clicking here.



There was ice in the birdbath three mornings in a row.
As I mentioned last week, spring has officially arrived.  And it’s true that the buzzards are back and so are the robins, both sure signs of spring.  But it certainly didn’t feel like spring for much of this past week with the mercury dropping below freezing for three nights running—with the low of 25°F coming on Monday morning and with highs of only 50° and 51° on Sunday and Monday.

On Friday night from 2:00 to 3:00am, there was plenty of lightning and thunder, and it sounded for certain like we were in for a big rain, but all that sound and fury produced almost nothing.  My new high-tech rain gauge registered only four-hundredths of an inch total.  Even that, though, was the most precipitation we’ve had in weeks.

The outlook for the next few days is for warmer, windier weather with highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties.  There is no rain in the forecast.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rockin' S Cantina Liquor Store Now Open

The Rockin' S Cantina liquor store and gift shop.
The Rockin’ S Cantina liquor store and gift shop opened for business yesterday morning.  Located on 810 12th Street, just west of the Shell Station on the access road to I-20 west, it is owned and run by Tarrah and Jason Stewart. 

Besides a large selection of liquor, beer, and wine, the Rockin’ S Cantina also has a variety of canned vegetables, school spirit T-shirts, jewelry, and other gift items.

There is an outside 24-hour ice machine and reverse-osmosis water dispenser (1 and 5 gallon) that takes cash or credit cards.  The store also has drive-thru service. 

Hours of operation are 10:00am-9:00pm Monday through Saturday.  The phone number is 325-766-3655.

An official Grand Opening and barbecue will be held soon.



McVey's Native Nursery
McVey’s Native Nursery, previously located in Maryneal, has set up shop on Roscoe’s north side and is now open for business.  Located on 300 N. Ash Street, it is around the curve on Business 84 just northwest of the railroad track crossing. 

Owned by Regina and Joe Brad McVey, the nursery specializes in native plants and sells flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants.  Native annuals include Martha Gonzales roses, Texas sage, and lantana; native trees—Mexican white oak, Texas redbud, and burr oak; and native shrubs—Texas sage, yucca, and crepe myrtle, among others. 

You can also buy other flowers such as geraniums, petunias, and moss rose; vegetables like tomatoes and peppers; and herbs such as parsley, basil, dill, and thyme. 

A garden shop is not ready yet but is on the way.  It will include such gardening supplies as organic fertilizers and pesticides, bird feeders and baths, potting soil, Tula hats, and other items.  Locally made organic soaps and jellies are also in the works.

The McVeys also do landscaping. 

Operating hours at the nursery are 8:00am-5:30pm Monday through Friday and 8:00-12:00 on Saturday.  The phone number is 325-370-3815.



J. H. Strain & Sons of Tye are doing the repair work.
Construction finally began last week on the eastbound US 84 overpass that has been out of commission ever since a truck slammed into it last September, almost six months ago.  The target date for completion is now set at four months.

In the meantime, there will be some daytime closures that necessitate the use of detours for westbound I-20 traffic.  Eastbound US 84 traffic will keep on using the detours it has for the past few months, meaning that trucks will continue to take the short cut through Roscoe to get to eastbound I-20.

It will be interesting to see if the new intersection of US 84 and I-20 is a significant safety improvement over the old one, whose bloody history earned it the title of “Destruction Junction.”  



Roscoe is once again one of the towns featured in the Texas Midwest Guide, which functions as a tourist and information guide for the Big Country.  Copies of the guide are distributed to area hotels, motels, chambers of commerce, Texas travel information centers, and convention and visitors’ bureaus.   The guide includes 45 cities in the area extending to Munday on the north, Hico on the east, Menard on the south, and Colorado City on the west. 

Roscoe’s city page with photo highlights is on page 107, a prose description is on page 132, and our three downtown events—the Spring Fling, Independence Day Celebration, and West Texas Wind Festival—are included on pages 138-140 under Annual Events of the Texas Midwest.

Page 15 is made up of ads for four Roscoe businesses: the Lumberyard, Blackland Smokehouse, Vickie’s Gifts, and the Wildflower Boutique.

Copies of the guide are available at City Hall and the Lumberyard, and an online edition is accessible by clicking here. There is also a free app at Amazon, Google, and Apple app stores.


The City of Roscoe is sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt full of fun and surprises for children ten years old and under.  It will be on Saturday afternoon, March 30, from 4:00-5:00pm in Old Town Park, across the street from City Hall and the Roscoe State Bank. 

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



Several members of the RHS Class of 1965 have made plans to go on an Alaskan cruise in September, but they need more people to sign up in order to make their dream a reality.

For those who may be interested in making the trip with them, here is the relevant information:

The cruise (inside passage Glacier Bay) will be on the Holland-America ship Zuiderdam.  It will depart Vancouver, B.C., Canada, on September 21 and stop at the following ports: Tracy Arms, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan, all in Alaska; Astoria, Oregon; and return to San Francisco on October 1.

Rates per person based on double occupancy cabins and including meals, entertainment, activities, port charges, government fees, and taxes, are $1109 to $2299, depending on the type of cabin booked.  Each cabin will receive at least $100 on-board credit. Airfare is not included in these prices.

If you are interested, call Kay Hallman at 325-235-8594 or e-mail her at  by April 1. 



The oak trees in my yard have budded out.
To paraphrase the old song, spring is bustin’ out all over.  Trees are budding out, flowers and bushes are blooming, I’ve planted greens in my garden, we’ve had our first ninety-degree day, and astronomical spring officially arrived this morning at 6:02am.   

The ninety-degree day came on Saturday, when the mercury rose to 92°F after getting as high as the mid-eighties on Thursday and Friday.  A cold front came through Saturday night, so Sunday was cooler with a high of 72° and a low of 41°, but Monday had a high of 84°, while yesterday saw another front that brought the high down to 75° and the low to 45°.

Today should also be cool with a high of 69° and a low tonight in the mid-fifties.  Tomorrow afternoon will see a return to the eighties along with a 20% chance of thunderstorms.  However, Friday and Saturday will be cooler with highs in the upper sixties and a low of around forty--and Sunday and Monday may have highs only in the fifties with lows in the lower thirties. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

City of Roscoe Spring Clean-Up Begins Monday

The City of Roscoe’s annual Spring Clean-Up is next week.  Beginning on Monday, March 18, and running through Saturday, March 23, the hours of operation will be from 9:00am to 7:00pm. 

The venue will be different this year, though.  Unlike previous years, when drop-offs were at the recycling center just north of the railroad tracks, this year they will be at the old sanitary sewer plant on the north side of the I-20 service road between Cemetery Road and S. Main Street.

Dumpsters will be located inside the fenced facility, and all trash should be deposited in them.  Separate areas will be designated for tree and brush limbs and for metal objects.

Items which may not be placed in containers are as follows: paint, oil, oil filters, chemical containers, and tree limbs.  Air conditioners and refrigerators must be tagged land-fill acceptable.  There will be no curb service.

Since the Spring Clean-Up is for Roscoe residents only, anyone dropping off anything must show a City of Roscoe water bill.


With a large junior high track meet on Thursday evening and an equally large high school meet Friday afternoon at Plowboy Field, spectators got to see some of the best athletes in the smaller schools of the Big Country put on quite a show at the Blackland Divide Relays.  

Schools represented included Bronte, Blackwell, Cross Plains, Garden City, Hamlin, Hawley, Highland, Hermleigh, Ira, Jim Ned, Loraine, Munday, Robert Lee, Roby, Roscoe, Rotan, Stamford, Trent, and Winters.

Several Roscoe athletes scored points.  Plowgirl Olivia Saddler was first in the 100 meter hurdles, and the Plowgirls’ 4 x 100 relay team came in third.  For the Plowboys, Jesus Leanos was second in the 3200 meter run and third in the 1600 meters.

Sheldon Hall of Highland won first in the 800 meter run and second in the 400 meter dash.  

Here is a listing of Plowboys and Plowgirls who scored points at the Friday meet:

Athlete                          Place             Event                              Time/Length

Olivia Saddler                  1                100 meter hurdles                17.63

Torrey Willman             5                100 meter hurdles                 18.50

Olivia Saddler                 6                300 meter hurdles                 55.54

Carolina Perez                4                Shot put                                      31’0”

Plowgirls – 1) W. Williams 2) O. Rovig 3) O. Saddler 4) E. Aguayo
                                              3                4 x 100 meter relay              54.84

Plowgirls – 1) W. Williams 2) O. Rovig 3) T. Willman 4) E. Aguayo
                                              6                4 x 400 meter relay                  4:49

Eduardo Gallegos          3               400 meter dash                     56.29

Jesus Leanos                   3               1600 meter run                         5:20

Jesus Leanos                    2               3200 meter run                       11:20

E. Benivamondez           3               110 meter hurdles                  19.19

Dillon Freeman               5               300 meter hurdles                 46.18

Dillon Freeman               4               Pole vault                                      9’0”

Plowboys – 1) E. Gallegos 2) L. Jones 3) L. Rovig 4) S. Toliver
                                               4               4 x 100 meter relay                 46.91

Plowboys – 1) Z. Longoria 2) D. Freeman 3) L. Rovig 4) S. Toliver
                                               5               4 x 200 meter relay               1:42.11

Plowboys – 1) E. Gallegos 2) L. Jones 3) D. Freeman 4) S. Toliver
                                               3               4 x 400 relay                               3:40



At last night’s meeting in City Hall, the City Council cancelled the proposed May 13 election for a new Council member to replace Ken Brawley, whose term expires this spring.  Since only one person, Suzie Alford, applied for the position, an election was not necessary.  Alford will begin a two-year term in May.


City Manager Cody Thompson has just learned that the proposed plans and specifications for Roscoe’s reverse -osmosis water treatment plan have finally been given a green light by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality.  A formal letter will now be sent to the Texas Water Development Board, and once they approve it, a bid date for the project will be set, most likely around the end of April.

With a little bit of luck, the water treatment plant should be a reality by the end of this year.



There was ice in the birdbath on Monday morning.
There’s not a lot to say about the weather of the past week.  In short, it was sunny, breezy, and dry.   Highs ranged from the upper fifties to the mid-seventies, and lows from 57°F on Saturday morning to 25° on Monday morning.  

Last week’s forecast for weekend rain amounted only to enough to get the sidewalks wet, which surprised some because it was Rattlesnake Roundup weekend.  As someone said, “If it doesn’t rain during the Rattlesnake Roundup, then we may not get any rain.”

Although the first three months of the year tend historically to be fairly dry in Roscoe, that fact is small consolation to many of the farmers I’ve talked to, who are more than ready for some precipitation.  So far this year, we’ve had a total of only about 1.2”, and there is none in the forecast.  

Highs for the upcoming days should be in the seventies warming up to the eighties all weekend and then dropping back down to the seventies the first part of next week.  Predicted lows are for the upper forties tonight followed by several days of lows in the fifties.



Funeral services were held at 2:00pm on Sunday at the First Baptist Church for Verlia Ratliff, 81, who died last Wednesday, March 6. Interment followed in the Roscoe Cemetery.  

She was born on August 9, 1931, in Rusk, Texas, and moved with her family to Roscoe her senior year of high school.  She married Charles Ratliff on July 16, 1949, and together they raised three children: Mike, Larry, and Connie.

She is survived by her husband, Charles; sons, Mike Ratliff and wife Jolie of Austin; Larry Ratliff and wife Diane of Seguin; daughter, Connie and husband David Drake of Lake Whitney; grandchildren and spouses, Stephen and Diana Ratliff of Dallas, Julie and Caleb Wood of Dallas, Lindsey Ratliff of Odessa, Jenny and Kyle Childress of Kyle, and Alison Pruett of Waco; four great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Glen Jones of Sweetwater, Etta Barnes of DeSoto, Charlie Jones of Sweetwater, and Joy Jones of Leander; and many nephews and nieces.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Burritos Zacatecas Opens on Main Street

Burritos Zacatecas on 108 S. Main Street.
There’s a new Mexican restaurant in town—the Burritos Zacatecas, located across the street from the Post Office—which had its Grand Opening on Saturday.  It is owned and operated by Claudia Villa and the Villa family, the same folks that run the Tacos Zacatecas stand that has become a familiar fixture of Roscoe’s downtown street events.

The restaurant is open from 6:00am-8:00pm seven days a week.  All during the week, various kinds of burritos and gorditas are available, and, on the weekends, dinner plate specials such as posole, menudo, tamales, and chile rellenos are featured at reasonable prices. 

Drinks are also available.  These include Coca-Cola products like Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and energy drinks, as well as coffee and tea.  Homemade Mexican fruit beverages are also sold: fresh lemon water, melon water, pineapple water, watermelon water, and rice water.  

Since I’d never had it before, I tried the rice water, agua de horchata, made from rice and sweetened condensed milk, and found it tasty and interesting. 

For more information or to place orders, phone 325-766-3442.



Madison Moseley takes a shot against Saltillo.  The game was webcast live on Fox Sports Southwest's website.
A cold start and a stifling Saltillo defense were too much for the Highland Lady Hornets to overcome in Friday’s state semifinal match in the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, and they wound up losing, 41-19.

Both teams started cold, but Saltillo’s ace, Kendall Bain, finally broke the ice for the Lady Lions, and once she did, the state’s top-ranked team was off and running while Highland never did get untracked. 

By the end of the first quarter, the score was 13-2, and Saltillo dominated the rest of the game with an aggressive defense that kept Highland at bay throughout.  Their strategy of collapsing on Highland’s leading scorer, Sierra Allen, every time she got the ball was something the Lady Hornets were never able to overcome.  Allen was able to make only four points the entire game. 

At the same time, once Saltillo’s Kendall Bain hit a few shots to put her team in a comfortable lead, the other Lady Lions loosened up, started playing with confidence, and shot 50% from the field in the second half. 

Thus ended the magical run for the Lady Hornets, who finish their 31-5 season as district and regional champions.  However, they graduate only two seniors this year, so they will undoubtedly be the favorites to win district and probably regional again next year.  They’ve gained the valuable experience of playing in the state tournament, and both they and their coach, Shea Baucom, can build on that to work toward a return to Austin and a better outcome the next time around.

High scorer for the Lady Hornets was Beth Richburg with 6 points, followed by Sierra Allen and Hannah  Allen with 4 each, Madison Moseley and Kaylee Martin with 2 each, and Sydny Helbert with 1.

The scoring by quarters was as follows:

Saltillo        13    8    6    14    41
Highland      2    5    2    10    19

Saltillo was unable to match Friday’s performance on Saturday, losing in the state finals to Whitharral, 45-36.



Several Plowboys and Plowgirls did well at last weekend’s meet in Rotan. 

Jesus Leanos was first in the boys’ 3200 meter run with a time of 11:18, followed by Luis Villa, who was second at 11:29.  Shelton Toliver was second in the high jump with a leap of 5’10”.

Olivia Saddler was first in the girls’ 100 meter hurdles (17.73) and Torrey Willman was third (18.03).  Saddler was also third in the 300 meter hurdles (56.0). 

Carolina Perez was third in the discus (84’9”), Mirian Solis was third in the 3200 (15:08), and the Plowgirls were third in both the 400 meter relay (55.65) and 1600 meter relay (4:43).



Boys and girls from sixteen area high schools will participate in this year’s edition of the Blackland Divide Relays at Plowboy Field on Friday afternoon, March 8.  Participating schools besides Roscoe  include Bronte, Colorado City, Cross Plains, Hamlin, Hawley, Highland, Hermleigh, Ira, Loraine, Munday, Robert Lee, Roby, Rotan, Stamford, and Winters.

Field events will tentatively begin at 2:30pm, the 3200 meter run at 3:00, and running finals at 5:30.



Spring and baseball are once again just around the corner, and registration forms are being mailed out for Roscoe baseball teams this week.  They are also available from Christi Pepper Beal at the high school office.  You can also turn in your completed forms to her along with the required amount of money.  You’ll also need to bring players’ birth certificates to verify age.

Teams include both boys and girls from the ages of four to fifteen.  The cost for T-Ball and Midgets, ages 4-8, is $35 each; for Freshmen, ages 9-12, $45; and for Juniors, ages 13-15, $55.  Businesses and organizations can sponsor a team for $150.  Advertising on the field can also be purchased. 

The deadline for registration is March 25, when there will be an open meeting in the high school cafetorium at 6:00pm for everyone, as well as sign-ups for those willing to volunteer as coaches, assistant coaches, or team moms.

The opening ceremony will be in early April. 

For more information, contact David Pantoja at 325-280-1917 or Christi Beal during business hours at 325-766-3327.



March came in like a lamb, but it didn’t stay that way long.  Friday’s weather was mild and sunny, and Saturday was practically perfect with only a slight breeze, sunny skies, and an afternoon high of 65°.  Sunday was warm at 79° and breezy with 25-35mph winds, and Monday was similar with winds from the southwest and an afternoon high of 84°. 

But then a cold front blew in about midnight Monday evening, bringing howling winds of about 35mph with gusts up to 48mph and temperatures dropping into the thirties.  Yesterday was nicer and less windy but cooler with a high of 54°.  With the high winds and the prevailing dry conditions, there was a fire weather warning throughout the weekend.

The forecast is for warming temperatures with a high in the mid-sixties today, the mid-seventies tomorrow, and the upper sixties on Friday.  Then, a 50% chance of rain is forecast for Saturday.  Let’s hope we’re on the right side of that 50% this time.


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