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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Roscoe Celebrates July 4th This Saturday

Jason Boland & the Stragglers
Final preparations are underway for Roscoe’s annual July 4th celebration, and the event’s organizers are planning a day filled with fun for all to remember.

The day will begin at 10am with the annual July 4th parade down Broadway with the line-up for parade participants starting at 9:30am on West Broadway. Then at 12:00 noon the Plowboy Mudbog will get underway at George Parks Field with the special bonus of no admission charge this year, although food and drinks will be available for purchase.

During the afternoon, street vendors will be open downtown and selling food and other wares along Broadway, Cypress, and Old Town Park, and the Roscoe Historical Museum will be open for visitors.

The Roscoe Express will be available to shuttle people free of charge between downtown and the Plowboy Mudbog during the afternoon.  

Lyndall Underwood & the Dusty Creek Band
The free concert and street dance will begin “on the bricks” of Cypress at around 6:30pm with Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band. Then, at around 8:00, this year’s feature act, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, will take the stage and play until 9:30, followed by the ever-popular fireworks show beginning at about 9:45. It will last about twenty minutes and conclude the day’s official events.

However, those who want to continue the celebration after the fireworks may do so at the Lumberyard, where there will be free live music by Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band.

So, make plans now to attend, bring lawn chairs and coolers, and help us celebrate the country’s independence! Also, please be considerate of others by maintaining social distance and wearing masks. We don’t want the event to be a Covid-19 hotspot!



Summer is for swimming.
Kids are happy to know that the Roscoe Swimming Pool is now open and has been since last Tuesday.

Like last year, the pool is open Tuesday through Sunday, but the hours are slightly different. This year’s hours are 11am to 4pm. Price of admission is $2.00 per day.

The pool may be rented for private parties beginning and ending between 5:00 and 9:00pm all week except Monday. The fee is $60 for two hours, $70 for three, and $80 for four, all with a $15 deposit. The price includes an approved licensed lifeguard.

The pool will be closed Saturday for July 4.
For reservations or additional details, contact Pool Manager Rindy Rains at 325-236-1510.



Ryker Bromley & Aaron Aguilar
Roscoe Swimming Pool lifeguard Aaron Aguilar got a big test on his first day of work last Tuesday when a five-year-old boy, Ryker Bromley, drifted just into the deep end, lost his noodle, and sank down the slope to the bottom.

Aguilar pulled him out and applied CPR to get him breathing again. When the paramedics arrived, Ryker had been revived, but he was taken to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital as a precaution. There he was checked out by a doctor and later released.

Ryker is the son of Alex and Daniel Bromley, and Aguilar, who just graduated from Sweetwater High, made an A on his first big test as a lifeguard. Congratulations, Aaron. Keep up the good work!



The strength and conditioning program initiated by the athletics program at Roscoe Collegiate has been suspended as of Monday, June 29, as a precautionary measure. Although there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 among student athletes or staff, the move was taken because of the recent spike in cases here in Nolan County.

The suspension of all boys’ and girls’ sport-specific workouts lasts until July 13, when it is hoped that they can be resumed. Other Big Country schools, including Hawley, Jim Ned, Colorado City, Haskell, and Stamford, have also suspended their strength and conditioning workouts.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, you may contact Athletic Director Jake Freeman at



Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital has just had its second video in the national media, this one in this past Sunday’s New York Times along with an opinion article by Texas journalist Mimi Swartz. Its title is “In Texas, 6 Critically Ill Covid-19 Patients Would Overwhelm This Hospital,” and it is 8 minutes and 20 seconds long. It covers much of the same ground that the CBS one did in the video that ran in early May, interviewing local people and speaking of the perils of barring elective procedures in rural hospitals, which puts them in danger of going bankrupt and closing.

The hospital survived the first prohibition of elective procedures this spring when the state reopened them in May. Just recently, however, as hospitalizations have rapidly increased, Governor Abbott has reimposed the ban. This time, however, it applies only to hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties, so the rural hospitals of Texas are unaffected.



At a Called Meeting at City Hall at noon yesterday, the Roscoe City Council approved going ahead with Saturday’s July 4th celebration. The vote was all in favor except for one abstention.

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful time and acts sensibly regarding the county’s recent uptick in positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.


Nick Pantoja's car after finishing second in Abilene derby.
Roscoe’s number one auto mechanic, Nick Pantoja of VP Tire & Service, finished second in the demolition derby at Abilene Speedway Saturday night.  Caleb Dean, also of Roscoe, finished fourth.



It had to happen sooner or later. It just seems to be a fact of life that things happen in the city before they happen in the country. It’s true of technology, of fashion, of the spread of certain drugs, and of other facets of modern life. And it has also been true of the coronavirus, which in the spring ravaged places like New York City, New Jersey, Seattle, and San Francisco while less settled parts of the country were largely spared.

But in the past few weeks it seems that the disease has begun making its way into places that up to now remained mostly untouched. These include Texas as a whole and west Texas in particular. The Roscoe Hard Times misses a week, and when it comes back, I see that the numbers of new cases in the Big Country are spiking just like they are in the cities.

Statewide, Texas has become a hot spot for the spread of the disease and is now averaging over 5,000 new cases a day with the number of hospitalizations steadily rising. In Abilene starting today, HEB is requiring masks for shopping. Here in Nolan County, changes are also happening. Last week, Sweetwater closed its city offices after exposure to the virus, and yesterday the Sweetwater Health Department announced it is also closing for the same reason. Nolan County’s number of new confirmed positives is also climbing. On Saturday, over nine new cases were identified with three of those being hospitalized, and by yesterday the number of active cases had risen to thirty, affecting people from the ages of 14 to 60.

Even so, life still appears to be going on relatively normally, but it will behoove us all to keep an eye on the numbers and take proper precautions if they continue to rise locally as they have recently.

Here are the numbers for this week as of yesterday:

Abilene now has 400 total positive cases for the year (compared to 259 two weeks ago) with 110 active cases (compared to 9 two weeks ago) and 9 hospitalizations (compared to 1 two weeks ago).

These are the area’s county figures as of yesterday (with two weeks ago in parentheses if different): Jones, 611 (630); Brown, 72 (61); Howard, 40 (23); Nolan 33 (5); Scurry, 32 (28); Comanche, 17 (14); Callahan, 16 (13); Eastland, 10 (7); Stephens, 8 (5); Runnels, 7 (2); Coke, 5 (4); Fisher, 5 (2); Mitchell 5 (2); Haskell, 5 (4); Coleman, 3; Knox, 3 (1); Shackelford, 1.

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with two weeks ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 2,095 (894); Midland, 651 (222); Ector (Odessa), 558 (260); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 318 (117);.Tom Green (San Angelo), 299 (121);

Texas now has 159,986 cases (93,206 two weeks ago), 72,744 of them active (
30,496 two weeks ago), and 2,029 deaths (1,830 two weeks ago).



A thundercloud from yesterday's false alarm.
The month of June is now history, and, just like May, it has been way below average in terms of precipitation. May and June along with September are historically the three wettest months of the year, but not this year. I don’t know how many times in the past month we’ve seen big clouds build up and move across west Texas and on almost every occasion miss Roscoe and the immediate area.

Yesterday was a case in point. I got an alert that lightning and possible thundershowers were in the area, so I watched the radar off and on for a big part of the afternoon. It was a shame to see how big clouds with red, orange, yellow and dark green patches on the radar map moved toward Roscoe from south of Colorado City and then just played out somewhere between Loraine and Champion.

We’ve had no shortage of thunder and lightning the past two weeks, but once the clouds start failing to produce, it seems that they get caught up in a pattern that results in everything but rain. I keep hoping we’ll finally get one that soaks the ground around here and breaks the current pattern.

Temperatures the past two weeks have been typical for June, maybe a little on the hot side, especially the last few days. Monday’s 103°F was the high for the past week, but yesterday before the big clouds moved in hit 100°, and today’s forecast is for a high of 101° with a low tonight of 75°.

The rest of the week looks similarly hot with highs of 96° and 98° tomorrow and Friday, and 100° on Saturday and Sunday. There is no rain in the forecast, but maybe one of those stray afternoon showers will finally hit and change the pattern.



Graveside services for Virginia Ruth (Ginger) Welch, 90, formerly of Roscoe, were held at 10:30am Wednesday, June 24, at Fairview Cemetery near Millsap, Texas, with Joe Howard Williamson officiating and McCoy Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. She passed away on Sunday, June 21, at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater.

Ginger was born March 29, 1930, in Brownwood to the late Hubert Bates and Zula Estella (Williams) Keith.

When she lived in Roscoe, she was an active member of the First Baptist Church, taught Sunday School, and helped direct Vacation Bible School. She was a homemaker and always involved with all of her children’s endeavors and was always there for them. She loved cooking for cattle crews and was also a big fan of the National Cutting Horse Association and loved cooking and feeding family and friends at those events.

She is survived by her children; Ruth Ann Williams and husband Ronnie of Roscoe, Ken Welch and wife Dixie of Cross Plains, and Georgia Welch of Stanton; daughter-in-law, Pax Welch of Weatherford; grandchildren, Amy and Josh King, Katy and Kelly Welch, Lance Welch, Jenny and Matt LaSeur, Abby and B.J. Barnett, Dawson and Rebecca Burns, Kirby and Ward Meadows; and eleven great-grandchildren.

Ginger was preceded in death by her son, Greg Welch; granddaughter, Whitney Welch; grandson, Sterling Wilson; two brothers and two sisters.


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