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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

RCHS Cross-Country Teams Win at Hamlin

RCHS Cross Country Team.
The Plowgirl and Plowboy cross-country teams both won their divisions at the Hamlin Invitational Cross Country Meet last Wednesday.

There were nine individual medalists overall including Plowboys Graham Gleaton, Caleb Reed, Tyler Guelker, Aiden Hermasillio, and Marcus Hernandez, and Plowgirls Jissell Rodriguez, Kaidy Ornelas, Itzel Ortega, and Candy Ortega.

Their next meet will be this Saturday at Highland High School starting at 9:00am.



The Roscoe Athletic Booster Club will host a Cornhole Tournament and Fajita Dinner at the Baseball Field this Saturday, October 3.

Festivities begin with the Cornhole Tournament starting at 5:00pm. The entry fee for each 2-person team is $100. Champions will receive a custom cornhole board with more to be announced.

The Fajita Dinner begins at 6:00pm. Plates are $15 each for adults and $7 each for kids.

Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band will perform live starting at 6:30pm.

All proceeds benefit the Roscoe Athletic Booster Club and the Clyde Jay Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Not a member of the Roscoe Athletic Booster Club? Join today! $30/Family.

For more information, contact Geory Martin at 325-242-0130 or Kirsten Smith at 806-441-0295.


The Plowboys were unable to match their opponents in New Home Friday evening as the Leopards pulled away in the fourth quarter for a non-district victory. Roscoe trailed by only 12 points at the end of three, but the Leopards scored four touchdowns in the fourth to win by a final score of 46-12. They are now 4-1 on the season.

The Leopards struck early. Two plays after returning the opening kickoff to the Plowboy 35, their running back broke free for a 39-yard touchdown run. The extra-point attempt was no good, but New Home was ahead 6-0. The Plowboys responded with a drive of three first-downs that took them from their own 30 to the New Home 36 before being stopped on downs. The Leopard QB then completed a long pass that took his team to the Plowboy 20 to end the quarter with the score 6-0.

The second quarter began with a Leopard 22-yard pass play resulting in a touchdown. Once again, the extra-point try failed, but New Home was ahead 12-0. Neither team was able to score until shortly before halftime, when the Leopards hit on a 25-yard pass play, putting them ahead 18-0. The Plowboys then put together a long offensive drive to the New Home 18 before an interception killed the threat. The halftime score was 18-0.

After receiving the second-half kickoff, The Plowboys drove to the New Home 5 before turning the ball over on downs. Neither side then scored until with under a minute left in the quarter, when Jax Watts hit Seth Wilcox with a pass that went 62 yards for a Plowboy TD, narrowing the score to 18-6.

The fourth quarter, however, belonged to New Home. A 35-yard touchdown run on the first play put them ahead 25-6. On their next possession, they scored again, making the score 32-6. The Plowboys then put together a 65-yard drive that ended with 10-yard pass from Watts to Kolten Hope to make the score 32-12. But New Home then scored twice more before game’s end to make the final tally 46-12.

For the Plowboys, Jax Watts completed 13 of 21 passes for 126 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 interception. Seth Wilcox carried the ball 5 times for 61 yards and had 1 reception for 62 yards and a TD. Jake Gonzales had 14 carries for 52 yards.  

Scoring by quarters:
                              1          2         3          4          T

New Home         6         12        0        28        46
Plowboys            0          0         6          6         12


Plowboys vs. Seagraves at Plowboy Field Friday

This Friday the Plowboys face the Seagraves Eagles at Plowboy Field in their final pre-district game.

The Eagles are coming off their first victory of the year, defeating 3A-II Tornillo last Friday 41-20. They are currently 1-4 on the season with losses to 2A-I Hale Center 32-14, 2A-II Tahoka 26-14, 2A-II Ralls 44-0, and 2A-II Smyer 20-0.

Coach Armando Minjarez’s Eagles return 3 offensive and 7 defensive starters from last year’s 5-6 and 3-2 district team. Texas Football magazine picks them to finish third in District 1-2A-II with Wink, McCamey, Iraan, and Plains. The team is led by QB/LB Jasper Ochoa and WR/LB Osiris Flores.

They last met the Plowboys in 2017, when the Eagles won 42-19. In 2016, the teams met twice with the Plowboys winning the first game 39-23 and Seagraves the second, 29-21.

Kickoff is at 7:00pm.

Please Note: For those who cannot attend the game, Edu-Cast will be live streaming it on Facebook.



This Friday evening is Mum Night at RCHS, and the Sweetheart and Beau Nominees for Football, Band, and FFA have been announced. Here they are:

Football Sweetheart Nominees
            Alexis Arce
            Gabriella Dyck
            Lizzy Rubio

Football Beau Nominees
             Kolten Hope
             Juan Leaños
             Zeke Murphy

Band Sweetheart Nominees
            Sydni Jackson
            Mikayla Smith
            Athena Newman

Band Beau Nominee
            Caleb Reed

FFA Sweetheart Nominees
            Marcella Saenz
            Lisa Tollison

FFA Beau Nominees
            Antonio Aguayo
            Reese Kiser

The Sweetheart and Beau for each group will be named and crowned at halftime of the Plowboy-Seagraves football game at Plowboy Field Friday evening.



The coronavirus continues to be active in Texas and the Big Country with new cases popping up every day. With that said, however, some counties are more active than others. Counties with universities and prisons are naturally hit harder, but some counties also have more community spread. In this area, Scurry County is having more problems than most with an increase of 50 active cases over the past two weeks and three additional deaths.

Taylor County now has 463 active cases (433 last week) and 25 Covid-19 hospitalizations (19 last week), with 16 of those living outside Taylor County. There have been 53 total Covid-19 deaths (52 last week).

Nolan County reports 18 active cases, down 6 from 24 last week. Mitchell County has 11 active cases, down from 12 last week, and Fisher County has 1 active case, down from 2 last week.

Scurry County’s numbers, however, continue to rise. There are now 97 active cases (72 last week). That’s 25 more than last week and 50 more than two weeks ago. They are also reporting 3 additional deaths since last week, 2 men in their 90s and a woman in her 70s.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Erath, 880 (831); Howard, 823 (677);  Scurry, 646 (610); Jones, 577 (580); Brown, 580 (555); Comanche, 309 (294); Runnels, 278 (259); Nolan, 260 (217); Eastland, 182 (167); Stephens, 136 (132); Callahan 94 (86); Mitchell, 91 (85); Knox, 92 (67); Coleman, 77 (70); Haskell, 69 (62); Fisher, 66 (65); Coke, 53 (52); Shackelford, 34 (24); Stonewall, 14 (12); Kent, 9 (9); Throckmorton, 8 (8).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 11,764 (1o,515); Midland, 3,759 (3,588); Ector (Odessa), 3,155 (3,069); Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,261 (2,212); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.797 (1,645).

Texas now has had a total of 743,284 cases (716,207 a week ago), 87,317 of them active (87,317 a week ago), and 15,604 total deaths (15,219 a week ago).



This morning's sunrise.   
This past week’s weather has been mixed with some days cool and others hot, but nothing that wouldn’t be considered normal for west Texas in September.

The coolest day was Monday with a high of only 72° and a low of 56°, and the hottest came on Sunday when the high went all the way up to 97°, but didn’t hit triple digits as some forecasters had predicted. Skies were clear almost the entire week, and there was no rain nor even any serious threats. There were some hot southwest winds on Sunday and some high north winds on Monday when the cool front blew in.

The forecast for the coming week appears to be more of the same as we move into October—sunny skies, some strong southwest winds on Saturday, followed by a mild cold front with winds from the northeast on Sunday. Today’s high of 89°F should be the warmest day with highs in the 80s until Sunday’s cold front drops the maximum to 77° and the low to 53°.

And unless the weathermen are totally wrong, the coming week should be another one devoid of rain.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Mo Pitney to be Wind Festival Headliner

Mo Pitney
Nashville country singer/songwriter Mo Pitney, often touted as a modern savior of traditional country music, will be the featured artist at this year’s free concert and street dance at the 14th annual West Texas Wind Festival, which will be in downtown Roscoe on Saturday, October 17.

Born into a musical bluegrass family in southern Illinois, the 27-year-old Pitney has lived and worked in Nashville since becoming a professional musician. He got a standing ovation after singing, “Country,” in his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. Besides his own songs, such as “Ain’t Bad for a Good Ol’ Boy” or “Boy & a Girl Thing,” he is well known for his covers of traditional country classics, such as “Borrowed Angel,” “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” or with his wife Emily, “Storms Never Last.”

Giovannie & the Hired Guns
Opening for him will be Giovannie & the Hired Guns, an up-and-coming young Texas band from Stephenville, who mix country and rock and are making waves of their own with such songs as “Another Time” or “Lover Boy.”

Dylan Wheeler
Opening for them will be Dylan Wheeler & His Band. Wheeler, 23, is a Texas/Red Dirt singer and songwriter from Edgewood in east Texas. His latest recording is “Broke A$$ Kid.”

So, the music emphasis this year is on youth, and it could well be the best West Texas Wind Festival concert yet. You won’t ever get another chance to see these singers for free, so you don’t want to miss it.

Lyndall Underwood
Opening the show will be Roscoe's own Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band. He will also close the evening with the free dance at the Lumberyard, which starts after the fireworks show.

In addition to the free concert and street dance, the festival will also feature the ever-popular Plowboy Mudbog at the baseball field, the downtown vendors, the RVFD’s fireworks show, and more, so make plans now to spend the day celebrating the event.



The Roscoe City Council at yesterday's budget meeting.

At a specially called budget meeting in City Hall Monday evening, the Roscoe City Council approved the 2020-21 budget. It also appointed Mayor Pete Porter to be the signatory for the sale of the old city sewer farm property to TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation).

In setting the budget for 2020-21, the Council slightly altered the tax rate from 2019-20—from 69.5951 cents to 74.9624 cents per $100 valuation, which will raise approximately the same amount of revenue as last year. The General Fund tax rate dropped from 55.3987 to 54.4973 cents, while the Interest & Sinking fund raised from 14.1964 to 20.4651 cents. Last year’s adjusted levy was $431,551, and this year’s anticipated levy is $439,551, an $8,000 increase, the $8000 being the added value of new city property. No raises for City employees were included in the new fiscal year’s budget.

The City is selling the 1.217 acres of the old sewer farm property to TxDOT as it prepares to make changes to I-20 between the merger with US Highway 84 east of Roscoe to I-20 west of town. Sale price is $5,111, which will go into the City’s General Fund. As a signature is needed for the sale, the Council appointed Mayor Pete Porter to act for the City in the transaction.



The RCHS Cross Country Track Team.
The Plowgirl and Plowboy Cross-Country runners had another strong performance at the Spring Creek Invitational Meet at Irion County on Wednesday. The varsity Plowgirls won first overall, while the JV Plowgirls and varsity Plowboys both finished second.

Varsity girl medalists were Jissel Rodriguez 1st, Kaidy Ornelas 4th, and Candy Ortega 5th. JV medalists were Jaiden Amador 8th, Shauna McCambridge 9th, and Kenzie Danner 10th.

Varsity boy medalists were Graham Gleaton 3rd and Caleb Reed 4th.

The varsity teams are competing in Hamlin today.  



The game in Christoval Friday evening was another tough loss for the Plowboys as the state-ranked Cougars jumped out to a 36-0 lead in the first quarter and then coasted to a 64-6 home victory. Christoval QB Brayden Wilcox completed 10 of 12 passes for 235 yards and 2 TDs and rushed for 105 yards on 7 carries for 4 TDs.

The Plowboys’ lone score came in the second quarter when Antonio Aguayo hit Kolten Hope with a pass for a 7-yard touchdown.

Scoring by quarters:
                                        1          2           3          4          T

            Christoval        36        0          14        14        64
            Plowboys           0         6           0          0         6

With the loss, the Plowboys, who are still looking for their first victory, are now 0-4 on the season.

Plowboys vs. New Home in New Home

This Friday the Plowboys tackle the New Home Leopards in an away game.

New Home is a small town (pop. 361) between Lubbock and Tahoka, 109 miles from Roscoe. Like Roscoe, it is a Class 2A-II school. Texas Football predicts its Leopards to finish fourth in District 2-2A-II with Sudan, Bovina, Smyer, and Ropesville. They return 6 starters on both offense and defense from last year’s 4-7 team.

The Leopards are currently 3-1 on the year with victories over 2A-I Floydada 32-13, 2A-II Plains 20-13, and 3A-II Odessa Compass Academy 51-0. Their lone loss was to 3A-II Lubbock Roosevelt 46-0. Players to watch are QB Bode Stewart and RB/LB Kash Starkey, both of whom made first-team all-district last year.

Kickoff is at 7:00pm.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are planning to go to the game, you must obtain a stamped ticket in advance at the Roscoe Collegiate High School office. You will then show your stamped ticket(s) when you pay at the gate in New Home. Tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for students.



The number of hospitalizations in the state continues to decrease. Last week, it fell to 3,132, which is 179 fewer than the 3,311 of a week ago. On the other hand, the number of active cases is once again increasing. This past week, the average number was 4,652 active cases per day, an increase of 26% over the average two weeks ago. The state had 706 deaths (790 a week ago), and Texas now reports 15,219 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Governor Greg Abbott has changed the metric for re-opening businesses in Texas, saying that regions with less than 15% hospitalizations are safe enough to allow additional openings. By this metric, the Big Country is safe enough, and restaurants can go up to 75% capacity. This new metric, however, does not include bars, and bar owners across the state are up in arms about it, saying that many of them will go under if some allowances aren’t made.

Taylor County now has 433 active cases (409 last week), but Abilene currently has only 19 Covid-19 hospitalizations (23 last week), with 13 of those living outside Taylor County. There have been 49 total Covid-19 deaths (48 last week).

Nolan County reports 24 active cases, an increase of 2 from 22 last week. Mitchell County has 12 active cases, up from 9 last week, and Fisher County has 2 active cases (3 last week). Scurry County’s numbers, however, continue to rise. There are now 72 active cases (47 last week), 25 more than last week.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Erath, 831 (785); Howard, 677 (438);  Scurry, 610 (579); Jones, 580 (566); Brown, 555 (524); Comanche, 294 (254); Runnels, 259 (242); Nolan, 217 (189); Eastland, 167 (155); Stephens, 132 (126); Callahan 86 (79); Mitchell, 85 (82); Knox, 67 (68); Coleman, 70 (62); Fisher, 65 (63); Haskell, 62 (59); Coke, 52 (50); Shackelford, 24 (25); Stonewall, 12 (10); Kent, 9 (7); Throckmorton, 8 (6).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 10,515 (9,828); Midland, 3,588 (3,469); Ector (Odessa), 3,069 (2,962); Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,212 (2,151); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.645 (1,525).

Texas now has had a total of 716,207 cases (668,746 a week ago), 87,317 of them active (68,483 a week ago), and 15,219 total deaths (14,343 a week ago).



Pasture sunset yesterday. (Photo by Vanya Duncan)
Fall didn’t officially arrive until the autumnal equinox came at 8:31 yesterday morning, but unofficially we are now in our second week of nice fall weather. 

Highs for the past seven days have been in either the 70s or 80s with lows in the 60s or mid to upper 50s. Winds have been light, and skies have been clear or partly cloudy. In fact, it’s been downright pleasant most of the time, which is certainly not always the case in west Texas. The past week’s high temperature was last Wednesday’s 85°, and the weekly low was Sunday morning’s 55°.

Today should be partly cloudy with a high of 81° with a light northeast wind, but temperatures will be warmer starting tomorrow when skies clear and the high reaches 87°. Then Friday and the weekend will be even warmer as winds shift to the southwest. Friday’s high will be around 92°, while Saturday and Sunday should reach 93° as air conditioners again see extensive use. On Monday, a slight cooling trend will once again set in. During these days, morning lows should drop into the mid-sixties as skies remain clear.

There is no rain in the forecast.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Plowboys Fall to Miles, 29-7

Kolten Hope makes a tackle as Jake Gonzales moves in.
The Plowboys had another rough outing Friday evening, losing to Miles 29-7. The loss was disappointing in that much of it was self-inflicted, especially in the first half, as untimely penalties and turnovers killed drives and kept the team from gaining any offensive rhythm or momentum.  

The Plowboys lost an opportunity for a quick touchdown on their first play from scrimmage when an open receiver was unable to bring in a long pass at the Miles 32. Then, after advancing to the Miles 40 on a successful fake punt, a 15-yard penalty killed the drive, and Miles took over. They moved down the field on a nine-play drive that ended when QB Brayden Dunlap went 10 yards for the TD. The extra-point kick was good, and with 4:08 left in the quarter, the Bulldogs were up 7-0. The Plowboys’ next series ended when a Miles defender intercepted an errant pass and returned it 36 yards for another Miles TD. The extra-point attempt, a fake kick, was successful, and with 2:46 left in the quarter, the score was 15-0. Another interception on the next Plowboy possession gave the ball back to Miles, and on the first play of the second quarter, Dunlap ran it in from the 9-yard line, and the Bulldogs were ahead 22-0. For the next three quarters, the game was essentially even, but the damage had already been done. The score at halftime was 22-0.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Bulldogs struck again early in the fourth. From the Plowboy 40, Miles QB Dunlap completed a pass to the Plowboy 20, and on the next play, he ran it in for the score, putting his team ahead, 29-0. Later in the quarter, the Plowboys mounted an 8-play drive that started on their own 32 and ended with a touchdown when QB Antonio Aguayo hit Kolten Hope in the end zone on a 25-yard pass. Aguayo kicked the extra point, making the final score 29-7, as Miles then kept the ball until the clock ran out.

For the game, Miles had 11 first downs to the Plowboys 10, and Roscoe played hard throughout. However, the Plowboys had 3 turnovers to Miles’s 1 and 16 penalties for a whopping 145 yards, which was 34 more than their entire offensive output of 115 yards. Last week, they had 116 penalty yards against Stamford, so they must become more disciplined if they hope to win future games.

Aguayo completed 11 of 16 passes for 107 yards and 1 TD along with 2 interceptions. Hope led the receivers with 3 catches for 42 yards, followed by Zeke Murphy’s 2 for 19 yards. Hope, Aguayo, and Murphy also led the defense along with Diego Vela and Jordan Blain.

Scoring by quarters:
                                       1          2          3          4          T

            Miles                15         7          0          7         29
            Plowboys          0         0          0          7           7


Plowboys vs. Christoval in Christoval

This Friday the Plowboys take on Coach Casey Otho’s Christoval Cougars in an away game.

Christoval is currently 12th in the Texas 2A-II rankings. They are 2-1 so far this year with a season-opening loss (36-21) to undefeated and state-ranked No. 5 Wink, followed by wins over 3A-II Grape Creek (23-18) and 3A-II Sonora (22-14). Texas Football magazine predicts them to win District 14-2A-II as they return 6 starters on offense and defense from last year’s 10-2 area finalists. They are led by QB Brayden Wilcox and WR Beau Jolly on offense and DB Wilcox and LB Ketcher Joiner on defense.  

Kickoff in Christoval is at 7:00pm

PLEASE NOTE: If you are planning to go to the game, you must purchase your ticket in advance at the Roscoe Collegiate High School office. They are $4 each and will not be sold at the door. You will need a wristband to enter the game. For more information, call 325-766-3327.



The Roscoe City Council held its regular monthly meeting in City Hall Thursday evening. They heard updates on public works from the City Manager and the August Police Report from the Chief of Police, approved some action items and tabled others.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported that the pump at the northside lift station is out and will have to be replaced at a cost of $6800. Work at the new and old wastewater plants is proceeding and should be finished in the next 60 days, and the TWDB (Texas Water Development Board) and TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) are nearing approval of water-line improvement plans. The 2020-21 budget will be discussed and can be approved at the proposed budget meeting next Monday. The lineup for the West Texas Wind Festival the third week of October will be announced in the October newsletter to be mailed out the last week of this month.

Chief of Police Felix Pantoja gave the Police Report for August, saying that the Department received 89 calls for service, handled two vehicle crashes, made one arrest, and issued 13 warnings. He also reported a stabbing on August 20 in the Lucky Pot Game Room at the 235 Travel Stop. The female suspect fled the crime scene but was later located and arrested in Sweetwater for unrelated warrants. The male victim also fled but was later identified as a person from Abilene with outstanding warrants for dangerous drugs. The crime is believed to be drug related. The Roscoe Police also handled an accident on Sunday, August 30, in which a motorcycle rider headed north on US 84 crashed into a southbound vehicle on FM 608 and sustained serious injuries. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The driver of the vehicle was cited for failure to yield right-of-way. Both these incidents are still under investigation by Roscoe Police.

The Council then passed an ordinance setting the 2020-21 tax rate to be the same as this year’s and postponed approval of the 2020-21 budget until the meeting on Monday.

The Council also approved an ordinance assessing a $2.00 fee for Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department services to residents’ monthly water/services bill. It also approved an Atmos Energy settlement that is routine and done annually.  



This week, Roscoe got its first confirmed positive test for Covid-19, a student who was at the Early Childhood Center Friday. Yesterday, the school sent letters to parents of students who may have come in close contact with the positive student, whether in the student’s class or who “shared some combination of PE, recess, lunch, or a bus ride and may have been in close contact for some period before symptoms arose.” The letter then asks parents to watch closely for Covid-19 symptoms in their own child or children.

This local news comes on a week when Covid-19 numbers continue to drop statewide and remain relatively stable in most of the Big Country.  

Last week, Texas had 790 Covid-19 deaths (956 a week ago), 3,311 hospitalizations (3,537 a week ago) and an average of 4,048 cases per day, a decrease of 13% from the average two weeks ago.

Taylor County has 409 active cases (385 last week), and Abilene currently has 23 Covid-19 hospitalizations (20 last week). There have been 48 total Covid-19 deaths.

Nolan County reports 22 active cases, a decrease of 11 from 33 last week. Mitchell County has 9 active cases, down from 12 last week, and Fisher County has 3 active cases (4 last week).

Scurry County, however, bucked the trend with an outbreak at the Goodlife Assisted Living Facility, where 14 residents and 10 employees tested positive for Covid-19. The county now reports 47 active cases, 23 more than last week. It also confirms another death, an 84-year-old female.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Erath, 785 (722); Scurry, 579 (563); Jones, 566 (588); Brown, 524 (500); Howard, 438 (350); Comanche, 254 (221); Runnels, 242 (210); Nolan, 189 (180); Eastland, 155 (126); Stephens, 126 (126); Mitchell, 82 (75); Callahan 79 (73); Knox, 68 (67); Fisher, 63 (60); Coleman, 62 (56); Haskell, 59 (56); Coke, 50 (49); Shackelford, 25 (23); Stonewall, 10 (9); Kent, 7 (7); Throckmorton, 6 (5).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 9,828 (8,983); Midland, 3,469 (3,362); Ector (Odessa), 2,962 (2,895); Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,151 (2,089); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.525 (1,392).

Texas now has had a total of 668,746 cases (641,791 a week ago), 68,483 of them active (74,829 a week ago), and 14,343 total deaths (13,553 a week ago).



First Hard Times photo: Caden Smith (12) follows Mike Massey block for TD.
The Roscoe Hard Times has now completed a decade of reporting Roscoe news. The first post (not counting preliminaries) was an account of the Plowboy football game with Stamford at the Sammy Baugh classic in Mustang Bowl on September 11, 2010. 

I’d just retired from Towson University and returned to live in Roscoe. I had just got internet access at what was then my mother’s home and still had yet for the moving truck to arrive with almost all my earthly possessions from Baltimore, where I’d lived for the previous 17 years.

In the beginning I posted the news as soon as I got it, but by December of that year I’d figured out it was easier on me and the blog’s readers to publish it weekly. I’ve been posting it on Wednesday mornings at around 10:00am ever since, minus two or three times every year when other aspects of my life knock me out of my normal routine.

The blog I use as the format is a free one provided by Google, and for that reason I can get information from Google Analytics about its postings. The number of hits provides a general idea of how popular a particular posting is, and another measure records where readers are located. With the internet being what it is, the Hard Times is read by people from all over the world, often including unexpected places like India or Kazakhstan. I’ve been getting similar weekly numbers for about the past five years, usually ranging from a low of about 250 hits weekly to the occasional 3,000 or 4,000 hits, which happens when there is big news and many facebook shares by readers. For example, the issue about Roscoe being on the NBC Nightly News and MSNBC got over 5,000 hits.

When I started the Hard Times, I had no idea how long I’d keep it up--and still don’t. I often thought I’d quit after ten years, but now that that time has been reached, I guess I’ll keep it up a while longer. As I said once before, I’ll probably continue as long as I consider the reward greater than the effort. It’s a way for me to give back to the community in a way that keeps me busy and mentally active, so I’m happy to do it.

Anyway, thanks to all you readers who regularly check the Hard Times to find out what’s going on in Roscoe. You make me feel useful and keep me on my toes.



Standing water in a cotton field west of Roscoe.
The official first day of autumn doesn’t arrive until next Tuesday, September 22, but you wouldn’t know it from the weather this past week as it has been decidedly fall-like. 

A couple of daily records and maybe more were set for low temperatures, and the high temperature for the week never got above 82°F, which is unusual for this time of year. According to the Weather Channel website, the record daily lows here for September 9 and 10 were 48° and 51° respectively, but last week’s lows for those two days were both 45°. I’d be willing to bet those two days also now hold the record for low daily maximums. The high for September 9 last week was 55° and for September 10 was 52°, only one degree above the previous record low.

With that said, the rest of the week was also cool with highs from Friday through yesterday 71°, 82°, 82°, 78°, and 82°. Lows ranged from 45° to Sunday’s 66°.

More rain fell on Thursday to add to that of Tuesday and Wednesday reported last week. My total here in town for the week was 3.4”, and the official amount reported by Kenny Landfried was 3.36”. Other places around Roscoe got more, but most people I talked to got between 3.25” and 5.00”. In any case, it was one of those big rains typical of September that was welcomed by everyone whose livelihood is affected by rainfall.

The forecast for the coming week is for more fall-like weather with mostly sunny skies the entire week (except tomorrow) and highs in the 80s, ranging from today’s forecast of 87° to 83° Thursday through Sunday. Lows will range from today’s 63° to Saturday’s and Sunday’s 57°. The drying out of last week’s rainfall will continue as more rain is unlikely. Tomorrow’s chance for precipitation is set at 20%, the rest of the week at 10%.

The autumnal equinox, when day and night are equal, arrives on Tuesday, September 22, at 8:31am.  At that moment, fall officially begins.



Funeral services for Sue Reeves Womack, 63, of Fort Worth, formerly of Roscoe, will be at 1:00pm Saturday, September 19, at McCoy Chapel of Memories with Billy Joe Jay officiating. Interment will follow at Roscoe Cemetery under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home. Visitation is Friday 6:00-8:00pm and Saturday 12:00-1:00pm. She passed away at her home on Saturday, September 5.

Sue was born October 5, 1956, at Loraine. She was a graduate of Roscoe High School and attended First United Methodist Church in Roscoe. Sue loved baseball and was very involved with the Euless Athletic Association serving as a President, Board Member, and Volunteer Coach. In the last few years, she enjoyed watching her grandsons play sports. Sue was a social butterfly and left many friends behind. She never met a stranger and always had a beautiful smile on her face.

Sue is survived by her son, Chris Womack and wife Danielle of Friendswood, Texas; grandsons, Jakob and Chase; sisters, Ann Tierney of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Janet Russell of Houston; brothers; Paul Cauthen and wife Vicki, and Melvin Cauthen and wife Tammy, all of Arlington, Texas; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her father, Leroy Reeves and wife Thelma; mother, Mary (White) Ballard and husband Al; and brothers; Tommy Reeves and Reggie Cauthen.

Pallbearers will be Jakob Cordova, Dan Cauthen, Paul Cauthen, Jr., Shawn Cauthen, Jared Reeves, and Casey Nordmeyer. Honorary pallbearers are Louis Womack and Chase Vasquez.

Memorials may be made to or


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Amanda Sanchez Earns Bachelor's at Roscoe

Amanda Sanchez receives diploma from WTAMU President Walter Wendler.

Amanda Sanchez of Roscoe is a highly unusual college graduate. Still only 19 years old and less than two years away from receiving her high school diploma, she has graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree and is now enrolled in a master’s degree program.

She is Roscoe Collegiate’s first P-TECH Program student to complete her studies and graduate while never leaving Roscoe, and she has done it all without accumulating any debt. She is also a first-generation college student, who for financial reasons would have been unable to attend traditional classes on campus.

And she has fulfilled all her requirements with a flourish, making the Dean’s List twice both long semesters last year and graduating in 15 months with Cum Laude honors.

Last Wednesday, she had the honor of being presented her diploma by West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler, who was in town, along with other WTAMU administrators and the media, to present her the diploma and to celebrate the event.

She was able to do it all debt-free through grants Roscoe Collegiate has been awarded, and because she did it while remaining under the RCISD support structure through the P-TECH designation, the district could draw state funding that paid her tuition and fees. Like most other RCHS students, she earned her associate’s degree from Western Texas College in Snyder tuition-free while still in high school. So, when she began at P-TECH, she needed only 35 hours of college credit to complete her major in general studies with an emphasis in sociology. She got them all in 15 months by going to summer school and taking five courses each in both long semesters.

In the RCISD P-TECH program, Amanda is just the first to succeed as there will soon be others. Eleven 2019 and 2020 RCHS grads are currently enrolled, along with two other adult students. The partnership with West Texas A&M gives locals the opportunity to earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees at little expense while never leaving town.

For more information, contact Morgan Martin, RCISD Director of Continuing Education at 806-549-5842 or

Two excellent articles on this event are available online. The Big Country Homepage video and article by Kevin Clack is available here, and the official WTAMU article, written by Jon Mark Beilue, provides additional information about WTAMU’s involvement providing higher education to Roscoe and other west Texas communities. It is available here.



Antonio Aguayo (5) carries for a 6-yard gain in the 2nd quarter.
For the second week in a row, the Plowboys were overpowered by a good team with bigger players. Last week, it was Hawley, this week the Stamford Bulldogs, both 2A-I schools. The Plowboys played hard before the home crowd, but simply made too many mistakes, racking up 116 yards in penalties, committing three turnovers, and giving up too many big plays—the way the Bulldogs scored all five of their touchdowns.

One of the Plowboys’ best plays of the first half was on the opening kickoff. Antonio Aguayo received the kick on about the Plowboy 15-yard line and slipped past several Bulldog defenders for a nifty 38-yard return to the Bulldog 47-yard line. Unfortunately, the Plowboys were then held on downs and had to punt. The Bulldogs took over and made one first down before quarterback Zhawn Holden went around right end on a 48-yard scamper down the sideline to score the only TD Stamford needed for the evening as the Bulldogs went up 7-0.

The Plowboy defense held the rest of the first quarter and into the second until Holden hit receiver Ryheem Smith with a long bomb that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown, putting Stamford up 13-0. Once again, the defense held until the half, but they got little help from the offense, whose only first down of the half came on a roughing-the-kicker penalty right before halftime. Stamford’s big defensive line shut down Roscoe’s running game, and QB Aguayo was running for his life on most pass plays.

The Bulldogs scored twice more in the third quarter, both on long pass plays, the first on a 25-yard pass from Holden to Dylan Faulks, the second on a 43-yard Holden pass, also to Faulks.

The Plowboys finally found some offense at the beginning of the fourth quarter when they had their best offensive drive of the game. After stopping a Stamford drive on downs on their own 3-yard line, the Plowboys began a six-play 92-yard march to the Stamford 5. Kolten Hope first carried for 40 yards to the Plowboy 43, then 20 to the Bulldog 37, then 6 to the 32. Aguayo went 11 more to the 21. Two plays later, Stamford was called for pass interference, making it first and goal at the 5. Aguayo then threw a swing pass to Hope who caught it at the 6-yard line and ran it in for what appeared to be a Plowboy touchdown. However, the referees ruled that he’d lost control of the ball on the 1-yard line and fumbled into the end zone, where Stamford recovered it.

The Bulldogs then controlled the ball for the rest of the quarter and were knocking on the door inside the Plowboy ten-yard line when the game ended.

Scoring by quarters:
                           1          2          3         4            T
Stamford          7          6        14         0          27
Plowboys         0          0          0         0           0

Roscoe vs. Miles at Plowboy Field Friday

This week’s game with Miles pits two teams with matching results so far this season. Like the Plowboys, the Bulldogs are 0-2 after being beaten by larger schools. They lost to their first game to Coleman, a 2A-I team, 32-0, and their second to Coahoma, a 3A-II team, 49-0.

So, like the Plowboys, they have twice tasted the agony of defeat and will be itching to turn their season around against a team their own size. Miles is a 2A-II school in the district with Christoval, Eldorado, Junction, Rocksprings, and Menard, where Texas Football magazine predicts them to finish fourth. Last year, they were 7-4 overall and 2-2 in district. They are led by QB Hayden Johnson and RB Brayden Dunlap on offense and DL Christian Gutierrez on defense.

This week is RCHS Mum Night, and at halftime this year’s high school royalty will be crowned. The last time the Plowboys played Miles was on Mum Night in 2018. The Plowboys won that game 41-29.

Kickoff is at 7:30pm.



The Plowgirls were second overall out of 19 teams yesterday at the Cross-Country Meet in Eula. Jissel Rodriguez finished 1st, Kaidy Ornelas 2nd,  and Itzel Ortega 6th.

The Junior High Plowgirls finished 1st overall out of 18 teams. Zoey Welch was 1st, Amri Deloera 4th, Celeste Rangel 6th, Kaylee Martin 10th.

Ellie Aguayo finished 9th for the Junior High Plowboys.



Conditions concerning Covid-19 in Texas continue to improve as the state’s July peak recedes into the past. The changes, while not dramatic, are in the right direction as the death rate, hospitalizations, and numbers of active cases keep falling. Last week, Texas had 956 Covid-19 deaths (1,105 a week ago), 3537 hospitalizations (4,144 a week ago) and over the past week an average of 3,699 cases per day, a decrease of 33% from the average two weeks earlier. On the state level, everyone is watching to see if the return to in-person classes in the big city schools or the cooler weather will cause any outbreaks.

For now, the numbers in the Big Country remain relatively low, overall, not much different from last week, although some counties have more, others less.

Taylor County has 385 active cases (362 last week), and Abilene currently has 20 Covid-19 hospitalizations (25 last week), 15 from in the county and 5 from outside the county. There have been 42 total Covid-19 deaths.

Nolan County reports 31 active cases, an increase of 20 over last week. The Sweetwater Mustangs had to postpone their football game with Jim Ned last Friday because of Covid-19 but are scheduled to resume play this Friday against San Angelo Lake View.

Mitchell County has 12 active cases, the same as last week. Fisher County has 4 active cases (12 last week), and Scurry County has 24 active cases (40 last week).

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Erath, 722 (693); Jones, 588 (598); Scurry, 563 (546); Brown, 500 (480); Howard, 350 (281); Comanche, 221 (216); Runnels, 210 (200); Nolan, 180 (153); Eastland, 126 (114); Stephens, 126 (113); Mitchell, 75 (73); Callahan 73 (70); Knox, 67 (67); Fisher, 60 (59); Haskell, 56 (54); Coleman, 56 (53); Coke, 49 (49); Shackelford, 23 (24); Stonewall, 9 (10); Kent, 7 (7); Throckmorton, 5 (5).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 8,983 (7,485); Midland, 3,362 (3,272); Ector (Odessa), 2,895 (2,818); Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,089 (2,041); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.392 (1,324).

Texas now has had a total of 641,791 cases (617,333 a week ago), 74,829 of them active (89,791 a week ago), and 13,553 total deaths (12,681 a week ago).



Last night an early season Canadian cold front moved in, shifting the winds to the north at 15 to 30mph and bringing rain and thunderstorms. Temperatures dropped into the fifties and with the strong winds felt even colder than that.

The rain started falling intermittently a little after four yesterday afternoon. Here in town we had around a quarter of an inch. And then last night it started up again around ten and kept it up off and on all night long. This morning I checked my rain gauge and found 1.6" in it. My daughter, who is staying in my brother's house three miles west of town, got 3.37". Kenny Landfried recorded an official 2.03" in town and 3.4" on his farm on Cottonwood Creek northwest of town. Of course, with the prediction saying we should expect more today and probably again tomorrow, we are likely to be getting more. It's interesting that yesterday, September 8, 2020, was exactly 40 years from September 8, 1980, when Roscoe's big flood began.

The high temperature today is predicted to be only 53°, and if the forecast is correct, it will be the first time we’ve had a high that cool since April 4. Needless to say, it’s quite a change from the past two months when 100° highs have been commonplace.

And along with the clouds and cold wind, more rain is in the forecast, especially for today and tomorrow. The chance for precipitation today is set at 85% and tomorrow at 70%. It drops to 20% under mostly cloudy skies Friday and Saturday but will be back up to 40% on Sunday. Along with the clouds and cool weather will be breezes from the north, except for Saturday when it will shift to the south to warm things up before changing back to the north on Sunday.

Tomorrow's high is forecast to be 58°, and Friday’s 74°, so if you’re planning to go to the football game Friday evening, you may want to wear something warmer than a t-shirt as temperatures will fall into the sixties. Saturday’s high will be warmer at 86°, and Sunday’s will be around 84°.

So, the next few days should be quite a contrast from the past week, which was still hot and dry. High temperatures were around 90°, but compared to what we’d been experiencing in the previous weeks, the evenings seemed quite pleasant. The high for the past seven days was yesterday afternoon’s 94°, which may turn out to be the hottest day we see for quite a while.

But for now, let’s hope we get enough moisture out of this rain to fill all the cracks in the ground and make the area wet for a change.



Published on the occasion of the flood’s 40th Anniversary.

Editor’s Note: Forty years ago, on September 8, 1980, the rains began that created the worst flood in Roscoe’s history and its wettest September ever. For readers living here then, the following article should bring back memories. Everyone was affected in one way or another, and many participated as volunteers who pitched in to keep the flood water from destroying the city’s sewer system. The following is an account of how the town battled and eventually overcame the crisis.

The intersection at Broadway and Cypress.
Since its founding some 130 years ago, the city of Roscoe has endured several floods. Heavy rains in 1894 flooded what was then the downtown area and caused the community’s business section to move to higher ground a few blocks east, where it remains to this day. Another flood in 1906 was extensive and captured in photographs of the time, and so was one in 1913, filling the lake west of town all the way to 3rd and Oak Streets. In 1932, the area got over 60 inches of rain, creating what Herschel Whittington said was standing water in area “dry lakes” for over a year. Each time, dikes and ditches were built to divert the water so that it would stay out of town. These diversions alleviated damage to the west side of Roscoe, but in 1957 almost a foot of rain fell in May, filling the lake on the east side of town and the baseball field all the way to the backstop.

But none of these earlier floods were as extensive or destructive as the great flood of 1980, which filled the cotton field on the east side of Roscoe, creating a lake that at its height held over 600 million gallons of water, damaged at least 160 homes, caused extensive damage to streets, and threatened to destroy the city sewer system.

None of this was foreseen or even suspected the first week of September 1980. It had been a dry year, particularly the summer months, not unlike the summer we’ve been having this year. Both were hot. On June 28 that year, the temperature peaked at 110°F for the first time since 1953. What rain there had been had not come at opportune times, and the area cotton and feed crops were considered a loss.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on September 8 Roscoe Mayor B. P. “Beep” Cain and other city officials spoke with a consultant about additional sources of water to supplement the city’s water wells. The consultant replied that they had little chance of tying to a reservoir because west Texas lakes were so dry that 64 inches of rain would be needed just to raise them to normal levels.

But that night it finally started to rain. At first everyone rejoiced. However, it continued all the next day, and by the time it stopped on the next, September 10, a total of 9.45 inches had fallen, the lake east of town was full, and the town was flooded.

Tropical storm Danielle, which had made landfall in south Texas days earlier, had drifted all the way up to west Texas and stalled right over Roscoe. Its heavy downpour drove some 250 residents from their homes to stay with friends or relatives or go to motels in Sweetwater.

The lake east of Roscoe. (Photo by Betty Sasin)
Sewer lines were damaged, and many collapsed. So much rainwater seeped into water and sewer pipes that residents found water coming out of the faucets when they weren’t turned on. The extra water in the pipes also caused the sewer’s lift station pumps to run constantly, and residents were urged not to use the sewage system. They also were told not to shower or take baths, forcing them to take “splash baths” or shower at the homes of friends who lived in the country or nearby towns. On September 25, Cain said many people were going into their second week without a real bath.

The City had around forty portable chemical toilets set up around town for residents to use. It also hired eight vacuum trucks to remove the waste from the portable toilets and dump it. The effort took some load off the sewer system, but the trucks were running on a 24-hour basis at a cost of $35 per hour per truck. Expenses piled up and the city’s need for financial aid grew. Mayor Cain said, “Roscoe has an annual budget of $62,000, and by the fourth day of this, we were into the 1982 budget.” He said that the City was spending $6,000 a day to haul sewage to Sweetwater and another $1000 daily for gasoline for the eight pumps.

Over 160 houses had flood damage, not only ruining carpets, inner walls, furniture, and appliances, but also the houses’ exteriors as well as structural damage to slabs and foundations.

For the next 13 days there was no rain, and the town worked hard at getting the situation under control. Pipes were laid and pumps set up to drain off the water in the “dry lake,” now a wet lake, just east of town and also in the east part of town.

The sewer farm as an island. View from Plowboy Elevator.

The Roscoe city sewer farm was in this lake with seven-foot dikes around several small pools, known as lagoons. As long as the lake water didn’t breach the outer dike, the sewer system was okay, but if it broke, it could quickly become a disaster, as Cain explained to a reporter:

Number one, if the dikes should break, as they could very well do, it would shut down our entire pumping operation completely. Number two, we would have to wait until the lake dried up to repair the dike and that could take two or three months. And three, if that happened, there would be some definite contamination. We would have to exercise extreme caution in consumption of our local water supplies. How are you going to chlorinate an entire lake? You don’t. The water would have to be allowed to dissipate naturally while Roscoe would be without a sewer system. The sun would have to do the work of killing off bacteria left over, and there is a lot more to this. What would happen to an approximate 37% of the people already suffering financially and mentally due to the conditions? This already has affected all of the people in our area, one way or another, and it could get even worse.   

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers was brought in to look into finding a long-term solution to Roscoe’s flooding problem, which had been a problem off and on for years, but the proposed solutions were in the $13 million dollar range, too much for a town Roscoe’s size to consider.

Residents with standing water in their yards were requested to put oil on the water to keep down mosquito infestation, and the city tap water was also given extra chlorination to keep it safe. But in some ways life proceeded as normal. The Plowboys continued to play their football schedule. Some people even put their boats in “Lake Roscoe” and went water skiing there.

In its attempt to drain the lake, the City had two pumps pulling out an average of over 3 million gallons a day. They ran 24 hours a day for almost two weeks with four or more people working them, which was a lot of effort and hard work. A second pipe system was constructed mainly by Texas Highway Department employees and supervisors. In the two weeks of recovery, Cain said, “Through pumping, absorption, and evaporation, the level of the flooded area had lowered the level about 13 inches.” This drop turned out to be critical with what happened next.

Cottonwood Creek.
On September 23, the rain began again. The first day 2.77 inches fell, and it fell again every day until September 29, seven days running, with a total of 8.17 more inches.

After the first day, volunteers laid over a half-mile of pipeline that night, a job that took “about two hours and eight cases of beer,” according to Don Aiken, who lent his bulldozer to the effort. Even so, more water was coming into the lake than going out as runoff flowed in from all directions.

What had been a serious inconvenience now became a crisis. As the rain continued to fall, all able-bodied residents were called on to help pack sandbags around the sewer system. The danger was that the dikes around the sewer lagoons would break or that the continued rain might make the water go over the sandbags, in which case they would lose the ability to pump the sewage out, and the City would be without sanitary facilities for a long time.

The downtown area flooded, and the all the Roscoe Nursing Home residents, about fifty old people, were evacuated and taken to the Leisure Lodge in Snyder, where they stayed for the next three weeks.

Outsiders came in to help the Roscoe volunteers. One was a team from Dyess Air Force Base 96th Civil Engineering Squadron known as Prime Beef. They came along with two busloads of Dyess volunteers, both men and women, who helped with sand-bagging operations. Roscoe’s school turned out and women and children pitched in. Elementary boys and girls reportedly filled the bags as well as the grown-ups.

On September 26, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) moved in when President Jimmy Carter signed a disaster declaration for the area. Among other things, they supplied several flooded-out residents with trailer houses while they were cleaning out their permanent homes. The trailer houses were supplied with chemical toilets.

The Roscoe Community Center became the headquarters for service organizations that came to help, as well as for the more than 200 people who needed and applied for disaster assistance.

Efforts to drain the lake continued non-stop, night and day. Five pipelines of four-inch and five-inch diameter pumped water from the lake into the Clear Fork of the Brazos drainage area for a week. But all the efforts really succeeded when a huge 18” pipe was brought in from Oklahoma and a pipeline 7,500 feet long was laid. FEMA bought the pipe, and Western Gulf personnel laid it. It was finished on September 28 and went into operation on Friday, October 1.

Water began dropping from the 550-acre lake. By this time nine pipelines were being used to drain the water.

Pipes drain the lake. (Photo by Betty Sasin)
The efforts were successful. The pumps and pipes did their jobs and engineers estimated that the pumps were dispersing about 14 million gallons a day. The crisis was averted, and the lake water never overran the sewer farm.

In summing up the operation, Mayor Beep Cain said, “There has been an extremely strong community effort. This is a perfect example of the type of West Texas attitudes that helped to rebuild burned-down barns and homes in earlier years. It’s something we are greatly blessed with. Adults, teens, non-residents, everyone has lent a hand in helping with some phase of this problem.”

“We are blessed with a lot of good people. Without the total effort that we’ve had, the situation could have been many times more serious than it already is. There’s something to be said about the quality of West Texans, and I think it’s been said here.”


Information in this article was gleaned from articles in the Roscoe Times, Sweetwater Reporter, Abilene Reporter-News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and even one from the New York Times. Many were cut out and didn’t include the dates, so the time sequence of the events they describe was sometimes uncertain or difficult to determine.

Rainfall recorded by Roscoe weatherman Harold Haynes for September 1980:

Sept.   8  -   .92”        
Sept.   9  - 8.28”      
Sept. 10  -   .25”        
Sept. 23 - 2.77”         
Sept. 24 -   .20”         
Sept. 25 -   .13”          
Sept. 26 - 1.68”         
Sept. 27 -   .92”         
Sept. 28 - 1.78”         
Sept. 29 -   .69”         

Total – 17.62”


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Plowboys Play Stamford Here Friday

The Roscoe Plowboys play their first home game of the season at Plowboy Field Friday evening when they take on an old foe, the Stamford Bulldogs. 

Both teams will be licking their wounds after being overrun by two of the best 2A teams in the state last week—the Plowboys by Hawley and the Bulldogs by Hamlin. The final score in that game was 34-0. So, both will be fighting to get back on track Friday with their first win of the year.

Stamford is a 2A-I team in the same district as Hawley, Anson, Forsan, Haskell, and Colorado City, where Texas Football picks them to finish third behind Hawley and Anson. Coach Ronnie Casey’s Bulldogs return 5 offensive and 7 defensive starters from last year’s 6-5 team that went 2-2 in district. 

They are led this year on offense by QB Zhawn Holden and on defense by lineman Cato Maclas.

Kickoff is at 7:30pm.



Playing state-ranked Hawley in Hawley was a brutal opening to the 2020 season for the Plowboys, who nevertheless stayed in the game for a little while before being overpowered by the Bearcats, a team most pundits predict to go deep into the playoffs this year.

Before a large home crowd and on a very hot evening with a game-time temperature of 100°, the Bearcats came out firing and by the end of the first quarter had established themselves with a 14-0 lead.

However, the Plowboys responded with a Kolten Hope touchdown and extra-point to get back in the game with the score at 14-7. Unfortunately, that was the high point of the evening for the Plowboys as Hawley owned the rest of the second quarter, scoring four more touchdowns before the half to put the game out of reach. The halftime score was 42-7.

At that point, the rest of the game was academic, but Hawley picked up three more TDs in the second half, two in the third quarter and one in the fourth, to put the game away. The final score was 61-7.

Scoring by quarters:
                                      1           2          3        4            T
          Hawley             14        28        13        6          61
          Plowboys           0          7          0        0            7



As time goes on, Texas’s July peak of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continues to fall, and the general outlook improves. In west Texas, schools have not closed from outbreaks  as many feared they might, and in-person classes are currently proceeding without interruption. Let’s hope they can remain that way.

In Texas, the Covid-19 numbers continue to drop from the previous week. The death rate is slowing as 1,105 Texans died of Covid-19 this past week compared to 1,326 the week before, and there were also fewer hospitalizations, 4,144 this week compared to 4,907 a week ago.  

The news is similar in the Big Country, where the rate of new cases continues to be about the same along with the number of hospitalizations. Taylor County has 362 active cases (363 last week), and Abilene currently has 25 Covid-19 hospitalizations (22 last week), 18 from in the county and 7 from outside the county. There have been 42 total Covid-19 deaths.

Nolan County currently has 11 active cases (same as last week) out of 154 positives on the year. 141 people have recovered and 2 died. Mitchell County has 12 active cases (14 last week) out of 73 on the year with 60 recovered and 1 death. Fisher County has 12 active cases (21 last week) out of 59 on the year with 46 recovered and 1 death. Scurry County has 40 active cases (47 last week) out of 293 on the year with 252 recovered and 2 deaths.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Erath, 693 (633); Jones, 598 (604); Scurry, 546 (532); Brown, 480 (447); Howard, 281 (258); Comanche, 216 (206); Runnels, 200 (183); Nolan, 153 (147); Eastland, 114 (106); Stephens, 113 (114); Mitchell, 73 (73); Callahan 70 (57); Knox, 67 (64); Fisher, 59 (52); Haskell, 54 (51); Coleman, 53 (45); Coke, 49 (48); Shackelford, 24 (21); Stonewall, 10 (8); Kent, 7 (7); Throckmorton, 5 (4).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 7,485 (6,918); Midland, 3,272 (3,094); Ector (Odessa), 2,818 (2,703); Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,041 (1,975); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.324 (1,227).

Texas now has had a total of 617,333 cases (586,730 a week ago), 89,791 of them active (108,604 a week ago), and 12,681 total deaths (11,576 a week ago).



Monday's rainbow. (Photo by Eden Baker)
Good heavens! What is all that wet stuff in the yard that I woke up to this morning? I’m thinking it’s about an inch of rain. (Kenny Landfried has the official total at 1.14".) But it’s been so long since I’ve seen any, I’m afraid to say for sure. It started falling late last night and kept it up for an hour or so. Anyway, it was enough to close the cracks in the ground in the back yard, so I’m not complaining. My garden this morning looks perkier than it has for some time now.

This past couple of days has been quite a contrast from the weather we’ve been getting since around July. I guess we can attribute it to the change of months. After all, September averages out to be the second wettest month of the year in Roscoe, just behind May, which gets more rain than any other.

The warmup to last night’s action occurred the day before when we got about .3” here in town. Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried had an official .25”. In that storm, which was more bark than bite, there was an abundance of thunder and lightning but not much to show for it, although I’m sure some of the folks living closer to Loraine must have got more than we did in town.

Before that, the month of August remained hot to the end with every day of last week reaching over 95°F and three going over 100°. The hottest day was Friday, when the high was 104°.

Despite the August heat and dryness, my jujube tree had another bumper crop, and it was nice to be out picking them off the tree yesterday afternoon while listening to the locusts (a.k.a. cicadas) make their familiar buzzing sound, which to me is a happy noise that typifies the lazy days of late summer in Roscoe.

The forecast for the coming week is a welcome change from the August heat. Today’s high is in the 80s for the first time in about a month, 86° to be exact. And there’s a 20% chance of rain. Those chances will diminish to 10% tomorrow and return to 20% for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And the forecast high temperatures for the rest of this week are 92° tomorrow, 89° Friday, and 88° Saturday. So, welcome September, I like you already!



Editor’s note: Since news is a bit slow this week, I’m running a memoir from the January 22, 2014, posting of the Hard Times. It is from a short booklet by John Beryl Witherspoon, who grew up in Roscoe in the 1920s. Since there were no televisions or smartphones back then, entertainment was naturally quite different, and medicine shows traveling from town to town —remember the Wizard of Oz?—entertained the locals and sold them their “snake oil” cures.

by John Beryl Witherspoon

An early day medicine show. (Photo from internet)

Other shows came to our town, but the ones that were the most popular were the “Medicine Shows” because they were free.  We were dirt poor but didn’t know it because we had no standard to compare ourselves with.  Most everybody borrowed money from the bank to live on until the next crop was out.  Everybody was reluctant to spend the “Bank’s Money” on entertainment, so everybody came to the medicine shows because they didn’t cost anything.  When the fall of the year came, there was a deluge of them.  The crops were out and all the merchants who had extended credit to all of us during the year were paid, and we had money jangling in our pockets.  But they avoided us like the plague in the spring when we were “strapped.”  But, when fall came, it was payday for everybody.

Many medicine shows came our way, but the most prominent one was “Doctor Tate’s Medicine Show,” which came out of Corpus Christi every year.  He always made our town once a year.

Medicine shows were unique because it took only one truck and two men to run them.  The truck was designed so that one side would “let down,” thus making a stage.  Then, there was a side door into the truck, and it could be used to store the “medicine” and for sleeping quarters.

The man in charge of medicine shows was always a Doctor!  His credentials were questionable, but who cared as long as we were being entertained?

His assistant was usually a young man of some accomplishments who could play an instrument and sing and dance, and he was the stooge who went through the onlookers and delivered the medicine.  I say onlookers because there were no seats; we all stood on our feet.

If the “Doctor” addressed his assistant, he always called him Mr Moe.  They were very formal in their conversations, which went on throughout the show.  When the show opened, the “Doctor” might come on the stage and bring a bottle of his medicine.  He would hold it up so everybody could see it and describe all the ailments that it would “positively” cure.  He would go on to explain that it was a very rare and private formula which had been given to him by Chief Tonna-wa-hoo, whose life he had saved in a raging prairie fire in Oklahoma.  And, that the Chief swore that he had not given it to a living soul before then.

Anyway, it was intriguing.

Mr. Moe would come out on the stage and entertain us with some songs and dances.  He always had make-up on.  Sometimes he would be a country bumpkin and at others he would be a black-face.

He would come out among the onlookers with his arms loaded with medicine and “Snake Oil” that was guaranteed to cure the pains of all aching joints and muscles.

The Doctor carried on continuing conversation while he was out there.  He might say, “Mr. Moe, do you know how to make ice water?”

“I don’t think I do know how to make ice water.  How do you make ice water?”

“Peel an onion.  That’ll make your eyes water!”

Then, Mr. Moe would scream, “Sold out!  Give me some more medicine, Doctor!” Everybody would have a big hearty laugh and wait to see what happened next and buy more medicine.

Then maybe Doctor Tate would say, “Mr. Moe, which hand do you stir your coffee with?”

Mr. Moe would say, “Let’s see, I think I stir it with my left hand.”

Then, Doctor Tate would say, “That’s funny.  I use a spoon.” Everybody would laugh again and buy more medicine.

Later, I asked my grandfather why everybody was so anxious to buy Doctor Tate’s medicines and elixirs, and he said, “It’s laced with alcohol and two tablespoons full of it will make anybody feel better!”

I suppose that was so as evidenced by all the empty medicine bottles piled up behind the billboards after the show left town.

That was our town and we loved it.  Others have their memories, maybe at a different time, but just the same, it was “Our Home Town.”



Editor’s Note: The above memoir of old Roscoe reminds me of my own medicine-show days. As many of you know, in my younger years I traveled the world and worked at many jobs, and one was as a salesman in a medicine show. In 1969, my traveling companion and I arrived in Bangkok from India, both of us almost broke and without any prospects in sight. I immediately began letting everyone know I was looking for any kind of work available.

I was drinking tea at the café of a cheap hotel frequented by low-budget travelers when I was approached by a pudgy, middle-aged Thai man who introduced himself as Banjo. He asked me in broken English if I’d be willing to work with him and his Chinese partner in a traveling medicine show. He said he’d pay me 110 baht* a day plus free meals and drinks. I was down to $7.00, so I was happy to accept.  

*110 baht was $5.50 in American money, but it wemt a long way in Bangkok back then, when a cheap hotel with shower and AC was 30 baht a night, and a meal of Thai fried rice 3 baht.

The next morning, he and his partner met me at the café, bought my breakfast, and away we went in his Volkswagen van loaded with boxes of an herbal medicine called Tahng Kwe Ee, a Chinese remedy made from a root something like ginseng. It was said to cure backaches, arthritis, rheumatism, and most other maladies and pains. It was sold as pills in bottles, where the directions said it should be taken before bedtime with Mekhong, an inexpensive Thai liquor of about 70 proof.

My job was to attract a crowd. In those days before Thailand had supermarkets, most daily needs came from public markets, where we’d set up with a small stage, speakers and microphone. If we were in a Thai market, Banjo would open the show, making some welcoming remarks in Thai and introducing me as an American medical doctor, who wanted to speak to them about this amazing medicine we were selling.

I always began my speech with “Ladies and gentlemen, good morning (or afternoon)!” in English, which almost all of them understood, even if their English was minimal. Then, as Banjo told me to do, I’d hold up a bottle of medicine and say anything that came to my mind because they wouldn’t understand what it was, anyway. They still crowded around because having an American in their neighborhood market was unusual. Then Banjo made his pitch in Thai while the Chinese guy handled the sales.

When we were in a Chinese neighborhood, my job was the same, but the Chinese guy made the introductions and pitch, while Banjo made the sales.* 

*Almost 1/3 of the population of Bangkok back then was ethnic Chinese.

We sold lots of Tahng Kwe Ee. I was told that many old people liked to buy it, even if they weren’t convinced of its healing powers, because it gave them an excuse to have a nip of Mekhong every evening.

I worked with Banjo and the Chinese guy, whose name I forget, for a couple of weeks, and in that time I think we hit every neighborhood market in Bangkok along with several others in nearby towns. We met for breakfast at six o’clock and went until five or six in the afternoons seven days a week. After a couple of weeks, I’d saved enough money to buy some nice new clothes and still have some money in my pocket, so I quit and moved on to other endeavors.



Graveside services for Ione Madell (Benningfield) Willis, 84, of Sweetwater will be at 11:00am this morning, September 2, 2020 at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene with Jim Rhodes officiating. She will finally be reunited with her Knight in Shining Armor at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery. She passed away Monday, August 31, at Nolan Nursing and Rehab Center.

Madell was born December 30, 1935, at Sanco, Texas to the late Clarence and Zelma (Smith) Benningfield. She married Maynard Roy Willis July 28, 1954, in Clairmont, Texas. Maynard passed away November 21, 2017. She lived in Roscoe and Sweetwater for 60 plus years. She graduated from Alpena High School in Alpena, Arkansas, worked for Snead’s Drug Store in Roscoe, worked as a telephone operator with Southwestern Bell from 1956-1976, and had worked as a sales clerk for Sears and Cox Jewelers.

She is survived by her daughters, Toby Hirt and Rex of Roscoe; Melanie Burnett and Brent of Sweetwater; granddaughters, Latimer Burnett of Sweetwater and Timorie Wilke and Shawn of Sweetwater; great-grandchildren, Taygan, Taytan, and Taylan Wilke of Sweetwater; brother, Don Benningfield and Doty of Clairmont, Texas; niece, Diane Otwell of Denton; nephew, Anthony Huff and Mary Kay of Potosi; and two great nieces, Melinda and LaTonne of Denton.

Madell is also preceded in death by a brother, S.C. Benningfield, Jr.; sisters, Rose Davis, Lois Huff and Joann Cape and a great nephew, Casey Leo Huff.

Pallbearers will be Rex Hirt, Brent Burnett, Shawn Wilke and Brian Sehon.



Military graveside services for Robert Z. “Rob” Drake will be at 10:00am Saturday, September 5, at Sweetwater Cemetery with Pastor Edgar Francisco Trinidad officiating. Family, friends and veterans are welcome. He died on Friday, August 28, in San Angelo at his home with family by his side.

Rob was born on February 13, 1955, in Sweetwater, the middle son to Bob and Lanelle Drake. He graduated from Roscoe High School and then served in the United States Marine Corps. Rob worked as a millwright in the construction industry for most of his life, many of which were spent with the Fluor Corporation. This work took him all over the country for different projects. Rob loved hunting arrowheads and all things Native American history. An immeasurable number of hours were devoted to hunting for his next ‘rock.’ Rob also enjoyed cooking, hunting, fishing, and watching sports, especially football.

He is survived by his wife Rosa Drake of San Angelo; his children, Bobby Drake and wife Ambra of Waxahachie, Rebecca Drake & Kris of Houston, Candy Batres and husband Rafa of Lerdo Durango, Mexico, Jesus Villarreal of Eden; his grandchildren Makenna, Carlos, Aubrey, Saul, Mya, Kenley, and Nolan. He is also survived by his mother, Lanelle Drake of Roscoe, two brothers, John Drake & wife Janet of Canyon, and David Drake & wife Connie of Lake Whitney, and nephews Jay, Dustin, Josh, and Daniel.

He is preceded in death by his father, Bob Drake.


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