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Besides giving a Texas-size welcome to all the people who visit Pecos
every year, the city offers a fascinating and entertaining array of
annual events that range from related community activities to the famous
West of the Pecos Rodeo.
Known for being "Home of the World's First Rodeo," it provides visitors
with four days of excitement as top professional cowboys from all over
the world meet at the rodeo grounds to compete for top prizes.
The rodeo is held around the Fourth of July each year and brings people
from all over the United States and some foreign countries.
The first rodeo, on July 4, 1883, came about when cowboys from Pecos
area ranches gathered downtown to ride, rope and test their skills. The
rodeo became an annual event in 1929.
Several activities help to enhance the four-day rodeo festivities in an
to bring the community together and open the doors to visitors.
This year, a trade show has been added to the list of rodeo activities.
The trade show will feature many merchants from the region, and will be
held inside the Reeves County Civic Center, adjacent to the rodeo
grounds. The RCCC will be open all day for people to browse through the
trade show at their convenience.
Two events are traditionally held with the annual rodeo. The Golden
Girl Revue is a full fledged pageant that names a Pecos High School
junior to represent the community during the coming year. This year, the
Little Miss Cantaloupe pageant will be held in conjunction with the
Golden Girl Revue.
Fiesta Night in Old Pecos features food and fun from the Old West along
with a colorful and cheerful display of the community's Hispanic
The Cantaloupe Festival, which used to take place in August, will now
be held along with the Fiesta Night in Old Pecos celebration.
Other activities include the colorful rodeo parade, the nostalgic Old
Timers' Reunion and many more rodeo-related events.
The Windmill Square Playhouse, a group of community theater actors who
present Old West melodramas, is another summer-time activity that has
attracted both tourists and local residents.
Two events are also observed to celebrate the cultural diversity of
Diez y Seis de Septiembre, Mexico's Independence Day, is held around
Sept. 16 and is sponsored by Santa Rosa Catholic Church. The celebration
includes a wide display of food, family activities, crowning of queens
and lively music.
The community and tourists also enjoy the Reeves County Fair and
barbecue beef cook-off at the fairgrounds.
The Reeves-Loving Counties Livestock Show and Sale is held in January.
Students from various communities in the two counties participate in the event, which is supported by civic groups and local businesses.
The three-story hotel was considered to be the finest between Fort
Worth and El Paso. Room furnishings shipped from Chicago include an iron
bed, two chairs, a washstand with a pitcher and basin and a mirrored
dresser and rug.
Several hotel rooms contain carefully constructed dioramas depicting
life in West Texas 100 years ago.
Visitors will experience re-creations of a turn-of-the-century dining
room, kitchen, bridal-suite, school-room, doctor's office, barber shop
and beauty salon featuring an interesting permanent-wave machine.
The railroad figured prominently in the development of the area and the
railroad room features the stained-glass ticket window from the original
Texas and Pacific depot built in 1883.
Other stained-glass windows from early churches are displayed as well.
The recently opened third floor reflects the history of other
communities in the county: Toyah, Saragosa, Brogado, Balmorhea,
Toyahvale and Barstow from Ward County.
Additional rooms are dedicated to the history of the Hispanic- and
The "Number 11" Saloon remains unchanged. Brass markers on the floor
show where outlaws Bill Barheart and John Denson fell, killed in 1896 in
a gunfight with local resident Barney Riggs.
The Western Heritage Collection has saddles, brands and branding irons,
barbed wire samples and various cowboy equipment. The Rodeo exhibit
shows our history as the "Home of the World's First Rodeo."
Visitors to the Museum Park can see the grave of the Gentleman
Gunfighter, Clay Allison. In addition, the farm and ranch equipment
annex is just east of the museum, across U.S. 285 (S. Cedar St.).
The newest exhibit is the Frying Pan Ranch Chuckwagon. It is located on
Oak Street adjacent to the park. The building containing the exhibit was
restored to house the 100-year-old chuckwagon and the equipment that was
used on the Scarborough Ranch. All this was made possible by funding
from Tom and Evelyn Linebery.
Visitors to the West of the Pecos Museum are guaranteed a delightful
experience into our rich and colorful West Texas history with "Texas friendly" hospitality.
We show the many items designed by local artisans. Among their
selections are a children's tea set, kid's fossil kits, gloves,
jodhpurs, tee-shirts, jewelry, music, books and watercolors.
Their Pecos Bill hero and his sweetheart, Slue Foot Sue, are always
featured. Dolls, charms, chaps, skirts & vests for kids, story books,
color books, videos and cassettes all express "that pair's" great
adventures here in the wild west. The proceeds benefit the West of the
Thank you for stopping by and exploring their cultural trivia housed in
The Mesquite House Gallery and Gifts is open during museum hours.
June 15 - July 15: Special Exhibits/Pioneer Family & Rodeo, Annual
June 27: Golden Girl Revue at Pecos High School Auditorium 8 p.m.
June 28: Fiesta Night in Old Pecos, Museum Park; Museum Dinner
Fundraiser by local restaurants
July 2: Old Timer's Reunion, 33rd annual, 8 a.m. - noon; Courtyard
Rodeo Parade Viewing - Front of Building
July 4: Reeves County Anglo Pioneer Family Reception, 9:30 - 11:30
July 2-5: 115th West of the Pecos Rodeo, 8 p.m. - Buck Jackson Arena
July 19: Pecos Bill Day
August 9: Kid's of the Museum, Annual - 1 - 3 p.m. lst-3rd grades; 4 -
6 p.m. 4th-6th grades
September 1-30: Hispanic Heritage Month Exhibits, 11th Annual
September 13: Reeves County Hispanic Pioneer Family Reception &
Program, 7:30 p.m.
October 19: Friends of the Museum Bake Sale, Annual
November 4: Chili N' Fixin's Fundraiser, Election Day Lunch, Annual
November 15-December 15: Book Sale, 25% off, Annual
December 1-31: Live Decorated Tree Exhibit , Donated by individuals and
decorated by school children
December 6: Kids of the Museum Christmas Party, 4-6 p.m., Annual
December 6: Lighting of 500+ luminarias around museum & park, 6 p.m.,
Annual December 6: Friends of the Museum Christmas Party, 6:30 p.m., Annual
Roads to any of those locations are rarely crowded, but as for the
parks themselves, its best to call ahead for reservations for overnight
The longest trip, a three hour drive south, is the Big Bend
National Park. Big Bend Ranch and the towns of Terlingua and
Lajitas are also in the area, while Presidio and Ojinaga, Mex., are to
the west of the park, 160 miles south of Pecos.
The fastest way there is U.S. 285 south to FM 1776, and from there
south past Interstate 10 to Alpine, via U.S. 67. From there, Texas 188
takes you the remaining 90 or so miles to the park entrance.
Big Bend National Park has become the second-most visited site in Texas
after the Alamo, according to recent surveys. But its size and location
- about 180 miles south of Pecos - still keep visitors in relative
isolation compared to other national parks. Fees are $10 per vehicle or
$5 per person for cyclists and those on tour buses. Overnight campground
fees are $7.
The adjacent Big Bend Ranch was purchased by the state of Texas in 1988
and remains under development. Lajitas is the nearest town to the ranch
entrance, and is also one of the starting points for Rio Grande raft
riders. Terlingua, 10 miles west, is at the entrance of the Big Bend
Park, and is most famous for its fall chili cookoff.
Presidio is 60 miles west of the Big Bend on Ranch Road 170, one of the
most spectacular roads in the State, as it winds up and down the canyons
of the Rio Grande. Presidio is one of the oldest cities in Texas, and
can also be reached from Pecos on Texas 17 and U.S. 67 through Marfa.
Presidio has a population of roughly 5,000, though Ojinaga, its sister
city across the border, has a population of about 30,000.
Another national park not yet overcrowded with visitors is the
Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It's 100-miles northwest of
Pecos, by taking U.S. 285 north to Orla, and FM 652 and U.S. 62-180 west
towards El Paso.
One of the newest parks in the federal system, it contains Guadalupe
Peak, Texas' tallest at 8,749 feet, and the adjacent El Capitan, with
its 4,000-foot limestone cliff that was once a barrier reef when a
shallow sea covered the Permian Basin.
At the eastern end of the park is McKitrick Canyon, where hikers can
visit one of the few areas of West Texas where trees still survive in a
forest setting, due to the high altitude and cooler temperatures. Fees
at the park are $6 for overnight campground permits.
In between the two sites, visitors can also see one of the stops used
by the Butterfield Overland Stage, whose route travelled through
Guadalupe Pass 125 years ago. The pass itself is a spectacular road,
dropping about 1,700 feet in eight miles with a view stretching south
and west of almost 70 miles on clear days.
The most famous park in the Pecos area is 25 miles to the east of
Guadalupe Peak. Carlsbad Caverns, a national park, is the
second-largest cavern in the U.S., but, perhaps, the nation's most
famous, due to its variety of formations. The Caverns are open
year-round, and can be reached off U.S. 62-180, either from the west off
FM 652, or from the east off U.S. 285, which meets 62-180 in Carlsbad,
Access to the cave is both by elevator and from the natural entrance
daily between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CDT. That natural entrance route
is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, and admission is $6 for
adults and $3 for children ages 6-15 and seniors.
The nightly bat-flight from the cave occurs at sunset during the spring
and summer months, while special tours to smaller caverns can be signed
up for, though those are held only on certain days and require more
Camping areas are available at Balmorhea State Park, but
it's also a popular day trip for area residents. The only state park
within Reeves County, it's located 42 miles south of Pecos on Highway 17
at Toyahvale, and boasts the largest spring-fed pool in the world, along
with a newly-restored wetlands area on the northeast edge of the park.
Entry fee to the park is $3 per person.
The pool was built in the 1930s, on the former wetlands site, and is
fed by San Solomon Springs. After being used in the pool the spring's
water then flows into the cienega, completed in 1996, where
pupfish and other endangered animals native to the area can find a
The cienega was created by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife,
in co-operation with area farmers in the southern part of the county,
who use the water for irrigation once it has left the park.
Because the water is needed for crops after it leaves the pool, no
chlorine is added, which means swimmers share the pool with both plants
and fish - something that may surprise first-time visitors.
The pool is over 25 feet deep in some spots, and is used by area scuba
divers to get their certification, since it's the closest thing to deep
water area West Texas has.
Overnight housing and camping facilities also are available on the east
side of the pool, where state workers are nearing completion of a
man-made pond about that is designed to recreate the area around the
springs prior to construction of the park.
About half an hour further south on Texas 17 is the Fort Davis
National Historic Site. It was built in the mid-1800s and has been
partially reconstructed in recent years. Named after former U.S.
Secretary of War (and former Confederate President) Jefferson Davis, it
later housed the Buffalo Soldiers regiment.
The historic buildings, combined with recorded programs and displays,
give visitors a taste of life in the military during the Indian Wars of
the 19th Century. Entry fee is $2 per person.
West of Fort Davis on Texas 118 is McDonald Observatory.
Operated by the University of Texas, the 54-year old observatory
on Mount Locke is adding a new 400-inch telescope to its current optical
Public viewing is scheduled once each month by the observatory, though
the building itself is open daily. It's about 15 miles from Fort Davis.
Travelers from Pecos can either travel to Fort Davis first, or head west
to Kent, and from there southeast on Texas 118. Either way is about an
85 mile drive.
In-between those sites is Davis Mountain State Park, where
day-trippers or campers can take advantage of the cooler mile-high
environment during the summer months. Park fees are $2 per person during
the day and $1 for overnight stays.
To the east of Pecos is the Monahans Sandhills State Park.
Located at exit 86 off I-20, the Sandhills are part of a formation of
drifting sands that stretches from near Crane into Southeastern New
Mexico. Entry fee is $2 per person.
The sandhills just to the northeast of Kermit as its crosses Texas 115
is a favorite for area dirt bikers and three wheelers and is open to the
public without charge.
As for the Republic site made famous earlier this month, the Davis
Mountain Estates are private property, but you can drive by the location
where law enforcement officers and the media set up camp, on Texas 166 between Fort Davis and Valentine.
Varsity school sports are football, volleyball, swimming, basketball,
golf, tennis, track and baseball at Pecos High School. Balmorhea High
School has those same sports, with the exception of swimming, golf and
Summer programs for P-B-T students in track, golf, swimming,
volleyball, basketball and weight training will open later this week and
next and run through July.
BASEBALL - The Pecos Little League is open to boys and girls from
ages 8-12, and runs from April through June. There are three divisions
with 21 teams, which play Mondays through Saturdays at the league's
Chano Prieto Field in Pecos. Other games are played at Jim Sample Field
in Maxey Park and in Barstow.
Pecos Senior League and Junior League teams play at Maxey Park in May
and June. A total of eight teams compete, and are made up of players
ages 13-15. Games are played Mondays through Fridays.
Pecos and Saragosa also have teams in the area's `Old Timers League'
which plays doubleheaders on Sundays during the summer.
FISHING - Fishermen who want to get right at it can try their
luck in the nearby Pecos River, although most will travel to Reeves
County's two lakes - Red Bluff and Balmorhea Lake - at opposite ends of
Red Bluff is located 40 miles north of Pecos off U.S. 285, and is fed
by the Pecos River. The lake, which runs from north of Orla into the
southern part of Eddy County, N.M., is stocked by the Texas Department
of Parks and Wildlife and is the largest body of water within a 200 mile
radius. Improved rains during the past year have helped raise the level
of the water some, though its still below the high levels reached 10
The lake is made saline by outflow from a salt spring just inside the
New Mexico state line, but mandatory water releases from upriver have
improved the water quality a bit in recent years, and a desalinization
project is in the works.
For information on Red Bluff, call 1-273-4645.
Balmorhea Lake is fed by San Solomon Spring. The lake is also stocked
by TP&W and the spring, though water level there can vary according to
irrigation use by area farmers. Fishing tournaments are held at the
lake, including a youth tournament scheduled to begin Saturday morning.
Balmorhea Lake is located about 1½ miles south of Balmorhea off Texas
17. For further information, call 1-375-2308.
FOOTBALL - Youth and men's flag football leagues are held during
the fall at Maxey Park.
GOLF - The Reeves County Golf Course is an 11-hole course located
just off I-20 at Country Club Drive. It's open daily under normal
conditions. For further information, call 447-2858.
Chaparral Village Golf Course hugs the Pecos River just east of town on
Business I-20. The nine-hole course just re-opened a year ago, and
features mostly par-3 holes.
A three-hole mini-course is open 25 miles east in Pyote, and other
cities in the area also feature 9- to 18-hole golf courses.
HUNTING - Dove hunting season begins in late summer, and Reeves
County is usually placed in both the north and central zones. Zones are
realigned annually by the TP&W, which cut back the south zone and
white-winged dove zones to the Del Rio area last year.
Deer season (late fall) and quail are the other two main animals hunted
in the area. Reeves and counties to the south are in zone G this year.
Counties to the west will be in Zone A, with tighter restrictions.
TP&W also holds a hunting lottery for bighorn sheep, which have just
been reintroduced into neighboring Culberson County.
RODEO - You need a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association card to
compete in most of the events at the West of the Pecos Rodeo during the
Fourth of July weekend, but there are a few local events, including the
Wild Horse Race and the wild Cow Milking competition, open to all
For younger riders, the area's 4-H Clubs sponsor the Tri-County Horse
Show playdays. They run monthly between April and October at sites in
Reeves, Ward, Winkler and Loving Counties, including the Buck Jackson
RUNNING - The eight-lane track is open at Pecos High School daily
for individual workouts.
SWIMMING - Pecos has one public outdoor pools, at Maxey Park,
which is open during the summer. Youth and adult swimming periods are
evenings at the Pecos High School natatorium, while Balmorhea State Park
is open during the summer beginning this weekend, and offers the largest
spring-fed swimming pool in the United States.
SOFTBALL - Men's league play is scheduled to begin soon on
Mondays through Thursdays at Maxey Park. Youth and co-ed leagues will be
held there later this summer.
T-BALL - Boys and girls ages 4-7 will have their summer T-Ball
league again this June and July. The leagues are run by the Pecos Little
TENNIS - Courts are available evenings at Pecos High School. They are also the site of youth and adult tournament play during late June.
The Annual Fall Fair Concert has been set for Oct. 4. At least five top
Tejano or popular music groups will be featured.
The concert is held yearly in conjunction with the fall fair which has
been set for the following weekend, Oct. 10-12.
A carnival will be in town for the entire two weeks of celebration
surrounding fall fair activities.
The Mariachi Festival, which used to be held in conjunction with the
Fall Fair was held in April this year.
The festival features several mariachi groups from around the area
including New Mexico, San Antonio, El Paso and even as far away as
Local mariachi groups are also featured at the annual event which is sponsored by Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
P-B-T ISD is fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency and
provides a quality academic educational program for pre-kindergarten
through 12th grade.
Pecos High School includes grades 9 through 12, while junior high
students attend Zavala Middle School seventh and Crockett Middle School
eighth grade schools. Pecos Kindergarten has pre-kindergarten and
kindergarten classes. First and second graders attend Austin Elementary
School; third graders, Pecos Elementary; fourth and fifth graders,
Bessie Haynes Elementary; and sixth graders, Lamar Elementary, while
Barstow Elementary caters to first through fifth graders.
The first school in Reeves County was opened in 1883, and the Pecos
Independent School District was organized in 1915. Barstow and Toyah
consolidated with Pecos ISD in 1969 and 1974 respectively. The current
district serves most of Reeves County and western Ward County.
An outstanding career and technology program is provided at the
secondary level. Also offered are special education programs for
pre-school and school-age children and gifted and talented programs for
grades 2 through 12.
The school district also maintains a drop-out recovery program for
students who have dropped out of school or are at risk of doing so.
A bilingual program is offered by P-B-T ISD for students in
kindergarten through third grade. For students in the fourth through
12th grades, the district provides an ESL (English as a Second Language)
The P-B-T board of education meets the second Thursday of each month in
the board room across the street from the high school at 1304 S. Park
Street. They are: President Frank Perea, Vice-President Alberto Alvarez,
Secretary Daisy Roquemore, Trustee Freddy Lujan, Trustee Linda Gholson,
Trustee Earl Bates and Trustee Steve Armstrong. Mario Sotelo is superintendent of schools.
Many of the services Pecos has to offer including the fire department
and ambulance service is composed of volunteers. Individuals also
support the Reeves County Library and the West of the Pecos Museum.
More than 50 organizations are what make Pecos a better place to live
and help with a lot of the services offered here.
Clubs, groups and organization presidents as of late 1995 are: Adopt a
Highway, Larry Levario; American Association of Retired Persons, Willie
Hamilton; American Heart Association, Dr. David Lovett; Band Boosters,
Linda Chabarria; Beta Sigma Phi, Lyndia Thomas; Boy Scouts, Barney Lee;
Business and Professional Women, Karon Shelton; Crooked River Road
Riders, David Elliott; Elks, Larry Parker; Elketts, Patsy Brasher and
Evening Optimist, Ruben Dominguez.
Other clubs include, Friends of Library, Jackie Tollett; Friends of
Museum, Dorinda Venegas; Girl Scouts, Bertha Natividad; Guadalupanas,
Petra Alvarado; Hospital Auxiliary, Zelma Canon; Knights of Columbus,
Oscar Saenz; Leadership Pecos, Tom Rivera; Lions Club, Dan Painter and
Merry Homes and Garden, Ruby Fay Newton.
Also, Merry Wives, Becky Heard; Mexican American Historical Club,
Alberto Alvarez; Modern Study Club, Margie Williamson, Pecos Art
Association, Jeri McAlpine and Pecos FFA Rick Bracy.
Also, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD A.N.G.E.L. Program, school administration
office; Pecos Little League, Steve Reyes; Pecos Senior League, Jesse
Rayos; Pecos Palette Club, Bea Owens; Pecos Chamber of Commerce, Tom
Rivera and Pecos E.M.S., Bill Randall Cole.
Also, Pecos Tree Board, Judy Tipton; Pecos Ambassadors, Debbie Thomas;
Pecos Art Association, Rita Mosser/Rey Whitley; Pecos Rifle and Pistol,
Louis Aten, Police Explorers, Pam Bustillos; Porcelain Art Club, Doris
Moore; Rio Extension Club, Reeves County Extension and Reeves County
Sheriff's Posse, Leman Barmore.
Also, Reeves County Rodeo Association, Jim Bob McNeil; Reeves County
FFA, Bailey Wheelis; Reeves County Hospital Auxiliary, Maggie Bippes;
Rotary Club, Bob Curry; Senior Citizen's Center, Donna Woodard; Shriner
Club, Bob Curry; Toys for Tots, Sophie Baeza; Twentieth Century Club,
Judy Clark; Pecos Chamber of Commerce, Paul Hinojos; VFW, Bill
Davenport; Volunteer Fire Department, Jack Brookshire; West of the Pecos
Golden Gloves, Fred Martin; West of the Pecos Museum, Dorinda Venegas
and Xi Beta Sigma, Tracy Shaw.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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