Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, June 24, 1998
Ricochet hitting Pecos
Award-winning band in town for July 4
Two former Pecosites will be returning to their roots on the
Fourth of July and bringing with them a busload of talent.
Jeff and Jr. Bryant, now members of the popular band
Ricochet, will be performing in Pecos on Saturday, July 4,
at the Reeves County Civic Center.
Ricochet will be performing at the Civic Center on the final
night of the West of the Pecos Rodeo, which will also be a
return of sorts for them. As members of the Lariat Band in
the late 1980s and early 1990s, they performed at the rodeo
dances, as well as providing music for the annual Golden
Girl of the Old West Pageant.
Ricochet earned Country Music's and Country Weekly
Magazine's Top New Vocal Group of the Year Awards in 1996.
They also earned "Group of the Year" honors in the Radio and
Records Reader's Poll, and their debut album found them
registered by SoundScan as the #1-selling group in country
music for 19 straight weeks.
With a number one record, "Daddy's Money," and three top-10
singles under their belt, Ricochet is set to release a third
disc in early fall of 1998.
Ricochet has a solid grasp of great songs and the father/son
production team of Ron Chancey and Blake Chancey (A&R
Columbia Records/Nashville) on this project. The band has
just wrapped up the production and is on a constant touring
schedule throughout North America.
This six-member band is made up Heath Wright, lead vocals
and guitar; Eddie Kilgallon, keyboards; Jr. Bryant, fiddle;
Jeff Bryant, drums; Teddy Carr, steel guitar and Greg Cook,
The Bryants hail from a gifted family, their father Jimmy is
a keyboard player who once worked with Roy Orbison; their
sister is a good singer and their mother a bass guitar
player. It was the brothers who, back in 1993, formed
Ricochet, after asking Wright to join their former outfit,
Lariat. Onstage - wielding a Wilhelf Wolf violin - Jr. cites
influences ranging from Vassar Clements to Jean Luc Ponty,
while remaining faithful to his guiding light, Bob Wills
(he's also a Roy Rogers fanatic; a personal meeting with his
idol remains one of his career highlights).
Jeff grew up handling everything from 4/4 shuffles to
Tex-Mex to R&B; he the rare drummer who's a dynamo, but
never overplays. "You don't want to be a showboat," he says,
"the secret is always to feel the song."
A veteran of roadwork with Clay Walker, Little Jimmy Dickens
and Jack Greene, Lafayette, Tennessee's Teddy Carr, inspired
by Chet Atkins' 8-tracks, had dreams as a kid of playing
guitar. An accident (on a Friday, 13th), changed all that -
after putting it through glass doors, he lost a lot of
sensitivity in his left hand. "It was a blessing in
disguise," he says, "I moved on to pedal steel."
Noted for their soaring harmonies and brotherly kinship,
Ricochet is a solid touring act, sharing the stage with such
superstars as John Michael Montgomery, Travis Tritt and Tim
Lead vocalist and guitar gunslinger Heath Wright commented
on the group's latest effort, "Blink of An Eye." "It's a
more confident performance, the songs are real strong, and
the band's matured a lot," said Wright.
"Of course 261 days on the road will do that, there's
nothing like the heat of constant performance to refine the
player's fire," he said.
Bassist Greg Cook, who also happens to have a degree in
biology and chemistry is the resident brain. "This record
felt like it was a long time coming," said Cook. "We'd made
the first one 18 months ago. A first records is
intimidating, it's like being held under a microscope," he
"For the second, we'd had more than a year of getting to
know our producers, and we felt free this time to make more
suggestions, to try out newer things," he said.
Jeff Bryant emphatically agrees. "Yeah, this record has a
little more meat to it," he said.
The producers Cook fondly cites are co-producers (and
co-manager) Ron Chancey (Oak Ridge Boys, Sawyer Brown) and
Ed Seay (Martina McBride, Collin Raye); together, they
helped sift through demos for such surefire potential hits
as the breathtaking ballad and first single, "He Left Alot
To Be Desired" and rocking workouts like "Blink of An Eye"
and "You Can't Go By That."
"They're a perfect team, Ron's a master of `feel' and Ed's
technical prowess is amazing," said Cook.
Teddy Carr, is the outfit's pedal steel wizard. "On this
record the material is great, and the vocals are bigger this
time around," said Carr.
The group's vocal trademark is achieved, according to Heath,
by layering two tenor parts (Jeff and Jr's.) atop the lead,
then adding a baritone (keyboardist Eddie Kilgallon) and low
tenor (Greg) beneath. Ricochet's group singing has drawn
comparisons to Restless Heart, Southern Pacific and the
Eagles, flattering, to be sure, even while the actual sound
"People sometimes ask us to describe our style," said Jeff
Bryant. "And I always, reply, `well, that'd be Ricochet,'"
Irrigation water salt content up
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Like all of West Texas, the Ward County Irrigation District
#1 suffers from a lack of rain. Rain to start a new alfalfa
crop. Rain to store in Red Bluff Lake for future irrigation.
Rain to cool blistering-hot weather.
"As long as it doesn't rain, we are not going to have more
or better water," said district chairman Raul Garcia.
Salt in the water is the big problem, and stagnation makes
"The water just stays there and stagnates. What stays behind
after evaporation is salt," Garcia said.
Despite that, the district is working hard to deliver water
to two large farming operations and numerous small ones
along the Pecos River.
"From where I sit, the Red Bluff District is doing a
tremendous job in trying to keep up with promises on the
agreement we went into," Garcia said. "They are giving us
the water we are entitled to. That's all they can do. They
can't guarantee the quality of the water."
Alfalfa is one of the crops that thrives on the salty water
after new plants are established. Small farmers grow it for
their animals and some grow it for custom feeders.
"Ideally you rotate alfalfa every five to seven years,"
Garcia said. "There are fields that have been there for the
last 20 years, but those fields are not very clean. I
couldn't call it Grade A feeding material."
Canals that deliver water to the fields are in better shape
than they have been in a long, long time, said Garcia.
"We have acquired our own motor grader, which we use to keep
up the canals. That used to be farmed out to contractors
like Roy Lindsay. Now we do it ourselves," he said.
The district paid $150,000 for the new Caterpillar motor
grader, Garcia said. They also bought a new pickup from
Sewell Ford (the only bidder).
"That is something that was needed for a long, long time,"
Garcia said. "It replaced a situation where the water master
was paid $1,200 a month for use of his vehicle. We purchased
a pickup for $28,000. In two years, it will pay for itself
and be equipment in service to the water district for five
to seven years."
Jesus Florez is the water master/ditch rider. The only other
district employee is office manager Moses Martinez.
Board members are Garcia, chairman; Manuel Lujan,
vice-chairman; Ben Munoz, secretary; Tom Nance and Ed
Armstrong was appointed to the board in a special meeting
Tuesday night. he places Luis Pena, who resigned.
Garcia believes the board is doing all it can to serve the
"Right from the beginning, the idea was to conserve this
precious product, water, and that takes a lot of work and a
lot of planning," he said.
"Being in short supply, we need to apply ourselves to do
that particular thing with all possible effort."
None of the ditches in the district are lined, and that
makes conservation harder. But the cost to line them would
be excessive, Garcia said.
"Grant money is being explored by our mother organization,
the Red Bluff District," Garcia said. "Any grants would be
more than likely sponsored and handled by Jim Ed Miller (Red
Bluff general manager) and his board."
Each water district elects one person to the Red Bluff
board, which oversees the entire Red Bluff Water Power
Control District. That includes Red Bluff Lake and member
water districts in Reeves, Loving, Ward and Pecos counties.
Red Bluff delivers the water upon request of a minimum of
three farmers in the WCID#1. Once the gates are opened at
Red Bluff Dam, it takes about 72 hours for the water to flow
downstream to the Barstow Dam. From there, district canals
deliver it to the farms.
"Our goal is to serve the farmer; to conserve as much water
as we can so it will get to the farmer's crop," Garcia said.
State pushes back deadline
By GREG HARMAN
Texas Governor George Bush's office has unofficially
extended its deadline for Permian Basin communities to join
with the newly-formed West Texas Narcotics Enforcement Task
The task force seeks to involve all enforcement agencies
formerly served by the Permian Basin Drug Task Force --
defunded by the state in May due to allegations of
mismanagement -- and will be headed by the Department of
"In our original letter of invitation, we asked that the
entities respond by June 30 -- but we realize that a lot of
the government entities don't meet but once every month or
so and are not able to answer by that deadline," said a
spokeswoman for the governor's office. "We will probably
push back the meeting date to the third week of July."
The task force will be funded by a federal grant covering 75
percent of operating costs. Local communities are expected
to meet the remaining 25 percent.
But empty pockets should not deter any entity from joining,
the spokeswoman sai. "As soon as we know who is
participating, the money will be available immediately."
Money is, "not even an issue," she added.
Trade show again part of rodeo events
By ROSIE FLORES
Silver jewelry, hair bows, saddles, leather accessories and
more will be on sale inside the Reeves County Civic Center
during the Fourth of July festivities.
The Rodeo Trade Show, which was introduced as part of last
year's events, will again be held at the civic center.
"We're just very excited about bringing the trade shows
again to the Pecos rodeo," said Debbie Thomas.
Newcomers will add a touch of variety and bring in more
The Trade Show will be held from 1 to 10 p.m., Thursday
through Saturday, July 2-4.
Vendors who will be at the trade show include, A Little Of
This & A Little of That from Monahans; Needleworks of Pecos;
Paul Stevenson Jewelry Design out of Albuquerque, N.M.;
Pecos Creations; Sagebrush Silver of Fort Stockton;
Shadetree Saddlery of Verhalen and Totally Sharp of Kermit.
Other items which will be available include sunglasses,
trading cards, western hats, decorator items, tuxedo shirts,
broomstick skirts, vests, caps and needlework items.
West of the Pecos Museum will have a booth selling
cantaloupe and ice cream and the Pecos Eighth Grade
Cheerleaders will be offering lemonade to thirsty rodeo fans.
"We'll also have plenty of events for the children and an
area where children can play," said Thomas.
Events include Kid's Roping Contest at 3 p.m., Thursday with
a Jam Session set for everyone at 7 p.m. "All local
musicians are invited to participate," said Thomas.
A Stick Bull Riding Contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. on
On Saturday, Cross Taekwon Do will do a demonstration at 3
p.m. and at 4:30 there will be an autograph signing party.
Rodeo clowns and top cowboys will be signing autographs for
At 5:30 on Saturday, a Kid's Roping Contest will be held and
at 7 p.m., a Rodeo Clown Contest is scheduled. The clown
contest will be assisted by rodeo clowns.
"Other events will be added along the way and we want
everyone to come out, browse, bring their children and just
have a great time," said Thomas.
During the trade show, drawings will be held for various
prizes including rodeo and dance tickets.
"We're expecting a large crowd, what with the new vendors
and the many new activities for the kids," said Thomas.
"We're just looking forward to these fun days," she said.
Memorial set for longtime rancher
A memorial service for longtime area rancher Howard Taylor
Collier, Jr. has been scheduled for 2 p.m., on Thursday, at
the First Christian Church in Pecos.
Collier, 87, was a lifelong resident of Reeves County. He
died Monday, June 22 at his home after a long illness.
He was the son of pioneer ranchers H.T. Collier Sr. and Mae
Ward Collier, some of the first homesteaders of ranching
country in Reeves County near Toyah Creek. The family
arrived in Pecos in March, 1883 and Collier and other
descendants were honored as a Reeves County Pioneer Family
during West of the Pecos Rodeo celebrations in 1993.
Collier attended Pecos schools and graduated from Pecos High
School. He also attended TCU and Texas Tech. He returned
home to work with his parents in the ranching business. He
married Ethel Armstrong, daughter of another pioneer Pecos
family, on Nov. 9, 1941.
Collier served in the U.S. Army beginning in 1943, and was
discharged upon the death of his father in 1945 in order to
return to the ranch to supply beef for the war effort.
Howard and Ethel ranched in the Orla area on the Angeles and
Screwbean ranches, and at one time had ranching interests in
three counties. He later moved his wife and three children
to the Hoban Ranch on Toyah Creek, where he ranched and
He was a lifelong member of the First Christian Church and
an ardent supporter of the Reeves County 4-H Club, the Pecos
Museum, and the West of the Pecos Rodeo. As a young boy, he
participated in the Pecos Rodeo as a trick roper. His father
participated in the first West of the Pecos Rodeo in 1883.
He also served as Reeves County Democratic Chairman for a
number of years and was on the Toyah-Limpia Water
Conservation District Board of Directors for 29 years.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Ethel Jane
Armstrong, two daughters, Drue Stanford of Verhalen and
Cathy Godfrey of Georgetown; one son, Bo Collier of Abilene;
five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Irked House cuts funds for widening 285
By The Associated Press
The U.S. House, expressing displeasure over New Mexico
delaying the opening of a federal nuclear waste dump, has
blocked money to improve state roads on the shipping route
to the repository.
The vote Tuesday blocked the $20 million in funds until the
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad opens.
The move was in retaliation for actions by the New Mexico
Environment Department that kept the repository from last
week, said Selma Sierra, a spokeswoman for Rep. Joe Skeen,
R-N.M., whose congressional district includes WIPP.
``The House of Representatives has broken faith with the
people of New Mexico,'' Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said in
a statement issued by his office Tuesday evening.
``I am outraged at this attempt to hold highway safety in
New Mexico hostage to the opening of WIPP,'' he said.
The House action came without debate on an amendment offered
by Rep. Dan Schaefer, R-Colo., to the annual energy and
water appropriations bill. Colorado has
plutonium-contaminated waste destined for WIPP from the
now-closed Rocky Flats plant near Denver.
Skeen expects the amendment to be removed when House and
Senate conferees meet to work out differences in their
versions of energy and water appropriations, Sierra said.
Chris Wentz, coordinator of the New Mexico Radioactive Waste
Task Force, which advises Republican Gov. Gary Johnson on
WIPP issues, also criticized the suspension of road money.
``I think the state would be totally opposed and appalled
that they would try this,'' Wentz said.
The Environment Department earlier this month said nuclear
waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory - the first waste
expected at the repository - was not ready to ship because
the federal government had not proved the material was not
tainted with such hazardous wastes as solvents or lead.
State environmental officials and Los Alamos scientists have
been working for a week to define what's in the barrels of
waste. The Department of Energy said in a brief filed in
federal court in Washington, D.C., that it would delay
shipments until at least Aug. 4.
The state, by federal law, has authority over so-called
mixed waste, which contains both hazardous chemicals and
radioactive elements. It has no authority over shipments
that contain only radioactive materials.
The House action withholds money from projects to widen U.S.
285 south of Clines Corners and finish a bypass near Santa
Fe. Congress in the past has provided $120 million to New
Mexico for roads related to the repository.
Trucks carrying radioactive waste from five sites in western
states will travel south along U.S. 285 from Clines Corners
to Loving, N.M. Meanwhile, traucks from four sites in
eastern states where waste is being stored will travel to
the WIPP site along Interstate 20 to Pecos, then turn north
on U.S. 285 to Loving, N.M.
No federal funds have been provided by Congress to widen the
stretch of U.S. 285 from Pecos to Loving from two to four
High Tuesday 107. Low this morning 76. Forecast for
tonight: A 20 percent chance of thunderstorms over the low
rolling plains and in the mountains. Lows in the 70s
Thursday: Sunny and hot with temperatures again approaching
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise