Twenty-five years ago, NFL legend Larry Csonka and Miss Texas-USA Courtney Gibbs participated in the barbecue cook-off, parade and other events, while Patsy Torres, the Younger Brothers and Taylor Brothers entertained dance crowds at the 15th annual Western Week.
For generations, this county’s storied western heritage – from cowboys and cattle drives to chili, barbecue, beans and country music – has been honored with this annual fall festival which appeals to the senses and steers people of all ages, including many visitors, to its venues.
This year will be no exception as Texas music legend Ray Wylie Hubbard highlights an exceptional, eclectic lineup of entertainers, including Richie Allbright, Pear Ratz, Houston Marchman, HOBO, Forrest Lee, the Matt Gruetz Band, Jason Maddox, Pake Rossi and Hayes Carll.
For those who would rather see bull riding than be two-stepping, Bee Xtreme will host a first-time PBR-sanctioned event at the rodeo arena.
The Go Texan Blazin’ Saddles BBQ Cook-off teams will be set up west of the Lucas-McNeill Pavilions, with their campfire smoke and aromas providing an added incentive to attend.
Before the 75th annual Bee County Chamber of Commerce Parade marches off to kick-start events on Saturday morning, several activities should generate laughter and excitement, such as the boot scramble and high heel race Thursday night at the Depot Pavilion downtown.
Many other weekend attractions, including the Pride of Texas Carnival, gunfighters, reptile exhibits, magic shows and vendors, will be found at the Bee County Expo Center grounds.
For those who have voiced concerns about the cleanliness and safety of the Expo Center, County Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez assured the public that the county facility would be ready.
“What the Western Week Committee is planning to do is put about 18 portable restrooms out,” Rodriguez said. “That is a temporary fix.
“Eventually what we will try to do is rework the contracts where the party who is leasing the grounds is responsible for ensuring the grounds are kept clean during the event they are hosting.”
Rodriguez added that he would like to see the restrooms improved and even expanded, if county finances are available.
Obviously, the county continues to grow and its celebrations along with it. So, everyone should try to attend some part of the festivities. It’s the Code of the West. – Chip Latcham