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Salsa Festival to host the Texas Top Hands in 2011
by Jerry Retzloff
Feb 23, 2011 | 707 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pictured are the Texas Top Hands musical group as they appeared at the San Antonio Livestock Show, circa 1984. Counter-Clockwise are Ray Sczepanik, with guitar; Ray Franklin; Cal Berry; Gene Gates and Pete Freasier.
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One of Texas’ oldest bands, The Texas Top Hands, will make a guest appearance at this year’s Salsa Festival in downtown Three Rivers on Saturday, April 2.

The Texas Top Hands Band was organized in 1945 and has performed continually ever since. The band has only had four leaders since it organized: Walter Kleypas, 1945-1952; Rusty Locke, 1952-1955; Easy Adams, 1955-1979 and Ray Sczepanik, 1979 to present.

The band has appeared on many television and radio shows throughout Texas, at military bases, at county fairs and at dance halls. The band has also been the opening act for many great stars of country music, including Webb Pierce, Tex Ritter, Moe Bandy, Johnny Rodriguez, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Morgan and Mel Tillis. They also backed up the legendary Hank Williams, Sr. during his final appearance in Texas on Dec. 16, 1952 in McDonna. (Williams died on Jan. 1, 1953). The band had a hit recording of “Bandera Waltz”, which was composed by Easy Adams.

Current members of the band are Ray Sczepanik, band leader and guitar; Ray Franklin, bass guitar; Ricky Turpin, fiddle; Denny Mathis, steel guitar; Martin Stietle, drums and Stan Zettner, piano and accordlan.

So, come out on April 2 to hear the Texas Top Hands and all the other entertainment at the Salsa Festival. The Texas Top Hands will appear on the Country Stage around 1 p.m. There will also be many other festivities. Admission to the festival is free.

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