Come drive into my town. You’ll need exit off the interstate through a street of dilapidated houses to do so. When you hit the dead end and the faded stop sign, hang a right, then a left at the spray-painted gas station. Now you’re on E Street, one of three major streets in our fair city. As I have mentioned before, you’ll find two pharmacies, the grocery store, Beall’s, a defunct movie theater, and college branch building down the right while most of the middle-income housing sits on the left. We have one Chinese food restaurant in Pecos and everywhere else serves some form of Mexican or fast food.
What the town lacks in cuisine variety, it makes up in religion. There are over thirty churches for a town far shy of 10,000 people and a few of them are actually active. The local radio station even hosts daily sermons from different area pastors in the mornings just before an afternoon slew of eardrum-busting twang from Nashville’s latest and greatest waterlogged stars.
I’ve never been much of a country music lover because so much of it is depressing, but I have to admit I do enjoy the morning sermons. Most of the presented pastors do a decent job of teaching rather than preaching the Bible, which I can appreciate.
High school is the top sports bracket in this area as the closest full college is roughly 85 miles away. Half of the town attends the evening games.
Pecos has the bragging-rights of being home to the World’s First Rodeo. As with most Texas competitions, this one started first as bragging and then betting became a dangerous showdown between prideful men. The resulting July 4, 1883 competition was one in which cowboys would rope a calf or steer from horseback at a full gallop and then dismount as fast as humanly possible to grab, push, and tie a fully panicked 500-pound animal to the ground. The man who did this insane feat the fastest won a ribbon cut from a three-year-old attendant’s new dress.
Today cowboys still flock to Pecos every June to compete not for a ribbon but for one the highest prized belt buckles in the country. This year the festivities will be held June 23-26 and include a rodeo parade, Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and nightly country/western and tejano music dances. Likely I will watch the rodeo and skip the dancing. Hopefully I can put my camera to good use at the outdoor rodeo arena and show you all some excellent shots.