EARLY — The western theme won't be limited to just the Brown County Rodeo this weekend. For the second year in a row, Stagecoach Station Venues will be the site of the Central Texas Cowboy Gathering Friday through Sunday.
Last year's event took place just one day in July, with temperatures eclipsing 110 degrees. With high temperatures forecast for the upper 80s and low 90s this weekend, promoter Glenn Murray's decision to increase the event to three days, and the 56th Annual Brown County Rodeo taking place, Stagecoach Station Venues co-owner Pam Ribble is expecting a much better turnout the second time around.
“Saturday people can come and spend the day here and go to the rodeo Saturday night,” Ribble said. “I think it really fits with everything going on this weekend in the county. I can definitely see where potentially this could be a great addition to the county and our area of the state, being so centralized. There's a good following for western music and story-telling. One of Glenn's purposes is to help introduce some of these things to the next generation. We're being very inclusive, we don't want to leave anybody out. My hope is this can be an attraction for Brown County for years to come, something a little bit different offered for our part of the state.”
Gates open at Stagecoach Station Venues, located at 400 Old Comanche Road in Early, at 4 p.m. Friday as the three-day event will kick off with a story-telling contest and open mic session. Entries are still be accepted, Ribble said.
“They can show up here at 4 p.m. and see Glenn and enter then,” she said. “Open mic is the same thing. If someone wants to play a guitar or a fiddle this provides them a place to play.”
Friday night will conclude with a dance featuring live music from Daelyn Ellis from 7 to 8 p.m., followed by Allen Ray and the Southern Comfort Band from 8 to 10 p.m.
On Saturday, western music, cowboy poetry and storytelling will be at the forefront from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the main stage. Saturday's stage schedule is as follows:
• 9-9:40 a.m.: Steve Mitchell, Ed Mayer
• 9:45-10:25 a.m.: Dale Myers, John Clayton Read
•10:25-10:40 a.m.: Keith Bean, Ron Secoy
•10:45-11:25 a.m.: Smokey Culver, Charles Williams
•11:25 a.m. -12 p.m.: Ed Mayer, Kimmie Hudson
•12-12:30 p.m.: Bygone Days Gunfighters
•12:30-12:45 p.m.: Greg Bade, Elaine Smith
•12:45-1:25 p.m.: Martin & Murray, Steve Mitchell
•1:30-1:50 p.m. Elaine Smith, Greg Bade
•1:55-2:40 p.m.: John Clayton Read, Smokey Culver
•2:40-3 p.m.: Ron Secoy, Keith Bean
•3-3:40 p.m.: Kimmie Hudson, Saddler Lew Peuterbaugh
•3:45-4:05 p.m.: Elaine Smith, Ron Secoy
•4:10-4:45 p.m.: Charles Williams, Dale Myers
•4:45-5 p.m.: Ron Secoy, Elaine Smith
•5-5:30 p.m.: Martin & Murray
There will also be merchandise and food vendors as well, along with a family game area that includes horseshoes, corn hole and washers. For kids, there will be a wagon train ride, 18-foot water slide, obstacle course, stick horse barrel racing, kid's corn hole and more.
The Bygone Day's Gunfighters will patrol the grounds on Saturday as well with a showdown scheduled for high noon.
The weekend wraps up with cowboy church at 9:30 a.m. Sunday with Martin and Murray, Ed Mayer, and Daelyn Ellis scheduled to be on hand.
“It's way different than it was last year,” Ribble said. “We have two stages that will be going on Saturday with non-stop entertainment. We have a kid's area along with merchandise vendors and food vendors. We've had responses from people all over, not just the state of Texas. Our performers are coming from throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana and they tend to bring to bring followers. With all the rain it's beautiful here and we're anxious for people to see what we've got. We're hoping for three big days.”
Admission is $5 for adults, those 12 and under will be admitted for free. Passengers can be dropped off at the gates or park at Heartland Mall and walk over. Shuttle assistance will also be available.