Almost immediately after we started to advertise the 2012 Panhandle Prep Kentucky Derby Party, we ran into a huge problem. Sometimes communication isn’t always the best at government ran entities, and that was the huge problem. Needless to say, the venue that we had been given permission to use was suddenly no longer available.
Well, after weeks of some serious scrambling, I’m proud to say that the party is back on! Above is the new flyer, that lists the new beneficiary of our fundraising efforts here in a few weeks. I encourage you to consider attending if you will be anywhere close to Canyon, TX on the first Saturday in May, but also ask that you consider a donation to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital even if you won’t be attending our event.
For more information, you can visit our Facebook page (just click the cool picture above), or you can email me with any questions you might have. We are so happy that we are going to be able to keep this party going, and thank all of you for your efforts in helping us find a new location (you know who you are)!
Hunting has been one of my favorite activities since I was old enough to shoot a gun. Growing up in the Texas Panhandle can be a young hunter’s paradise. Upon the wide open vastness of the Texas Panhandle, a young kid can hunt an array of varmints anywhere, at any time. He or she only needs to make sure that they are not shooting in the direction of a home or grazing livestock. Since there are more cattle in the Panhandle than homes and people combined, choosing a proper hunting ground is imperative.
I had a Stevens single shot .410 and an old Remington .22 caliber rifle. I remember moving up to a Remington Model 870 12 gauge and a Remington .243 high-powered rifle when I was well into my teens. I still have all of those weapons, and I love them more than any girlfriend I ever had…well except one and you know who you are darling. I went on a few deer hunts and eventually learned that I do not enjoy hunting deer. I must admit that I am a bird hunter through and through. Once I moved down to San Antonio, I realized that cultural divides certainly exist when it comes to hunting deer.
Years ago, I was horse back with a college mate in Southeast Colorado. The wind chill was in the teens. We rode about half a day across the prairie and dropped into a network of small canyons. We eventually found a small herd of mule deer. There were several doe, two spikes, and one 12 point buck. I was shivering from the cold and my heart was racing as I dismounted slowly and hid behind a large juniper. I knelt down and took aim through the scope of my Remington .243 deer rifle. I had buck fever something fierce. When I squeezed the trigger and the weapon fired with a roar, all I could hear were the patter of hooves running away. It was clear to me that I had missed. We camped out in the bottom of the canyon that night. We gathered some rocks and wood to build ourselves a campfire. We only took water, coffee, canned beans and sausage links for our meals. To this day, I have never experienced the cold bite of winter like I did during that hunt. The following morning after dawn broke, my buddy bagged an 8 point mule buck not far from where we had camped. He was not a trophy kill by any stretch of the imagination.
Now the work began. We had two knives between us to field dress this critter. It soon occurred to me that neither of us had planned this event out very well. Our knives were too dull and field dressing turned into a painful and bitter cold experience. We got it done though. It was the hardest “hunting work” that I have ever done. Ultimately, it broke me of deer hunting. I quickly realized that Bambi never did a damn thing to upset me, so I figured I would stick with the winged creatures.
Not long after that experience, I moved south to San Antonio. I made many new friends and several of them fancy themselves as deer hunters. I began to hear about something called “a hunting lease” for the first time in my life. We Panhandle boys all had our own land to hunt on. So that begged the question within me; who let’s these city boys come to their ranch and hunt? One of them asked me to go with him to his hunting lease and I accepted simply out of curiosity. Deer season was opening in just a few weeks so it was important to get his equipment out to the lease. When I arrived at his house, I saw this well-lifted, F-350 pickup with huge mud tires hitched up to a 16 foot flatbed trailer. The pickup was painted camouflage! The trailer had a deer blind on it with an ATV parked closely behind it. I peered into the bed of the pickup and discovered more items. There was a satellite dish back there and it was sitting on top of a few sacks of something called “deer corn”. I found the TV and other equipment that went with satellite dish when I threw my duffel bag into the backseat. I sensed that my horizons were about to broadened. Questions so far: What in the heck is deer corn? Why would a person need satellite TV while hunting?
The deer lease was a small 50 acre tract of Texas Hill Country. Junipers, mesquite, and rock were the most common landscape features. There were two older camper trailers with flat tires on the property. One was used as a sleeping quarters and the other for a kitchen and supplies storage. I soon figured out that the satellite dish and TV were not destined for the camper trailers. They were installed in the deer blind! The blind was placed a few hundred yards from camp. We took the bags of “deer corn” and dumped them into an elevated automatic feeder which sat about a hundred yards in front of the deer blind. I quickly realized that deer corn is…just corn. “This feeder brings in our deer”, my friend said. “It is on a timer and every day at the same time, it goes off and spreads deer corn everywhere around it.” At this point, I found myself fairly educated on the proper set up of South Texas deer lease. I concluded that this activity should not be called hunting.
If one will research the federal waterfowl hunting regulations, he or she will find that this practice of consistently feeding hunted game is referred to as “baiting” and therefore is illegal in the world of ducks and geese. In the defense of my South Texas friends: I did learn that baiting deer is a legal practice and is described as “hunting” among most South Texans. So I am the odd man out. I see my old friend now and then and he always gloats about how great his last deer hunt was and how high the buck scored.
Pump the brakes and slow down there feller. Please keep your deer lease stories to yourself when you are in the presence of someone who has actually been on real deer hunt. You feed the deer in the same place every day at the same time and then you set up a blind to shoot them when they come there to eat. You have satellite TV in your deer blind, and own a pick-up that is worth almost as much as the 50 acres that you lease. You purchase “deer corn” for 10 fold the price of what it is actually worth. If you were a farm boy like me, you would know how to buy local grain at an elevator instead. A one-ton pick-up (even one that is camouflaged) has ample hauling capacity for 500 pounds of corn. Grab a shovel and some burlap sacks to scoop your way to a healthier lifestyle and save yourself some money. Maybe then you can upgrade from your old camper into a larger and nicer mobile home. – RW
Recently my wife, I, and several friends went to Taos, New Mexico for a short break. While we were there we had a great time eating, drinking, and in general just relaxing. One place that we thoroughly enjoyed was a restaurant/micro-brewery called Eske’s Brew Pub. Located in the historic district, Eske’s is a small casual restaurant that provides you with a cozy atmosphere, impeccable service, wonderful food, and copious amounts of beer.
After we were seated in the old flat-top adobe building, we decided to grab something to eat before the drinking would begin in earnest. My wife had the turkey club, I had the bratwurst sandwich with sauerkraut, and our friends had everything from green chili stew (a staple of New Mexican cuisine), a burrito called “The Fatty”, and other common pub food.
After we had our fill of food, it was time to get down to business! Eske’s sells a variety of beers ranging from blondes, dark stouts, and even a green chili beer, although no one in our party was adventurous enough to give it a go.
The “10,000 foot” stout is by far my favorite dark stout on tap at Eske’s. It almost has the taste of cold coffee, but not bitter to the point of making a questionable face. I would recommend buying a sampler and trying a little of everything. After your sampler, you can choose your favorite, and order a “Growler” (or several) full of that chosen flavor.
So the next time you’re in Taos and looking for great food and beer with fantastic service at a fair price, stop by 106 Des Georges Lane and tell them that Panhandle Prep sent you!
As always, with the Kentucky Derby slated for the first Saturday in May, Horse Racing is firing up. This is the time of year that newly turned three-year-old thoroughbreds begin the chase for the ever-elusive Triple Crown.
Though not many people who aren’t directly linked with horse racing truly follow it, the Triple Crown Trail is well under way. Beginning on January 1st, the Gulfstream Derby kicks off a series of races that span the US over a period of six months and ends with the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York.
This weekend, if you happen to be in the mood to brush up on your racing or get a feel for who this year’s Kentucky Derby contender might be, you will want to tune in to the Risen Star Stakes held at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Here’s a heads up: Mr. Bowling just might be my pick. Trained by Larry Jones and ridden by Robby Albarado, this horse has some impressive stats so far. With earnings of over $200,000 and three wins in five starts, he’s looking to me like the horse to beat.
After this weekend, there are several races that will pit some of the Triple Crown hopefuls against each other before they head to Louisville for the showdown. The Louisiana Derby will take place on April 1st, followed by the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct where a top contender named Alpha might just race against Mr. Bowling.
Without a doubt, this time of year is special to us. Around our house, the Triple Crown Trail means that it’s time to start ushering in spring, and ushering in spring means that it’s time to start polishing that silver to gear up for that special Kentucky Derby Party. Mint Julep anyone?
It goes without saying that once a man gets married, the ride of his life certainly picks up the pace. After he has found the one that his heart belongs to, that ride becomes an adventure of two souls. I have been married to my wonderful wife for a little over six months. To put it mildly, it has been quite an adventure. We have been through so much together and have seen some pretty amazing things.
For our short time together, we have been an inseparable team. It has been just the two of us taking on the world these past six months, but on Valentine’s Day last week, my wife and I found out that we will be adding one more to our adventure! That’s right, I’m going to be a dad. I could not be more scared, but at the same time, I could not be more thrilled. There is so much to think about right now, that it makes my head swim.
If you know Val and I, we were not planning this, so needless to say we were struck a bit silly at first. This news came as a complete surprise, but we truly believe that this surprise is one of the greatest that we have ever received, and are now ready to take on this role with a full head of steam.
A first time dad…I can’t think of another thing that would make my life more interesting and enjoyable. On the other hand, after seeing Ryon and his wife’s living room after their two-year-old has made a pass through it, I can’t think of anything that could be more terrifying. I thank all of you for being a part of it, and look forward to many more adventures with you here on PHP as I learn just what it is that I have done!
Yesterday, my Brother-in-law reminded me about a very moving video and I want to share it with all of you today. This video is a collaboration by Texas State photographer Wyman Meinzer and West Texas composer Doug Smith. It has been around for awhile, but is still one of the most powerful pieces containing photography strictly from West Texas that I have ever seen.
To truly capture the size, ruggedness, and shear beauty of our part of Texas, you really have to see it for yourself, but this comes pretty close.
I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do. If you have the time or connection speed, be sure to expand the video to full screen and switch it to HD…it’s truly worth it. Good Monday everyone.