Texas Country Reporter

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The Regency Suspension Bridge near Goldthwaite which Bob Phillips crosses in the introduction to his Texas Country Reporter television series

Texas Country Reporter is a weekly syndicated television program, hosted and produced by Bob Phillips, which airs in all twenty-two Texas media markets, generally on weekends. Reruns are broadcast nationally on the satellite/cable channel RFD-TV.[1] As of April 2008, Phillips had already taped two thousand episodes of the program.[2] Since that time about two hundred other segments have been aired.

Texas Country Reporter showcases Texas people and places, with an emphasis on rural areas and in a style similar to that of Charles Kuralt's On the Road for CBS News. Originally called 4 Country Reporter, it debuted in 1972 on Dallas television station KDFW, Channel 4 and was first hosted by John Mclean, then Jeff Rosser, and finally Bob Philips. In 1986, Phillips left KDFW and began selling the show in syndication under the name Texas Country Reporter. In the Dallas market, KDFW did not pick up the syndicated version, but rival station WFAA did and named the show 8 Country Reporter. About this time Dairy Queen became the show's main sponsor, a move which allowed Phillips to be the spokesman for the chain in its advertising for the company's Texas-based restaurants.

Texas Country Reporter operates a resort north of Bandera known as the Escondida Hacienda. When the resort opened, TCR ran a two-part episode on its development.

The show is independently syndicated with Phillips retaining half of the advertisements for regional sponsors;[2] he appears in many of the regional ads, and the sponsors' logos adorn the back of the his SUV. Each fall the program headlines a "Texas Country Reporter Festival" in Waxahachie south of Dallas, with some of the people who have been highlighted on the show in attendance.[3][4] Texas Country Reporter posts selected segments to its YouTube page,[5] and some have been featured on local newscasts. A three-DVD highlights set, Go! Stay! Eat!, was released September 17, 2005.

A national version of the show, On the Road With Bob Phillips, was planned to debut in 2010; Phillips previously did sixty stories in thirty-five states as part of a "Texas Country Reporter Discovers America" series for the show's 25th anniversary in 1998.[2]

Most episodes now have one segment devoted to an out-of-state feature.

Notable TCR segments[edit]

Individuals[edit]

Robert Bruno steel house in Ransom Canyon, Texas
  • Matt Brown, a football and track and field coach at Idalou High School, who is a gold and bronze winner in the Parapan American Games. He lost his left leg, amputated above the knee, as a result of an industrial accident in 2005.[6]
  • Robert R. Bruno (1945-2008), sculptor used a welding torch to build a steel house shaped like a spacecraft in Ransom Canyon
  • Betty Bundy, historical preservationist in the fishing village of Port Aransas, worked to move a kit house, assembled from parts shipped to the buyer early in the twentieth century. The structure is now the Port Aransas Museum.
  • Jared Charles Calvert, pilot who operated the airport in Ranger in Eastland County, where Amelia Earhart once landed
  • John Chadwell, a collector in Wichita Falls, is preserving artifacts from the former Wichita Falls Transportation Company, an independent truck production firm owned by Joseph A. Kemp, which was in business from 1911 to 1932.[7]
  • Tim Gearn, engineer who built Ferris wheel and carousel in his yard in Hereford
  • Martha Gonzalez, based at Bastrop State Park in Bastrop, makes by hand all of the signs for Texas' state park system.
  • Terry Gouley, ice sculptor in Midland, used a chain saw and chisels for his temporary creations popular for special occasions.[8]
  • Gladys N. Green, maintains a large year-round Christmas display at her home at 402 South Wells Street in Edna, Texas.
  • Harry Hamlin, not the actor but a convict in Lamesa who has painted murals on all four sides of the Dawson County Courthouse
  • Maurice Jackson, in his 45th year of business in 2012 in O'Donnell, operates one the last remaining full-service gasoline stations in the state of Texas.[9]
  • Leon Jenkins, worked as a porter at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport in Beaumont even past the age of 102. His secret of longevity was to "treat everybody right" and "never give up." He has since died.
  • Riggan Johnson, once considered the youngest cowboy in Texas; when he was seven years of age, he was working daily with his father on the Tongue River Ranch in Cottle County.
  • Virgil Johnson, retired deejay in Lubbock; formerly with The Velvets
  • Doug Keys, builds wooden caskets by hand for relatives and friends in Tom Green County
  • Barney I. Klein, retiring physician in Littlefield, who turns over his medical practice to Dr. Chad Gray, whom he had delivered at birth in 1974.
  • Gary D. McCaleb, former mayor of Abilene; vice-president of Abilene Christian University; co-founder of the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in downtown Abilene
  • Scott Myers, sculptor of famous faces at the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
  • Rob Roy Parnell, harmonica player in the Hill Country; brother of musician Lee Roy Parnell
  • Stryker Pena, formerly the only runner on the track team at Samnorwood High School in Collingsworth County. He had no formal track on which to practice, but his coach, Jason Porton never lost faith in Stryker's talent.
  • Myna Potts, historical preservationist from Hardeman County
  • The Quebe Sisters Band, young fiddle players from Burleson
  • Chuck D. Reiter, operates by himself a dairy farm off Farm-to-Market Road 51 near Gainesville 365 days a year
  • David Smith, sculptor of weather vanes with mythological images, based in Sugar Land, Texas
  • Robert E. L. Smith, established Depression Expression Museum in Lamesa, with memorabilia from the Great Depression and an original school building transported there from neighboring Gaines County
  • Ryan Smith, law-school dropout at the age of twenty-five returned the drive-in theater to Lubbock; in 1948, his maternal grandfather had opened a drive-in in Lubbock, also at the age of twenty-five.
  • Robert "Bob" Terry (born c. 1963), owner of Wild West Toys in Azle near the Tarrant/Parker county line, the last American manufacturer of the cap pistol. Terry also operates the website, Westerns on the Web.com .
  • Benito Trevino (born 1948), self-styled ethnobotanist and nursery operator in Starr County near Rio Grande City
  • Simon Vega, owner/operator of "Little Graceland" museum in Los Fresnos dedicated to his Army friend, Elvis Presley
  • Kees Maarten Verheul (born ca. 1936), owner of Aermotor Windmill Company of San Angelo, the last manufacturer of windmills in the United States
  • Lynda Watson, relocated thousands of prairie dogs from residential areas to mostly ranches, where the landowners are willing to accept the rodents.
  • Roddy Rawls Wiley (1924-2010), owned the Oakwood State Bank in Oakwood, the smallest bank in the United States
  • Bill Walter Worrell (born c. 1935), western artist and sculptor with studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and along the Llano River in Art, near Mason, Texas.[10] Worrell has erected a unique personal "cemetery" which he calls the "Garden of Thorns", where he "buries" with engraved white wooden crosses his "thorns in the flesh" as he encounters them, such as Fear, Blame, and Shame.[11]
  • Steve Wynne, still repairs existing models and hand assembles a few DeLorean DMC-12s each year at his shop in Humble, Texas. The original company founded by John DeLorean closed in 1982.

Others[edit]

  • Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame, operated by veteran sports announcer Al Pickett in Abilene honors local and regional excellence at the high school and collegiate levels in football, baseball, basketball, and golf; featured on TCR the weekend of August 3, 2013.[12]
  • Bracken Cave near Natural Bridge Caverns north of San Antonio, home to one of two large bat colonies in Texas. Bats control the insect population, help to pollinate plants, and are a food source for other animals.[13]
  • George W. Bush Boyhood Home on West Ohio Street in Midland, the only house in the United States where two U.S. Presidents, a First Lady, and a governor of Florida once resided.
  • Central Texas Tool Company, a fourth-generation non-computerized operation of the Carpenter family at 1410 Walnut Street in Abilene, specializes in pipe threading and the repair of oilfield equipment.[14]
  • Chinati Hot Springs, a remote rustic resort in Presidio County, has been the focus of more than one episode.
  • Ezell Aviation, operated by father and son Nelson and Chad Ezell in Breckenridge, restores abandoned old aircraft to flying status once again.[15]
  • Farley's Boat Works, originally established in 1916 in Port Aransas, hosted U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a fishing trip in 1937. Reopened under a new owner in 2011, the company invites customers to build with assistance their own boats in their shop.
  • Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, known for its holiday treats, particularly fruitcake, aired December 22, 2007[16]
  • Copano Bay Fishing Pier, north of Rockport, is a 24-hour fishing bank on the former Copano Causeway, which was constructed in 1930. The 11-mile long Copano bridge was replaced in 1966 by a modern structure and dedicated to then U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Well lit, the pier is popular twenty-four hours a day.[11][17]
  • Doc McGregor Collection, located within the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, is a massive restoration project of some 300,000 community photographs of all kinds taken in Corpus Christi from the 1930s through the 1950s. Photographer Ron Randolf has since 1987 been sorting the photographs into an orderly collection.[18]
  • 8 Track Museum, operated by Bucks Burnett at 2630 E Commerce Street in Dallas, has a collection of some three hundred 8-track tapes.[19]
  • Fort Clark Springs near Brackettville in Kinney County, TCR episode examines two women real estate agents selling historic properties to be used for modern residences at the former U.S. Army base known as Fort Clark
  • Fort Davis, a glimpse at downtown restoration, including the Hotel Limpia
  • Frontier Texas!, state-of-the-art western museum in Abilene, with focus on eight weather vanes in the shape of bison installed in 2013 in the courtyard.[20]
  • Gil's Broiler & Manske Bakery in San Marcos, known for its charbroil hamburgers and the Manske roll, a large cinnamon treat formerly sold nationally but returned to local-only production.[21]
  • Hotel El Capitan in downtown Van Horn, historic hotel underwent $2.5 million in renovations in 2013; episode depicts Van Horn as the center of a wheel from which spokes emanate to outlying historic sites and attractions in a remote desert area.[22]
  • Hueco Tanks State Historic Site, TCR shows the isolation of the Hueco Mountains northeast of El Paso. The cracks in rocks and boulders trap rainwater to overcome drought conditions. The site is popular for a kind of rock climbing known as bouldering.[23]
  • Ironworkers in Arlington in the episode "Steel meets the sky" are shown building the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which in 2009 replaced the previous facility in Irving.
  • Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, preservation project at Padre Island National Seashore
  • Longhorn Cavern State Park near Burnet, with enthusiastic tour guide Kaye Barlow, a former teacher
  • Los Ebanos Ferry, historic hand-pulled ferry crossing the Rio Grande at Los Ebanos in Hidalgo County
  • Mi Tierra Café and Bakery in downtown San Antonio, founded in 1941, never closes. It was voted by TCR viewers in 2013 as having the best Mexican food in the state.[24]
  • Museum of Western Art, a small museum in Kerrville emphasizes the work of living artists who follow in the tradition of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell; the TCR episode focuses on an unidentified artist named Tod Richardson whose work suddenly appears at the museum.
  • National Museum of Funeral History, Houston exhibit of various products associated with the funeral industry, with the theme "every day above ground is a good day."
  • Neal's Dining Hall, a family-owned business established in 1926 in Concan in Uvalde County, located on the Frio River, offers cooking from scratch, with a speciality in chicken-fried steaks. One of the notable customers of the establishment was former Governor Dolph Briscoe.
  • Odessa Meteor Crater Museum and its curator, Tom Rodman[25]
  • Old Rip, the legend of the horned toad from Eastland, Texas
  • Owl Drug Store, Soda Fountain, and Grill, landmark in Coleman since 1923; TCR episode focuses on a group of women in Coleman who meet virtually every weekday morning at the drug store for coffee.
  • Padre Island National Seashore, biologist Donna Shaver works to preserve the sea turtle, aired August 25, 2007[26]
  • Paris Coffee Shop, the oldest family-owned restaurant in Fort Worth, located at 704 West Magnolia Avenue, specializes in its pies; properietors Mike, Ginger, and Troy Smith.[19]
  • Post, Texas, historic district with focus on the Hotel Garza
  • Rosebud Fountain and Grill, nostalgic diner in downtown Victoria
  • R. Wilson House, 1950s style residence preserved in Temple, with the interior furnishings made of laminated plastic
  • Satin Strings, under its director, Todd Berridge, is known for the stirring emotional presentations it delivers at Permian High School in Odessa. The group has performed at presidential inaugurations and other national events.[27]
  • Six-man football in Texas, examines small high schools which can recruit only six, instead of eleven players, aired October 5, 2007
  • Snow's BBQ, eatery in Lexington, Texas, open only on Saturday mornings and usually sold out by noon; a school custodian, Tootsie Tomanetz, has been the pit master; Texas Monthly ranks Snow's the best eatery of its kind in Texas.
  • Wild Burro Rescue project near Big Bend Ranch State Park works to move the donkeys so they can live in a favorable habitat.
  • Texas Basketball Museum, located in tiny Carmine in Fayette County in southeastern Texas, is operated by coach Bob Springer, whose collection focuses on Texas players elevated into the professional ranks as well as high school teams with particular achievement.[28]
  • Texas Church Project, five photographers, Jeremy Moore, David Brown, Lee Carmichael, Mike Castles, and Matt Magruder, wander about Texas photographing historic churches.[29]
  • The last high school commencement ceremony held in Spade, Texas, which features a wounded Korean War veteran finally graduating.[30]
  • The unique arrangement between the East Texas high schools of Apple Springs (which participates in six-man football but has no band) and Hudson (which has a band but does not participate in football); Hudson's band thus participates during Apple Springs football games.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Texas Country Reporter: Showtimes. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "If It's in Texas, the Texas Country Reporter Has Seen It", The New York Times, April 10, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  3. ^ Bob Phillips Texas Country Reporter Festival, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  4. ^ Waxahachie Downtown: Annual Bob Phillips Texas Country Reporter Festival, WaxahachieDowntown.com. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  5. ^ Director Page: Texas Country Reporter, YouTube. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  6. ^ "Faces in the Crowd". Sports Illustrated.com, October 22, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Texas Country Reporter: Weekend of March 23, 2013". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Terry Gouley, Midland, TX". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Texas Country Reporter visits O'Donnell". Lamesa Press-Reporter, July 14, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Bill Worrell - Sculptor, Painter, and Writer". billworrell.com. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Weekend of February 23, 2013". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sam Waller, Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame announces induction class, January 23, 2013". Abilene Reporter News. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Natural Bridge Caverns is going bat for the bats". naturalbridgecaverns.com. Retrieved July 19, 203. 
  14. ^ "Central Texas Tools". youtube.com. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ezells to be featured on Texas Country Reporter". Breckenridge American. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Deluxe Fruitcake". collinstreet.com. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Copano Fishing Pier". copanopiers.justgofishin.com. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Texas Country Reporter episodes (Doc McGregor Collection), Weekend of March 2, 2013". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Weekend of November 17, 2012". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Frontier Texas!". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  21. ^ "San Marcos TX Bar and Grill". gilsbroiler.com. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Historic Hotel in Downtown Van Horn". hotelinvanhorn.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Jason Kehl, bouldering guide, Hueco Tanks State Park, Weekend of July 27, 2013". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Mi Tierra Café and Bakery". mitierracafe.com. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Texas Country Reporter 2013 Episode Guide: Odessa Meteor Crater Museum". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Sea Turtle Science and Recovery". nps.gov. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Lindsay Weaver, "'Texas Country Reporter' in awe of Satin Strings"". Odessa American, March 5, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Texas Country Reporter episodes (Texas Basketball Museum), Weekend of March 2, 2013". texascountryreporter.com. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Photographers capture beauty of Texas' oldest churches Exhibit of Texas Church Project scheduled at University of North Texas, May 2, 2007". unt.edu. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  30. ^ Video on YouTube

Related links[edit]