Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Dennis Gaines, medicine show, re-enactors bring fun for all to Ranching Heritage Days

KINGSVILLE - February 01, 2007

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

KINGSVILLE (February 1, 2007) — The John E. Conner Museum at Texas A&M University-Kingsville will be the site of Ranching Heritage Days. The event will be open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. Admission is free.

Ranching Heritage Days takes the visitor back to the days of the Wild Horse Desert with artisans and craftsmen demonstrating everything from blacksmithing to weaving to soap making. In addition to the real thing, re-enactors will be present portraying Buffalo Soldiers, medicine men and other historical figures.

One part of Ranching Heritage Days that combines the past and the present are the cowboy poets and storytellers. Dennis Gaines of Kerrville headlines this year’s line up. He is a self-described “rangy humorist, storyteller and purveyor of cowboy culture.”

Gaines is no stranger to A&M-Kingsville as he frequents Ranching Heritage Days whenever possible. As a real “workin’ cowpuncher.” Gaines regales audiences with tall tales of life on the range.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed as he was honored as “The Biggest Liar in the Sate of Texas” at the George West Storyfest in 2006. His most recent CD, Son-of-a-Gun Stew: A Texas Cowboy’s Gather, won the Best Cowboy Poetry award from the Academy of Western Artists (AWA) in 2004. Gaines has been featured on the Texas Country Reporter in a segment that generated one of the highest viewer response rates in the show’s history.

He has been featured in Americana Digest, Southern Living and American Cowboy magazines and has been a multiple nominee in the categories of Best Storyteller, Best Poet and Best Cowboy Poetry Album for the AWA. In 2000, he received the “Skinny Rowland” Memorial Award as Cowboy Storyteller/Humorist of the Year.

While attending Ranching Heritage Days, don’t forget to check out Phydeaux’s Flying Flea Circus, but watch out for what accompanies the circus, the Chief Wahoo Miracle Elixir Medicine Show. As pitchman for the miracle elixir, George Esparza, will talk visitors into trying his cure and at the same time will be ringmaster for his amazing flea circus. Audiences will be spellbound as the world-renowned acrobatic fleas defy gravity and surmount impossible feats of strength and agility.

One of the re-enactors, John Potter, has been a classroom teacher for 28 years and a living historian for 15. He makes history come alive in period costumes while demonstrating rifle loading and firing, tomahawk throwing, starting a fire with flint and steel and knot tying.

He is co-author of Flags in the History of Texas and was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Educators in 1994 and 2002. He has appeared as a re-enactor in presentations for the History and Discovery channels and A&E.

John Jones, representing the Buffalo Soldiers Living History and Heritage Association, will be on hand, in period costume, to talk about the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in United States history. They help give a reflection of every day items that were utilized during a routine workday in the early days of the Old West.

Local rancher Len Early will have his petting zoo of unusual animals at Friday’s event and his most famous animal, Clyde the Buffalo, at the event on Saturday.

The Kleberg County Mounted Patrol will offer pony rides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for $1. Proceeds will benefit the museum.

For more information, call 361-593-2810 or visit the museum website at http://museum.tamuk.edu.


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