Expo turns 35 with Jon Pardi
Also inside: Pawz in the Plaza is a day for dogs.
Country musician Jon Pardi will be at the Bell County Expo Center on July 15 in honor of the venue’s 35 anniversary. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 4, at bellcountyexpo.com. Courtesy photo
Jon Pardi concert tickets are $35 to celebrate Bell County Expo milestone
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Jon Pardi, a country singer, songwriter and guitarist who made his national debut in 2012 with the hit single “Missin’ You Crazy,” will be live at the Bell County Expo Center on July 15, and all seats will be $35 in honor of The Expo’s 35th anniversary.
Tickets for the Pardi show go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 4, at bellcountyexpo.com.
The Expo opened its doors in 1987, primarily as a new home for the Bell County Youth Fair and Livestock Show, which had outgrown the aging Sheriff’s Posse Arena near Temple High School.
“The first concert was May 21, 1987, and it was Marie Osmond and the Osmond Family,” said John Dungan, assistant director of the facility and an Expo employee since February 1987. “Two days later, we had George Strait. It was a huge opening.”
In the next few months, some of the Expo Center’s biggest relationships began, including the Belton Fourth of July Rodeo, the National Cutting Horse Association and, the next February, the Bell County Youth Fair and Livestock Show.
“The rodeo was a scramble,” Dungan said. “Some of the rodeo equipment was late arriving. We literally took panels and gates off the delivery trucks and assembled them right up to opening day.”
“I988 also was the first year we hosted a high school graduation,” he said. “It was Temple High. They had been rained out of Wildcat Stadium and they didn’t want to limit seats to families, so they came here. They still do.”
Not to be outdone by Temple, other schools began holding commencement ceremonies at the new facility.
“The Killeen schools, Belton, Troy, Salado…many more,” he said. “Now we have 12 to 13 high school graduations every year.”
As operations manager, it was Dungan’s duty to supervise getting the Expo Center ready for different events, then taking down sets to get ready for the next show.
“It was a tough job getting things ready,” he said. “But it became much harder in 1996.”
That was the year the Central Texas Stampede and the Western Professional Hockey League came to Belton.
“Set up became different with hockey,” he said. “We had to build a hockey rink with ice, and every time we set it up we had to use ice paint to add the lines and logos. It was a job.”
The Stampede days were huge for the 6,559-seat arena.
“The team was very popular,” Dungan said. “They routinely drew 5,000-plus fans to home games.”
On October 15, 1996, the Stampede defeated the Waco Wizards 5-4 in the first ever WPHL contest in Belton. The team folded in 2001, but the Expo Center’s two Zambonis — ice conditioning machines used before and during hockey games — would soon be back at work.
Two other hockey teams followed the Stampede — first the Central Texas Blackhawks and later the Central Texas Marshals. Neither had staying power.
“We still have those Zambonis,” Dungan said Friday. “They are in a storage building, but they are still good. I think I need to put them up for sale.”
Hockey wasn’t the only sport that called the Expo home — indoor football also made three runs.
The first was the Texas Bullets, followed by the CenTex Barracudas — an odd name for a team 200 miles inland. The last of the Expo Center’s sports teams — the CenTex Cavalry of the Champions Indoor Football League — played at the Expo in 2017.
While Dungan has the longest tenure of staff, others are close.
“Our staff has a combined 140 years of working at the Expo Center,” he said. “Obviously it’s a good place to work
Events coordinator Kenny Schob and maintenance director Scott Elmore both have been at the Expo for 30 years, and executive director Tim Stephens has been on the job for 29.
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Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Pardi’s latest release, “Last Night Lonely," out everywhere now. Listen to “Last Night Lonely” right HERE. When the landing page opens, click on YouTube. This and other Pardi songs have been added to the Our Town TUNES playlist.
FRIDAY | FEBRUARY 25, 2022
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
March is National Puppy Month, and to celebrate, Temple is holding its first-ever city celebration dedicated to dogs.
Pawz on the Plaza will be held Saturday, March 19, along Santa Fe Market Trail from The Yard food truck court to Santa Fe Plaza.
“This is an idea city officials have been talking about for a while and this year we decided to do it,” said Kiara Nowlin, spokesperson for the city. “Temple residents love community events and they love pets — this will be a lot of fun.”
Pawz on the Plaza is open to all dog-friendly, people-friendly and leash-friendly canines.
“This is a free event, but we will be accepting donations for the Temple Animal Shelter,” Nowlin said.
Food donations must be unexpired, unopened and in their original containers. Temple Parks & Recreation will have a tent on-site for donations.
One of the highlights of Pawz on the Plaza — and there are several — will be a Treat Trail between Santa Fe Depot and The Yard.
“Vendors will be passing out dog treats and goodies,” Nowlin said. Of course the trail goes to The Yard so hungry pet owners can get something as well.
“The vendors will be selling pet-themed arts and crafts, and personalized pet and pet-owner items,” Nowlin said.
Another don’t-miss event will be dog-trick performances by Good Karma K9Z. Stunts include Frisbee tricks, ladder tricks and a dog that walks on ropes suspended in the air. All of the stunt dogs are rescue animals.
Mary Ellen Gonsiorek, a Dallas-based artist specializing in pet illustrations, will be on hand to draw pets and pet owners. Her illustrations are done on-site and she works with remarkable speed.
Another big draw — pun intended — will be a pet costume contest.
“There will be three divisions — puppies, adult dogs, and a pet and owner look-a-like contest,” Nowlin explained.
A hydration station will provide water for thirsty dogs, and professional photographers will be presenting plenty of photo opportunities.
HERE’S A LOOK AT THE GOOD KARMA K9Z:
Mobile Food Pantry at TC on Saturday
Our Town Temple
The Central Texas Food Bank will host its Mobile Food Pantry from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Temple College.
Monthly food distributions are drive-thru events and will be held in Temple College’s south parking lot off Loop 363. Those in need of food will receive an assortment of items including protein, produce and milk, depending on available supplies.
Additional food distribution events will be at Temple College on the following dates:
Saturday, March 25
Saturday, April 23
Saturday, May 28
Saturday, June 25
Food recipients should make space available in their trunk or hatch before coming to the events.
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
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TISD Communications Team earns Gold Stars for 2020-2021 work
Our Town Temple
Temple ISD’s Communications Department has been recognized with three Gold Star Awards and one Best in Category Award presented by the Texas School Public Relations Association.
The winners were announced at TSPRA’s 60th annual conference Wednesday night in Round Rock.
This year’s Star Awards recognize work produced during the 2020-2021 school year.
Temple ISD swept Gold honors in all three Star Awards categories it entered. The department, led by Chief of Communications and Community Relations Christine Parks, was honored with a Gold Star Award for its production of the district’s 2020 Annual Report. TISD also won a Gold Star Award for its Healthy Habits poster and the district’s Black History Month social media campaign celebrating African American leaders with a tie to the Temple community.
The 2020 Annual Report also won Best in Category honors. TISD competed with all districts across the state of Texas with 15,000 or fewer students. That means Temple had to compete with schools and departments that were almost twice as big as TISD.
“Telling Temple ISD’s story in a way that engages and connects our students, families, staff and community has been and always will be at the heart of what we do,” Parks said. “Having these efforts recognized as distinguished amongst our peers state-wide, is truly an honor for the district and for my team.”
The TSPRA Star Awards provide recognition for the outstanding education communications and projects of submitting members each year. Submissions are judged by on set criteria and there are nearly 50 categories of competition covering various media such as newsletters, programs, posters, reports, writing, image/identity packages, photography, graphics, video, electronic presentations, campaigns, events and web sites.
Judges award Gold, Silver or Bronze winners and schools are divided into three groups. There are separate competitions for districts with 15,000 students or less, 15,000-40,000 students and 40,000 or more students. The winners were selected from a record-setting 1,662 entries this year.
“Since 2018 our district has set forth the goal of being recognized for innovation, efficiency and as a statewide leader among public school systems,” said Dr. Bobby Ott, superintendent of Temple schools. “This is in line with our community’s expectations. Winning Triple Gold at the Texas State Public Relations Conference shines a bright light on Temple ISD’s Communications Department, led by Christine Parks, for its efforts in transparency, engaging our community and informing our public. We are committed to these values and grateful for these statewide honors.”
The Communications Department’s Gold Star Awards will also be recognized at the TISD school board meeting on March 7.
On this day in 1836, Samuel Colt, of Hartford, Connecticut, patented the Colt revolver. This invention, along with windmills and barbed wire, brought order to the Great Plains. It was eventually produced in numerous models, the most famous being that of 1871. In 1839 the Republic of Texas ordered 180 of the .36 caliber holster models for the Texas Navy. The Texas Rangers gave the Colt revolver its reputation as a weapon ideally suited for mounted combat. Frederick Law Olmsted remarked that "there were probably as many revolvers in Texas as there were males."
Belton Lake: Good
Water lightly stained; 52 degrees; 2.90 feet low. With the cold fronts rolling through this time of year choose your fishing days based on pre-frontal conditions. After the cold front the bite will be slow due to the calm, clear, cold conditions. White bass are good using white 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs worked slowly upwards off bottom in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope. Report by Bob Maindelle, Holding the Line Guide Service
Blue catfish are good on fresh cut bait or live perch 1-20 feet on wind blown banks, and wind blown points. Channel catfish are good on commercial baits. Yellow catfish will remain slow until water temperatures are in the upper 50s to low 60s. Report by Jason "SPUD" Barton, Cattin' Around Adventure's Professional Guide Service
Stillhouse Hollow: Good
Water lightly stained; 45 degrees; 2.97 feet low. With the cold fronts rolling through this time of year choose your fishing days based on pre-frontal conditions. After the cold front the bite will be slow due to the calm, clear, cold conditions. White bass are good using white 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs worked slowly upwards off bottom in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope. Report by Bob Maindelle, Holding the Line Guide Service
Area lakes included by request:
Lake Limestone: Great
Water clear; 55 degrees; 0.57 feet low. Largemouth bass are good in 7 feet of water or less using chatterbaits, finesse jigs, wacky worms, and lipless crankbaits. Crappie are good in 10-21 feet of water suspended around standing timber and brush piles using minnows. White bass are good in 9-20 feet of water on silver jigging spoons. Fish are getting really close to spawning, so we should have fish on beds within the next two weeks. Report by Colan Gonzales, DFW Fishing Guide Booking.com.
Granger Lake: Good
Water lightly stained; 42 degrees; 0.48 feet high. Crappie are fair at night up the river under lights using minnows. White bass are fair up river spawning around Dickerson’s using road runners and twister tails. Blue catfish are good using juglines with ZOTE. Yellow catfish are slow. Black bass are fair up river using jigs. Report by Tommy Tidwell, Tommy Tidwell’s Granger Lake Guide Service
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