Toy donations sought
Blue Santa provides toys and books for Temple children in need. Application deadline is Nov. 19.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12, 2021
“There’s a big need right here in our hometown. Together, we can bring smiles to children’s faces this Christmas.”
Block party to benefit Blue Santa
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
A downtown street party will help provide hundreds of toys, books and stuffed animals to Temple kids in need.
Sammy G’s fourth annual toy drive will be Dec. 3 in front of Fire Base Brewing Company, and donations go toward the Temple Police Department’s Blue Santa program. Blue Santa provides Christmas gifts for Temple children age 14 and under.
“There’s a big need right here in our hometown,” said Sammy ‘G’ Gamino, who started his toy drive four years ago along with the King Solomon Lodge in Temple. “Together, we can bring smiles to children’s faces this Christmas.”
The block party is being hosted by Fire Base Brewing Company, 8 South 1st Street in Temple.
“We’re asking residents to bring a new unwrapped toy or book to the party,” said J.D. McBride, co-owner of Fire Base. “We’re going to sweeten the deal — bring in a new toy and we’ll take a buck off your first beer.”
This is Fire Base’s second year to team with Sammy G and the Blue Santa program.
“This is growing by leaps and bounds,” Gamino said. “It’s only going to grow bigger every year.”
McBride said he hopes the drive and Blue Santa as a whole becomes a huge community event. It’s definitely getting there.
“Blue Santa has been around since 2012,” McBride said. “Our party is kind of the finish line. All the toys, books, stuffed animals and cash donations will be given to Blue Santa so they can wrap up the gifts.”
Sammy G will provide entertainment at the party, and several other events have been lined up.
“Black Axe will be here for axe throwing, and we will have a few craft vendors and food trucks,” McBride said. “Also, Fire Base will be re-releasing a special winter brew.”
S’mores Imperial Stout debuted at last December’s street party, and it has been reformulated just a bit.
“We’ve made it more s’moresy,” McBride grinned “We’re going to serve each beer with a roasted marshmallow.”
Over the years, Blue Santa has helped more than 850 families and 2,400 children receive gifts. Last year, 649 kids had a merry Christmas thanks to the program.
Applications to apply for assistance from the Blue Santa program can be picked up at the downtown Temple police station until Nov. 19. Parents must submit proof of each child’s age and address.
In addition to the party in front of Fire Base, donations may be. Made at the police station, at Bella Blues Cafe on 57th Street and at Orange Theory Fitness at Market Square shopping center.
FLASHBACK: THE LEON RIVER BRIDGE
Construction started on this Leon River bridge in 1936. The bridge included a 5-foot-wide pedestrian walkway on the west side of the bridge.
1872 toll bridge closed the gap between Temple and Belton
By DENISE KARIMKHANI, Special to Our Town Temple
The first wagon bridge built in Bell County was the steel truss bridge over the Leon River at the old military crossing on what is now Waco Road.
On April 12, 1871, the Texas state legislature approved “an act to incorporate the Belton Bridge Company” under the control of William A. Miller, Elisha Embree, Silas Baggett and John T. Flint (of McLennan County).
The corporation was tasked with the duty “to build and maintain a good, safe and substantial bridge across the Leon River in Bell county or within one mile of the crossing of said river, known as the Hill crossing, near Belton.”
There were additional stipulations the bridge company had to fulfill to prevent the 25-year charter from being forfeited. The bridge building had to begin within one year and be completed within two years from the passage of the act.
The Belton Bridge Company was required to keep the bridge and its approaches in good repair, to provide constant round-the-clock attendance at the toll gate, and to assume responsibility in the event of injuries or damage to persons or property resulting from unsafe conditions on the bridge.
Building new bridges or maintaining ferries within three miles of the bridge were prohibited. In October 1871, Gov. Edmund J. Davis sent a veto message to the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives asking for reconsideration of the original act of incorporation.
He stated: “This act is objectionable in respect that it proposes to close up all natural fords on the Leon River within three miles of the Belton bridge, so as to force travelers and freight to cross said river on that bridge… It seems to me that such provision is an unconstitutional interference with private rights.”
The House refused to pass the bill.
The bridge opened for business on March 25, 1872. Tolls were exacted according to the following rates: For each wagon, cart, carriage, or other vehicle drawn by more than two horses or other animals, ten cents per wheel, and two and one-half cents for each animal; when there were two animals, five cents per wheel and two and one-half cents for each animal; when there was one animal, five cents per wheel; for each animal and rider, ten cents; for each horse, animal of the cattle kind, and for each loose horse, mule, jack or jenny, three cents; for each sheep, hog or goat, two cents; for each foot passenger, five cents.
If the Police Court of Bell County found the bridge to be unsafe upon inspection, the gates were to be “thrown open” and “for the free crossing of the public” until the bridge company made appropriate repairs.
To replace the previous bridge, a new bridge consisting of one 175-foot truss span with a pony truss span at each end was built by the county in 1907. When the route was designated a state highway in 1917, the Texas Highway Department inherited the bridge.
The old bridge presented several problems: It crossed the river at nearly a right angle with sharp curves at each end of the bridge, and it had only a 17-foot roadway with a maximum load capacity of 10 tons. It was built to carry horse and buggy traffic and was considered unsafe for the types of traffic and speeds typical in the 1930s. The THD overhauled the bridge in 1933; however, the measures were insufficient to solve the bridge’s deficiencies.
In 1936 Texas Highway Department engineers began planning for a replacement bridge. The type of design was a 200-foot riveted Parker through truss span.
As part of an effort to improve the aesthetics of bridge design, decorative elements were incorporated into the design of the Leon River bridge. The bridge substructure exhibited arched concrete bends and concrete piers with beveled copings. Decorative steel railing flanked a 5-foot wide pedestrian walkway, and the Leon River bridge is one of only three surviving THD truss bridges with this type of railing.
Construction of the bridge began Sept. 12, 1938, and was completed on May 31, 1939, at a cost of $98,000. In October of the same year, a roadside park was built to the northeast of the bridge, but the park no longer exists.
With most travelers using I-35 beginning in the 1960s, the bridge’s traffic load was lightened and it now mainly serves local traffic between Belton and Temple.
The bridge is part of the Historic Bridges of Texas and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
THE COLLEGE MASCOT SERIES: TEXAS TECH
Fearless Champion and Masked Rider Ashley Adams get ready for game day.
Prank led to Red Raider mascot
By JENNIFER WILSON, Our Town Temple
We’re gonna have to mosey on up north to tell you about our next college football mascot — all the way up to Lubbock — home of Texas Tech University. (If you really want to set the mood, put on some Buddy Holly while you read this.)
Created in 1923 by legislative action, Texas Technological College opened in 1925 with 914 students and a grand total of six buildings. It has expanded since then.
The university now encompasses a region larger than 46 of the nation’s 50 states! It is also the only campus in Texas that is home to a major university, a law school and a medical school (there’s a doctor/lawyer joke in there somewhere — and some of you will get the witticism).
On Sept. 1, 1969, the college formally became known as Texas Tech University.
The newly opened college needed a mascot, and the Fort Worth Star Telegram suggested one: the Dogies. Mrs. Ewing Young Freeland, the coach’s wife, did not care for it. She suggested the Matadors to reflect the campus’ Spanish architecture.
The students and football team liked this suggestion much better, and on March 15, 1926, they chose scarlet and black to be the school’s official colors.
The Red Raiders moniker didn’t come about until 1936 when Collier Parrish, sports editor of the Lubbock Morning Avalanche, thought the nickname was a good fit for the football team because of their bright red uniforms and exacting cross-country schedule.
That same year, a prank would eventually lead to a lasting, and much-loved tradition.
Borrowing some cowboy boots and a red cape, George Tate sneaked a palomino horse from the Tech barn and led the football team onto the field much to the delight of the roaring fans. The Red Raider quickly disappeared. He pulled this stunt a few more times during that football season, but despite its popularity, no attempt was made to permanently adopt the Red Raider rider until 1953.
Thinking a live mascot might help secure an invitation to the newly formed Southwest Conference (all members of the SWC had one at the time), Coach DeWitt Weaver called student Joe Kirk Fulton to his office to hatch a plan.
The idea was revealed at the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1, 1954, where, to the delight of the crowd, Fulton, on a jet-black horse galloped across the field followed by the Texas Tech University football team.
Ed Danforth, a writer for the Atlanta Journal, wrote: “No team in any bowl game ever made a more sensational entrance.”
Fulton became the university’s first official mascot, and the beloved tradition of the Masked Rider was born.
All was just fine and dandy for 20 years, and then the unthinkable happened — a woman was chosen to be the Masked Rider. Shock of shocks! I will pause for a minute while you go get your smelling salts…….
Anne Lynch was the young woman’s name, and her selection made national news. I am sure you can imagine the uproar, comments, bickering, etc., but through it all Anne remained steadfast and completed her assignment.
Thankfully, most people don’t give this much thought anymore, and women continue to be chosen for the position — including the current Masked Rider, Ashley Adams, who will serve for the 2021-2022 academic year.
It hasn’t been all nickers and carrots since 1974 either. In 1982 and then again in 1992, the Masked Rider accidentally ran into an SMU pompom girl and referee. Both were knocked unconscious. The former had to spend some time in the hospital resulting in a lawsuit against the university, the latter garnered a “Bum Steer Award” in Texas Monthly.
The most heartbreaking accident occurred on Sept. 3, 1994, during a football game against New Mexico — an equipment failure caused the saddle to slip, throwing the rider (who was ultimately uninjured) and sending Double T running back into the stadium tunnel.
The terrain change caused the horse to slip, and he hit his head on a cement wall. He died instantly. The death was covered on the front page of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal and the University Daily.
After the accident, victory gallops were stopped for two years and new safety protocols were instituted.
Currently, more than 30 people are on hand to assist the rider and horse, including a doctor and a veterinarian. The Masked Rider’s route has also been altered as well as the galloping speed.
Unfortunately, pranks against the horses have also occurred — once in 1963 and once in 1975. I’m not going to elaborate on what happened here. Researching about Double T is already upsetting enough. Suffice it to say that I believe there is a special place waiting for those who think harming an animal is “fun.”
Moving on to happier times….
So, how exactly is the Masked Rider chosen? It is not an easy feat. Candidates must first score an 80 or above in basic horsemanship knowledge (health, disease, vaccinations, injuries, anatomy, physiology, equipment and safety), and pass an academic and employment eligibility screening.
The next portion tests the applicants’ riding skills (proper saddling and riding procedures, executing basic riding maneuvers, etc.), and those that score an 80 or above move on to a simulation where they must hitch the trailer, load their mount and drive the truck and trailer through a series of maneuvers — all on their own. The remaining candidates must then go through a 30-minute interview process. The Masked Rider Advisory Committee then tallies the results to determine the winner.
A rider is absolutely nothing without a good partner, so if you think choosing a human is difficult, try finding a horse who will put up with the noise, crowds, sights and smells of a rowdy football game.
By nature, horses are prey animals — their MO is run first, ask questions later. Despite their large size, they are constantly on alert for any threats (seriously, we are talking about a 1,200-pound animal who will flee from a plastic bag — unless it’s a carrot bag and they know the difference), so finding one who is unruffled by our silly human activities (and patient enough not to bite or kick said humans), well let’s just say you would be lucky and leave it at that.
The Masked Rider’s current mount is Fearless Champion, and he has served since 2013. Adams is responsible for his care — every aspect of it.
She points out: “I feed him, water him, clean his stalls, exercise him and get him to and from appearances, so there are some days where I leave my house at five o’clock in the morning and don’t get back home until nine o’clock at night. I’m with him the whole day. Not a lot of people realize that he is my responsibility.”
Her advice for the next rider to take over the reins is simple — do not take it for granted.
“Welcome to the most amazing job. You get to have the most amazing year, for the most amazing university, with a horse that is worth his weight in gold,” she said.
Well said, Ashley. Please give Fearless Champion some carrots for me. He deserves it.
Sources for this article include the Texas Tech University Website, Double T's last ride - SBNation.com, Dailytoreador.com
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST
This scene is from Avenue A looking west in about 1909. On the left, Palace Drug occupied the lower floor of the Wilkerson Building at the southwest corner of Avenue A and South 2nd Street. Lewis S. Williamso’s harness, saddlery and implement business is on the right. The trolley tracks are in the middle of the street.
WHAT’S HAPPENING, CENTRAL TEXAS?
Central Texas largest and most complete calendar of event:
November 12-14 - "Our Town," a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Thornton Wilder, Temple High School, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. More information at: http://www.ThespiansR.Us
November 12-14 - The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Beltonian Theatre, 6 p.m.
November 12, Friday - All Together Now at Temple Civic Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
November 12, Friday - Bike Night at Horny Toad Harley. Live music by Scratch 3, beer, giveaways. 6-8 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - 2nd annual Blue Santa Toy Run at Fire Base Brewing. 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Preschool Story Time at Temple Public Library. 10:30 a.m.
November 13, Saturday - "Tea with the Princesses" with the Belton High School Magic Belles; 10am and 1pm at North Belton Middle School. Visit beltonmagicbelles.com for info.
November 13, Saturday - Market in the Vines. Take a walk through the vines and shop with over 50 vendors! Free to the public. 3 Texans Winery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Downtown Temple November Market. his will be our second to last market of the year and just in time to start your holiday shopping for all your friends and family. From soaps to jewelry, baked goods & jams, even custom wood working items, our market has something for everyone. 2 N. Main, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - A Night in Vegas…St. Mary’s Catholic School Casino Night. Live auction, silent auction, games, drawings. Benefits the school’s educational programs. Cultural Activities Center. 6 p.m.
November 14, Sunday - St. Mary’s Traditional Turkey Dinner, KC Hall at 2218 W. Ave D, limited seating or to go plates, $12 plate includes Turkey, dressing, roll, gravy, coleslaw, green beans, cranberry sauce and dessert. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
November 14, Sunday - All Together Now at Temple Civic Theatre, 2:30 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Preschool Story Time at Temple Public Library. 10:30 a.m.
November 16, Tuesday - The Temple College Chorale will present a concert titled “Voice Dance” at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center on the Temple College campus.
November 16, Tuesday - Tarok Card Party & Lessons. Czech Heritage Museum. 7-9 p.m.
November 18, Thursday - The Temple College Symphonic Band will present “Fall Back to Band (Returning to the ‘New’ Normal)” at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center on the Temple College campus.
November 18, Thursday - Turkey Day Table Art. Need some centerpieces for your big Thanksgiving dinner? What’s better than an adorable handmade craft made by your little turkey? Kids will make different types of table art for you to display. Register at templeparks.com. Open to ages 2-6. $7 per child.
November 19, Friday - Yuletide Tour of Homes. To purchase tickets, visit www.TempleChildrensMuseum.org/events.
November 19, Friday - Book Cellar Investigation. $20 per person. 8 p.m. to 11:55 p.m.
November 19, Friday - Justin Hewitt at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
November 19-20 - The Temple College Opera Workshop class, also known as Opera in a Box, will present a show titled “Mostly Mozart” on Friday, Nov. 19, and Saturday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jackson-Graeter Backstage Theatre.
November 19 through January 15 - Facing the Inferno wildfire photo exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Casey Donahew at Bell County Expo Center’s Assembly Hall.
November 20, Saturday - Facing the Inferno wildfire exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Game Show Night by Texas Red at Fire Base Brewing. 7-9 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - Belton Market Days. Downtown Belton. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - The Gathering. Native American music, dancing, food. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for picnicking and fun. Yetti Polk Park in Belton. 11 a.m.
November 21, Sunday – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), free movie at Cultural Activities Center. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles. Shrubberies not required. The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Professor Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
November 25, Thursday - Thanksgiving Outdoor Movie Night at Barrow Brewing in Salado. “A Christmas Story.” 6 p.m.
November 27-28 - Kris Kringle Mart presented by KC Council 3444, 2218 W. Avenue D, Temple. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 2 — Die Hard at The Beltonian. It IS. a Christmas movie!. 6 p.m.
December 3, Friday - Sammy G’s Toy Drive Block Party at Fire Base Brewing. 7 p.m.
December 3-5 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 4, Saturday - Barrow Brewing Christmas Market, Salado. Noon.
December 4, Saturday - Santa at the Depot, Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum, 5-8 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Lance Wade Thomas rocks O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Temple Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert featuring soprano Priscilla Santana and tenor Brian Joyce. Temple High School. 7:30 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Chisholm Trail Christmas Ball featuring Rick Trevino. Bell County Expo Center. 6 p.m.
December 4-5 - Kris Kringle Mart presented by KC Council 3444, 2218 W. Avenue D, Temple. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 6, Monday - The 75th Annual Christmas Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. This year's theme is “The Magic of a Traditional Christmas." Details will be made available on templeparks.com.
December 10, Friday - TISD Jazz Band – Merry Christmas and All That Jazz at Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy Auditorium, 5:30 p.m.
December 10, Friday - Bone at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 10-12 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 11, Saturday — Downtown Temple Holiday Market & Food Truck Frenzy. We are excited to partner our market with a Food Truck Event! Come join us and support local businesses in our area! 2 N. Main Street. 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - 5th annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Troy Community Center. Shop with local small businesses. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - Tucka Texas Takeover with LJ Echols, Fat Daddy and Mr. Smoke. VFW Post 1820, Temple. 7 p.m.
December 12, Sunday - Temple High School Band Winter Concert in the THS Auditorium, 2:00 p.m.
December 13, Monday - Temple High School Orchestra Christmas Concert at THS Auditorium, 7 p.m.
December 14, Tuesday - Temple High School Choir Holiday Gift at THS Auditorium. 7:30 p.m.
December 17, Friday - Matt Cearley & The Rowdy Few, O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 19, Sunday – When Harry Met Sally… (1989), free movie at Cultural Activities Center. Boy meets girl, boy sees other girls, and girl sees other boys. Maybe boy and girl should have seen each other. “I’ll have what she’s having.” The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
December 23, Thursday - Santa & Elvis at Fire Street Pizza. 6-9 p.m.
December 31 - January 1 - Texas Elite Pole Vaulting. The Expo Explosion, the second largest indoor pole vaulting event in the country. Bell County Expo Center’s Garth Arena.
December 31, Friday - New Year’s Eve at O’Briens with the Jason Custer Band. 10 p.m.
December 31, Friday - New Year’s Eve at Bo’s Barn with the Craig Howell Band. 9 p.m.
January 29, Saturday - Parker McCollum Red Dirt Mardi Gras at Bell County Expo. 8 p.m.
LIST YOUR EVENT! Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.