Volunteerism – Alive and Well in Bandera

Written By: David Kemp - Mar• 12•14


We tend to complain a lot in Texas about many things. It’s just our way of blowing off steam. We treat it as our right of heritage. After all, Texas wouldn’t have become independent of Mexico if folks had been satisfied with the status quo.

We are an opinionated people and most don’t mind telling you which side of the fence they’re on. The old joke goes “you can always tell a Texan, but you can’t tell ‘em much”. So as long as I’m up here on the soapbox, I’d like to toss a few kudos to the folks here in Bandera and all through the hill country who are active in bringing about change instead of just complaining. I like to think of these tireless volunteers as my “fellow cowboys” who embody the ideals of the cowboy attitude. You don’t have to tell a cowboy what needs doing’, he (or she) sees the need and takes care of it. You see them at every event and gathering, or river cleanup, our Celebrate Bandera, charity ball or what have you. They are the volunteers quietly pitching in to make our hill country experience exceptional.

The list goes on and on, but for the sake of my limited space, I will narrow my focus on one particular program: the Cowboy Capital Opry. If you haven’t seen this show, you are missing out on a real entertainment value. Benefiting the hill country Meals on Wheels program, which provides 25,000 meals annually to needy Bandera residents, this two hour country music show features wholesome entertainment by some of the area’s best musicians. Boerne’s Gerry and Harriet Payne have been organizing and hosting the show since its inception in March of 2009. The brainstorm of Payne and then Silver Sage director Ann Bishop, the show is complete with great music, pretty good jokes, and fabulous door prizes.

The show is held at the Silver Sage Community Center in Bandera the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm. Admission is only $5 and an evening meal is available before the show. “We had 65 people in attendance for the first show, so that was very encouraging. We’ve grown to a capacity crowd of over 200 now so expansion of our facility may be in the future” said Payne. Some of the hill country’s finest musicians make up the house band for the Opry show.

The Cowboy Capital Opry players include Gerry Payne (fiddle, saxophone and mandolin), Harriet Payne (piano), Walter “Tooter” Ripps (bass), Mark Wright (drums), Dave Kemp (electric guitar) and Randy Gilliam (steel guitar). “All of (these) guys are professionals and that is why our show is so successful. Thanks guys, we couldn’t do this without you.” Guests for the show are usually from the local and San Antonio area, but some have come from as far away as Branson, Missouri. You never know who’s on the show but it always guarantees to entertain.

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