Wall Ag Boosters Hit Home Run with Inaugural Wild West Fest
SAN ANGELO, TX — The Wall Ag Boosters hit a home run with their inaugural Wild West Fest Saturday night. There are no official gate counts, but best estimates are that just over 3,000 people packed into San Angelo’s Bill Aylor RiverStage to see The Turnpike Troubadours and three opening acts: Kody West, Dalton Domino, and Shane Smith & the Saints.
The quality of the music was extremely good. Singer/songwriter Kody West warmed up the crowd and Domino sounded better than I’ve heard him in a while.
The highlight of the show was the set by Shane Smith. Their four-part harmony choruses and well-executed renditions of the songs from their hit record Geronimo proved this Americana band is one to watch.
Turnpike Troubadours did not disappoint, either. The crowd sang along to their hits like “House Fire,” “Reckless,” “7 & 7,” “Shreveport,” and “Long Hot Summer Day”.
Tickets for the four-band performance Saturday night were $40 at the gate. All of the net proceeds will be donated to Wall ISD’s Ag programs.
Will Hartnett heads the Wall High School Agricultural Science Department. In the VIP area where the Blaine’s Pub cooks provided delicious barbecue fajitas, he said the money to support the Ag programs going in Wall is important. Hartnett grew up in Bellville, one of the many communities experiencing tax base growth as Houston inches west. “Katy ISD has an Ag program at every high school. Something like eight of them,” he said. But school districts near large, metro areas have an advantage in that they usually have a much larger tax base to finance extracurricular programs. Wall, despite its reputation for wealth in the region, doesn’t have a large enough tax base to build the equivalent in size of the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo show barn like what is happening near metro areas.
Thomas Halfmann, son of real estate appraiser Kevin Halfmann, is a freshman at his father’s alma mater, Texas Tech. Thomas pitched the idea of a music concert fundraiser to the Wall Ag Boosters last year. “I told him, before you go in there suggesting the boosters risk it all on an outdoor concert, you better get the Farmer’s Almanac out and see what the weather forecast will be. That’s going to be the first question those farmers ask,” Kevin said.
The Almanac predicted mild weather and no rain. It came true as temperatures were in the high-60s with a cool breeze throughout the show.
The Wall Ag Boosters produced the show. The current officers are Randal Schwartz, president; Dee Gidney, vice president; Carolyn Weishuhn, secretary; Debra Friend, treasurer; and Chace Aldridge, reporter.