Celebrating history and cannons in Pecos County

“Horsehead Crossing 1866,” a painting by Sheffield artist Mike Capron. Courtesy photo

Texas has unique cultural and historical celebrations throughout the year, and an event as big as Texas is set to take place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30-31, at the historic Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River, about 30 miles east of Fort Stockton.

Ernest Woodward, chairman of the Pecos County Historical Commission, said the event will feature seven chuckwagons, 10 cannons, and about 100 reenactors. The Pecos County Historical Commission will host this free two-day celebration, open to all who enjoy partaking in Texas’ rich Western heritage. It is presented in conjunction with the Pecos County Historical Commission and the historical commissions in Presidio, Crane, and Upton counties, the Fort Stockton Historical Society, and the Texas Historical Commission.

The event will kick off on Oct. 30 with a chuckwagon dinner, followed by campfire story telling. Whether enjoying historical figures of centuries past, or watching live cannon artillery fired throughout the day, there is something for everyone.

Honoring the period through the 16th-19th centuries, the event will commemorate the Comanche War Trail, the Emigrant Trail, the Butterfield Overland Stage, and the Goodnight-Loving Trail made famous by Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove that was filmed partly on location.

The cannon will be fired by Fort Stockton reenactors, starting early in the morning on Saturday, and then on and off throughout the day. It promises to be an entertaining and awe inspiring spectacle for all ages. There will also be stagecoach and helicopter rides.

Though donations will be accepted, meals were donated, and the chuckwagon breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will all be served free of charge. In addition, two taco trucks, a pizza truck, and a barbecue food truck will be available for those wishing to purchase food.

Three area artists will be showcasing their work - Beverly Hartman from Bakersfield, Mike Capron from Sheffield, and Nita Henderson from Fort Stockton.

Mike Capron, who ranches on the old family place in Sheffield, is excited about the event. He has been making Western art for nearly 60 years, has worked on ranches throughout the Big Bend, including Alpine, Marfa, and Fort Davis. His huge 32’x70’ paintings depict historical events. According to Capron, the Kickapoo Indians stole all the horses at Fort Lancaster around 1867-1877, and one of his paintings is titled, “We share land, you share horses.”

Beverly Hartman, an artist who paints on rock, farms and ranches in Bakersfield, and paints Western and animal art on rocks from the area, most notably Terlingua-Lajitas. Her painting, “The Butterfield Relay Station,” will be sold at auction. 

“This event covers the stagecoach route and the cattle drive, and this is the Horsehead Crossing and the stagecoaches that came through the area, and there will be big longhorns,” exclaimed Hartman. “There is a big monument, a big Confederate tombstone out there, where they filmed part of the series Lonesome Dove. We will be stepping back in history about 200 years!”

A full itinerary of the two-day event is available at pecoscountyhistoricalcommission.org.

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