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Cow Trail Christmas
Special to The Hesperian-Beacon—
Candlelight at the Ranch has been an annual Christmas celebration for more than four decades at the National Ranching Heritage Center, but this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes to the way The Center will celebrate a frontier Christmas.
This year, it will be transformed into a virtual event, broadcast on Lubbock’s PBS station.
A prerecorded televised 42nd Annual Candlelight at the Ranch will air at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 on PBS station KTTZ-TV.
Narrated by Western entertainer Red Steagall, the broadcast will feature video of past Candlelight events but primarily use the help of 48 Ranch Host volunteers dressed in period clothing to recreate a frontier Christmas in 10 historic ranching structures. The Texas Tech Public Media PBS station filmed two to three segments a week for two months to prepare the hour-long program.
The televised Candlelight also will air at numerous other times leading up to Christmas and will be available online at KTTZ.org and nrhc.ttu.edu.
In an effort to use the NRHC facilities without risking the health of staff, volunteers and visitors, The Center is preparing a “Cow Trail Christmas” in J.J. Gibson Memorial Park at the NRHC entrance. Both the park and the entry gate will be decorated and lit with holiday lights every evening throughout December for visitors to drive by or park, walk through the front park and take pictures.
Designed to commemorate the open-range era in the West, 19 life-size bronzes of rangy Longhorn steers have been placed in a variety of poses within the Gibson Park to resemble a herd walking. Each steer weighs 750 pounds and carries the brand of its donor, including some of the most historic ranches in Texas. For the first time in the 50-year history of the NRHC, a “Cow Trail Christmas” will light up the NRHC entrance.
The NRHC is located at 3121 4th Street, Lubbock, Texas.