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Trick roper's 'True Texas moment'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

The temperatures might have been frigid, but February was definitely hot, hot, hot for local World Champion Trick Roper Kevin Fitzpatrick.
Bandera's favorite cowboy entertainer will be featured prominently in a striking full-color spread in the March issue of Texas Highways magazine, entitled, "Griff Smith's Texas Photo Moments." The issue is out now.
In his travels around the Lone Star State, Smith, photography editor for the magazine, collected images that "could well serve as a collection of short stories about the people and places of Texas."
For the photo shoot at Bandera's Dixie Dude Ranch, Smith asked Fitzpatrick to "swing his rope toward the camera." With a grin as wide as Texas, Fitzpatrick happily obliged. In fact, according to Smith, he smiled in every frame.
Texas Highway writer Jane Wu described the image as a "larger-than-life, comic-book-hero quality of a trick-roper in full action." Her words perfectly captured the essence of the photograph - and of Fitzpatrick himself.
Other of Smith's images featured in Texas Highways' photo spread included a cowboy positioned adroitly in front of a large neon Texas Flag at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio; Stanley Marsh's 3's Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo; the Port Isabel lighthouse taken inside the facility - from the ground up; and the water tower on Route 66 in Groom, shot against a threatening sky, among others.
The original photographs can be viewed at an exhibition in Huntsville. "Griff Smith's Texas," will be on display from March 5 through June 30 in the Katy and E. Don Walker Sr. Education Center at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, 1402 19th Street. The museum is located on the Huntsville campus of Sam Houston State University.
Museum hours are 9 am to 4:30 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4:30 pm, Sunday. Admission is free.
In addition, a public program will take place at 4 pm, Saturday, March 5, followed by the exhibit opening. For more information, call 936-294-1832 or visit www.shsu.edu/-smm_www/.
Closer to home, however, Fitzpatrick will be the recipient of a unique honor when the folks at the Flying L Guest Ranch dedicate the "Kevin Fitzpatrick Room" with an afternoon ribbon cutting, set for 3 pm, on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The festivities will take place at the ranch's main house, 675 Flying L Drive. Refreshments will be served.
For more information about the dedication, call the Flying L at 830-460-3001.
There's is no doubt that eventually, "Kevin Fitzpatrick Room" at the Flying L Guest Ranch will rank right up there with the John Wayne Room at the OST restaurant as one of the things tourists must not miss when visiting Bandera.

Pictured: Photo by J. Griffis Smith/TxDOT

This photo of Bandera's Kevin Fitzpatrick, taken in front of a nonplussed equine at the Dixie Dude Ranch, is featured in the March issue of Texas Highways magazine.