I’ll admit up front that this article could use at least an hour or two of phone calls and research to find our more about how the event I’m touting came to be, whether it’s going to be an annual event, what the Chamber of Commerce will do with the $$….but it has to be posted today. That’s because tonight the Roy, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Salute to Bob Wills steak dinner and dance. Which means that if you live within three or four hours of Roy and you forgot to do something special for your Valentine yesterday or last night, you have a chance to totally redeem yourself.
I wish I was going. Nothing better than a Saturday night dance in a small town community center. Especially if you’re a Bob Wills fan, as I am.
I wrote about Bob Wills living in Roy in an earlier post. The Harding County website says that Roy’s claim to fame is that several folks in town played in a band with the town barber, who just happened to be a guy named James Robert Willis. Supposedly the barber played the fiddle and was something of a composer, and wrote a popular little tune in 1927 while living in Roy that he called the “Spanish Two-step”. The story is that Wills’ signature “ahh-ha” would bring Roy’s one local policeman running to make them keep the noise down.
After two years as a full-time barber and part-time musician, James Robert Wills moved from Roy back to the home place in Turkey, Texas (considered his hometown). At some point he moved to Tulsa, shortened his name to Bob, and renamed “Spanish Two-step.” It became “San Antonio Rose”.
So, yes, Roy, New Mexico was where Bob Wills wrote “San Antonio Rose.”
And tonight, with dinner beginning at 6 p.m. and dancing from 7 – 11, the 300 or so residents of Roy will celebrate that young barber who went on to be known as the “King of Western Swing.” For $25 a head (which benefits the Roy Chamber of Commerce), you’ll get a steak dinner and then dancing to Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams (touted as a band playing signature Rocky Mountain Straight Honky Tonk). Katie Glassman will join the band as a special guest.
The Roy Facebook page says there are only a few tickets left, so I’m suggesting you get on the phone and call someone listed in that poster right now.
The event is at the Roy Community Building at 557 Wagon Mound Highway. If you’re driving in from Las Vegas or Santa Fe or Albuquerque, go while it’s still daylight. The drive from Wagon Mound to Roy through the Canadian River Canyon is one of the prettiest in New Mexico.
Wish I could join you. I want to hear all about it tomorrow.