Buckets and Boots slated for Saturday

“This event has made a huge impact on our local volunteer fire departments,” said PK East VFD Fire Chief Ronnie Ranft. “It allows Palo Pinto County’s fire departments to meet its goal. As a 100-percent volunteer organization, we rely solely on our community to function. We can’t do what we do without the support from ‘Buckets and Boots’ and for that we are truly grateful.”

The sixth annual Buckets and Boots Music Festival will take place on Saturday, July 9, at the Rocker B Ranch, located at 1125 Chaney Lane in Graford, featuring Country Music artists Wade Bowen, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jack Ingram and Jerry Jeff Walker.

The gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and show time will begin at 6 p.m. Adult tickets cost $25 and children 12 and under are free.

All proceeds will benefit the eleven volunteer fire departments of Palo Pinto County, including Graford, PK East, PK West, Brazos, Gordon, Palo Pinto, Lake Palo Pinto, Lone Camp, Mineral Wells, Santo and Strawn.

“This event has made a huge impact on our local volunteer fire departments,” said PK East VFD Fire Chief Ronnie Ranft. “It allows Palo Pinto County’s fire departments to meet its goal. As a 100-percent volunteer organization, we rely solely on our community to function. We can’t do what we do without the support from ‘Buckets and Boots’ and for that we are truly grateful.”

The 2016 lineup includes:

• Wade Bowen is an American Texas Country/Red Dirt Singer from Waco. He released his first album in 2002, Try Not to Listen, which became a regional hit in Texas. He released his first live album 2003 and another studio album in 2006. In 2008, he released If We Ever Make It Home, his biggest success to date on Nov. 21, 2009. Bowen recorded his second live album at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, Texas.

• Jason Boland and the Stragglers are an American dirt band featuring Jason Boland (lead vocalist and guitar), Cody Angel (guitar, pedal steel, resonator guitar), Brad Rice (percussion), Grant Tracy (bass), and Nick Worley (fiddle and mandolin). Boland formed a band in 1998, releasing their first album, Pearl Snaps, in 1999. Boland and the Stragglers became one of the most successful artists in the Red Dirt/Texas country scene.

• Jack Ingram is an American country music artist formerly signed to Big Machine Records, an independent record label. He has released seven studio albums, one extended play, one compilation album, six live albums, and 18 singles.

• Jerry Jeff Walker is an American country music singer and songwriter. Best known for writing the song “Mr. Bojangles”, Walker’s prolific music career and widespread musical influence have made him an iconic fixture of the Texas country music scene. 

There will be several food trucks with food and beverages available for purchase on site in the Grove. No coolers or outside food or drink is allowed. Lawn chairs are allowed, but nothing with an umbrella. There will be an area to set them up in the amphitheatre.

RV parking is available for $150, tickets must still be purchased for concert admission. Arrive the day of the concert and stay overnight. There are no hookups for electric, water, or sewer. Email katy@bucketsandboots.com to reserve a spot.

Since the concert is held outdoors, be prepared for the elements with bug spray and sunscreen.

Buckets and Boots merchandise will also be available for purchase on a cash-only basis.

To learn how to get VIP Skybox tickets or become a sponsor, call 817-984-8532, or for more information, visit http://www.bucketsandboots.com.

How it all got started:

The Buckets and Boots Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established by local property owners including the Lance Byrd family, the Nancy Richards family, the Craig James family and the Mike Patterson family, shortly after the 2011-12 wildfires devastated the Possum Kingdom Lake area, as a means to collect and distribute funding to help rebuild those communities.

More than 200 homes and two churches were completely destroyed. Graford lost nearly 40 percent of its tax revenue to operate its fire department and police station and FEMA declared it a Stage 1 Major Disaster.

The Buckets and Boots relief concert fundraiser was organized to raise funding to help the local fire departments purchase new equipment and also to boost the local economy and offset the lost tax revenue. The Buckets and Boots website explains how it works:

 “In July of 2011, all proceeds were awarded through a grant process to local volunteer fire departments.  These grants played a key role in purchasing six new fire trucks and aided in the repair of existing equipment and the purchase of new equipment.  Additionally, an Emergency Relief Fund was established to proactively assist local fire departments with future fires. 

“During the summer of 2012, fires once again broke out in the Palo Pinto County areas.  The volunteer fire departments rose to the challenge and worked tirelessly to control the fires. Despite their valiant efforts, the massive nature of these wildfires put a significant strain on the local departments. While waiting for the state to allocate additional resources, which takes several days, the Buckets and Boots Foundation was able to step in and make a significant and immediate impact through the use of the Emergency Relief Fund. The Foundation, in a coordinated effort with the local fire chiefs, privately hired ten bulldozers with operators who were able to cut a fire ring around the fires.  This enabled the local departments to control and contain the fires, thus protecting the area and saving thousands of acres and countless homes from imminent danger.”

In 2012, the Lake Country Sun reported that proceeds from the inaugural event netted over $450,000.

To date, the Buckets and Boots Foundation has given out more than $638 thousand in grants allowing each department to update its fire equipment and purchase the proper safety and protective gear and brush firefighter equipment it needs. The foundation also gave $10,000 to assist with relief efforts after the fertilizer plant explosion devastated the volunteer fire department in the small town of West, Texas, in 2013. It reported that the ERF account currently has around $100,000 that can be spent if a situation quickly arises.

What started as an act of rejuvenation to help replenish the needs of local firefighters has since become a celebration of those dedicated volunteers who put their lives on the line fighting disasters and saving others from destruction and devastation.

Compiled by Mary Richardson

The Graham Leader

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