Press Releases

Plains Trail’s Tourism & Preservation Roundup, July 20–22, 2016 in Childress, to feature keynote by State Historian Bill O’Neal; presentations by 501 Winery, Russell Graves, others

July 9, 2016


Spaces are still available for the Texas Plains Trail Region’s 8th annual Tourism & Preservation Roundup, the region’s leading heritage tourism conference, scheduled for July 20–22, 2016, at the Childress Event Center in Childress.


The purpose of Roundup is to prepare tourism and historic preservation professionals and volunteers with ideas they can use to attract visitors to their own Texas communities. Destination marketers, museum workers, parks personnel, elected officials, and followers of Texas history are all welcome. Registration for the full conference, which includes a Wednesday evening reception and wine tasting at the 501 Winery, Thursday lunch, a pre-dinner reception at the Childress County Heritage Museum, Thursday night dinner and entertainment at The Main Event, and Friday hands-on legislative advocacy session is only $85.00.


State Historian of Texas Bill O’Neal of Carthage is slated to deliver the keynote address, “Adventures of a Back-Trailer,” at Thursday’s luncheon, reliving his decades on back roads in pursuit of Texas history. A special Thursday-only registration rate of $50 is available by July 15 to those wishing to attend the luncheon participate in that day’s sessions.


O’Neal was appointed to a two-year term as State Historian by Gov. Rick Perry in August 2012. He is headquartered at Panola College in Carthage, where he has taught since 1970. For more than 20 years O’Neal conducted the state’s first Traveling Texas History class, a three-hour credit course which featured a 2,100-mile itinerary. In 2000 he was awarded a Piper Professorship, and in 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wild West Historical Association. The author of more than 40 books, almost half about Texas history subjects, in 2007 he was named Best Living Non-Fiction Writer by True West Magazine. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by his alma mater, Texas A&M University–Commerce.


Thursday sessions will get under way with a welcome by Childress mayor Brett Parr and Susan Leary of the Childress Chamber of Commerce/Childress Main Street, followed by a summary of the recent Red River War Heritage Partners council by Michael Grauer of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Later sessions include presentations from a video showing the how the Lubbock Heritage Society moved the historic Underwood Pullman Rail Car to the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, to a book signing with Bill O’Neal and other authors.


Childress photographer/videographer Russell Graves, who heads up the Childress Economic Development Corporation, will close out the day with a video of his wildlife and nature images highlighting the attractions of rural Texas.


A full schedule of all presentations, sessions, and activities is at http://TexasPlainsTrail/Roundup. Special hotel rates are available for overnight guests.


The event is made possible with the generous sponsorship of Childress Main Street/Chamber of Commerce, the City of Childress, the Big Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau, Boys Ranch, the Post Chamber of Commerce, and the Sherman County Development Committee.


The Texas Plains Trail Region (TPTR), an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission, is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing heritage tourism to the 52 counties of the Texas Plains and Panhandle.


For more information, call Barbara Brannon, TPTR, 806.747.1997 (mobile 806.252.6544).



Detailed Program/Schedule



Discover Childress (on your own) Shopping, lunch, etc. — go to for a full directory.


Texas Plains Trail Region Board Meeting. At Childress Event Center, 1100 7th St., NW, Childress TX 79201, (940) 937-4100. Open to the public; please RSVP to by July 15.


Early arrival registration and exhibitor setup, Large hall, Childress Event Center. Childress has always been a crossroads of trails, rails, and highways in the eastern Texas Panhandle, with plentiful lodging, eateries, and recreation. Rodeos, golf, amateur sports, shopping, arts—Childress has lots to enjoy! Today this bustling city is building on its history as a regional hub with a brand-new, state-of-the-art, multipurpose event center. Our Roundup sessions will all take place in the Large Hall, a cool, welcoming space with plenty of room for attractive exhibits around the perimeter of the meeting area.


Opening Reception, 501 Winery, 109 Ave. E NW, Childress, TX 79201, (940) 937-8155 Directly across from the courthouse in the lovingly repurposed, historic Women’s Department Club Building is a jewel of a winery located right on the beaten path between the Metroplex and the Rocky Mountains. Adam Bishop, local preservationist and viticulturist, will talk with us about his experiences in growing wine grapes and raising prize Longhorns here in the Panhandle and guide us through a tasting of his 501 Wines. Wondering where the label got its name? Stop by the site of the old Fort Worth & Denver rail line in downtown Childress, and see the iconic locomotive this city takes such pride in preserving and honoring!


Dinner and networking at local restaurants on your own. Meet up with friends old and new, and set the stage for a productive work day. You’ve got some great dining options in Childress:



TPTR Roundup at Childress Event Center, 1100 7th St., NW, Childress TX 79201  Let’s make tracks for a successful year of tourism and preservation education and marketing throughout our region and beyond. Bring a supply of your destination’s travel literature for us to distribute for you. And bring your own questions, ideas, and goals!


Registration and Welcome Coffee, courtesy of Childress Women’s League (breakfast on your own, at hotels)


Welcome to Childress  Mayor Brett Parr, and Susan Leary of the Childress Chamber of Commerce/Childress Main Street give us a glimpse of what to expect during our visit. We’ll present our new slate of officers and thank outgoing ones.


“Gone to the Texas Plains Trail.” Travel video promotion for our region, designed by Texas Plains Trail interns and produced by Doug Baum of the Texas Camel Corps; overview of TPTR’s strategic goals for 2016–17 by board president Kristine Olsen (Dalhart) and advocacy chair Suzanne Bellsnyder (Spearman).


The Red River War Heritage Partners Project: Get on Board! An update by Panhandlle-Plains Historical Museum curator Michael Grauer. You’ve been hearing about the Red River War Partners summit in Old Mobeetie in June 2016, driven by the Panhandle Tourism Marketing Council and Childress museum board member John Preston. Here’s your chance to learn more about the ways your museums, sites, and communities can benefit from—and contribute to—the synergy in drawing visitors to “one of the most significant American wars you’ve never heard of.” Take home lessons and practical goals from this major interpretation/education/marketing initiative as it’s just starting to build up steam.

Snack & Beverage Break. Sodas, light treats, and a chance to network with friends from all over. Visit exhibit booths.


Trail Drives, Rail Lives: Preserving and Celebrating “Linear Resources” in Our Region

With highlights from The Last Stagecoach to Matador (Carol Campbell, Motley County); The Underwood Pullman Car Project (Pam Brink & Cindy Martin, Lubbock County); the Bankhead Highway Tourism (Big Spring, Colorado City); and The Great US 83 Whistle-Stop Tour (Barbara Brannon, TPTR)


Exhibit Booth and Restroom Break. Visit exhibit booths. Bring plenty of your own business cards to swap.


“Adventures of a Back-Trailer” with State Historian of Texas Bill O’Neal. Many generations of trailblazers have gone before us in the Lone Star State, along buffalo tracks and wagon trails, on horseback and via the Iron Horse, as pathfinders on our state’s earliest auto routes, and even via untested paths into outer space. But Bill O’Neal has spent a lifetime following along behind these adventurers, absorbing their amazing stories and teaching them to others. How can we aim to inspire visitors to our destinations as he’s done for so many years? Sit back, listen, and learn!


Book Fair and Signing by Bill O’Neal and regional authors/publishers.


Getting on Track and Staying There with Local Event Promotions. Lisa Mahler (Borden County), Holle Humphries (Quanah Parker Trail), and Conrad Masterson (Cottle County), and Barbara Brannon (Texas 52-Step Tour) describe successful event strategies and open up discussion on how we can tap into resources for sharing more widely.


Practical Plans for Promoting Events. Fairs, rodeos, farmers’ markets, classic car rallies—events of all sorts draw publicity and participation to our region—but only if we get the word out! We’ll strategize for 2016–17.


Snack and Beverage Break Light treats and more networking. Take one last opportunity to visit exhibitor booths.


Texas through the Lens of Videographer Russell Graves. Wildlife photographer/videographer Russell Graves, head of the Childress EDC, shares some of his favorite adventures and images.


Full Steam Ahead: New Opportunities for TPTR. TTIA Travel Fair Amarillo; Authentic Texas magazine; State Fair


Pre-Dinner Reception and Tour of Childress County Heritage Museum, 210 3rd St NW, Childress, TX 79201; Dinner and Entertainment at Main Events, 240 North Main St., Childress, TX 79201, downtown Childress.



Legislative Advocacy 101 Workshop, 9:30–11:30 am, Childress Event Center. Refreshments served.



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 Texas Plains Trail Region

P. O. Box 88, Lubbock TX 79408-0088 • 806.747.1997

Contact: Barbara A. Brannon, Ph.D., Executive Director