Grab your boots and get ready bull ridin’ fans, the “HOTTEST 8 SECONDS OF THE YEAR” is back… and it’s bigger and better than ever!!  The National Professional Bull Riders bring some of the nation’s top bull riders to town for a 2-day event on January 26 & 27 in the Payne Auto Group Arena at the RGV Livestock Show Complex, Mercedes, TX.   Top cowboys will compete for an average of $14,000 in money and prizes.  This includes a chance to win one of three $600 Monsoon Silver Champion Trophy Buckles and a sack full of money.  The NPBR is one of the premier bull riding tours in the country and has been entertaining crowds since established in 2000.


The four-footed beasts that cowboys will be trying to score points on will be a hulking, snorting temperamental 2,000-pound bull.  Many are up and coming stars of professional bull riding.


This is your chance to be up close and personal with the bulls and the bull riders.  You will experience the thrills and spills of each one and be able to cheer on your favorite contestant.  Afterwards, join the NPBR Bull Riders for the “After Party” Saturday night at Mustang Lounge!!


Returning this year…South Texas Bull Fight Challenge.  This will be the first stop on the South Texas Bull Fight Challenge Tour.  Five top bull fighters will be competing against each other not only for money in their pockets but also for a chance to perform in the finals held in September.    In a freestyle bull fight, the bull fighter goes one-on-one against a Mexican Fighting bull for 70 seconds.  The bull fighter is judged on his willingness to expose himself to risk and on his aggressiveness.   You will be on the edge of your seat watching these athletes showing off their skills!!


Pro Rodeo Clown and Barrelman, Joey “Hashbrown” Hackett from Hutto, TX will be showing off his comedy routine from inside the “clown barrel” at each performance.  Joey has established himself as one of the hottest barrelman and funny guy personalities in the world of Professional Rodeo.  Working rodeos from Florida all the way to Washington, he brings southern family Cajun humor to relieve any stress or worries your life holds.    You can be promised top notch, family oriented entertainment for both performances.


There will be something for everyone including music, food, vendors, pony rides and a calf scramble for the kids.  Mustang Lounge will be hosting the “Meet the Cowboy’s” after party on Saturday night, January 26, following the bull riding….And come take a picture with the African Watusi Bull, Oliver!!


Local sponsors for this event are 100.5 KTEX,  Mustang Lounge, BootJack Western Stores, Welcome Home RGV, Payne Auto Group, BrushTek Pipeline Maintenance, Med-Care EMS, Executive Inn, City of Mercedes and Mercedes EDC, KRGV-Channel 5 & KRGV-Cable 1240 Somos El Valle.


Pre-sale tickets are available at Boots & Jeans in Weslaco, Bull Rider in Harlingen and all Boot Jack Western Stores.  Adults are $14 pre-sale and $16 at the gate.  Seniors (55+) are $12 presale and $14 at the gate.   Kids (6-12 years) are $7 pre-sale and $8 at the gate and kids 5 & under are free.


Chris Marshall starts the action on Saturday, January 26 at 5:30 pm with a variety of country music and the bull riding and bull fights start at 7:30 pm.   The Sunday, January 27th matinee show will start with a performance by “Ruthi” at 12:00 noon followed by action pack bull riding and bullfights.



South Padre Island Kite Fest: Let’s Tie One On!

What started out as a mere ‘fun fly’ is now one of the biggest kite
festivals in the country.


On Jan. 31st, Feb. 1st and 2nd , 2019 ~ Thursday Night, Friday & Saturday ~ SPI Kite Fest will descend onto the flats of South Padre Island. The festival kicks off Thursday evening with Indoor Kite Performances held at the South Padre Island Convention Centre from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.


The indoor performance lineup boasts an array of internationally known kitefliers. John Barresi holds thirty-one national championship titles and is the 2018 Open Individual Unlimited Ballet champion. John will be joined by Scott Weider & Phil Burks who both were invited to fly in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and James Fletcher the 2014 AKA National Indoor Champion. Other invited performers are Mario Di Lucca from Victoria, British Columbia, Spence Watson, Paul de Bakker, Paul Lamasters and Brett Marchel. All of these amazing indoor fliers dedicate their cheoreographed
routines with one passion in mind . . . “creating peace thru kiting ~


If you have never been to an Indoor Kite Performance, this is the
event you do not want to miss! Tickets for the Indoor Kite Exhibition are $6 per person and can be purchased or reserved in advance at B&S Kites (956-761-1248). Tickets are not available at the door.  The festival continues on Friday & Saturday (Feb. 1st & 2nd ) when the festival moves outdoors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the flats just north of the Convention Centre.


Several kitefliers from all over the United States are scheduled to bring their magnificent ‘show kites’ that will be on display throughout the day. Just imagine it ~ a huge 3D dragon, a 150 ft. octopus, a 90 ft. gecko or a 24 ft. spinning bol ~ whatever you can imagine, you might see it soaring in the air.


No kite fest is complete without the mesmerizing performances of
individual as well as team performances. Three teams are scheduled to perform at this year’s event ~ John Barresi is returning with Team Kitelife consisting of John (Portland, OR), Scott Benz (Jacksonville, FL), Eli Russell (Portland, OR) and Brett Marchel (Harbor Springs, MI). Next up Team Rev-Riders consisting of Scott Weider (Vancouver, WA), Paul LaMasters (Germantown, MD), James Fletcher (Baltimore, MD) and Drayton Callison (Treasure Island, FL) as well as Team End of the Line from Austin. Completing the performance roster will be Spence ‘Watty’ Watson (Bellevue, WA), Paul de Bakker (Oak Harbor, WA), Mario DiLucca (Victoria, BC) as well as several ‘Winter Texans’ who have found they not only have a passion for kite flying but a talent for performing as well. Admission for the outdoor event is free.


So . . . bring a cooler, bring a lawn chair, come for the day or stay
for the weekend. Just make South Padre Island your destination the
first weekend in February. You’ll be delighted you did. You’ll get
amazing photos to share with your friends and may even start a
new tradition. For more information contact B&S Kites at
(956) 761-1248, by email at bskites@hotmail.com , our website
www.spikitefest.com, or visit SPI Kite Fest 2019 event page on
We’ll see you there !

Tour Rancho Lomitas with Edinburg Scenic Wetlands

Edinburg, Texas – Take a tour of the beautiful Rancho Lomitas and learn about the historical uses and interesting properties of native plants. This winter, the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center (EWBC) will escort a field trip to this native oasis north of Rio Grande City on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Ranch owner and ethnobotanist, Benito Treviño, will lead participants on a tour of the ranch and discuss how knowledge of local plants and their practical uses have helped people survive in the Rio Grande Valley for hundreds of years.


The cost for each Rancho Lomitas tour is $20.00 for EWBC members and $25.00 for non-members. Seating is limited, so please call ahead at least two days before the trip to reserve your space. Deadline to register is Monday. Jan. 14. Participants will depart from the EWBC at 7:30 a.m. and arrive back at 3:00 p.m. Participants can bring a sack lunch to eat while out at the ranch.


The Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center is located at 714 South Raul Longoria Road (in the Edinburg Municipal Park) in Edinburg, Texas. For more information on this and other programs, call (956) 381-9922 or visit www.edinburgwbc.org.

Bentsen Palm Village shares the Christmas spirit with a Mission family

Written by Rocio Villalobos 

Photo by Rick Harrington

For Christmas this year, residents at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort combined their resources to create an unforgettable day for a family of six.


Resort manager Keith Willquette, along with other personnel, decided that nothing could bring more holiday cheer to the park than the gift of giving.


After finding a family in need through a Mission church, the park publicized the need for donations in early December. Residents did not disappoint.


The exclusively winter Texan park currently has about 200 of its sites full. And according to resident Anne Scott, just about everyone chose to give.


“They were exceedingly generous,” she said.


Dozens of toys, gadgets and clothing articles were collected for the children — two boys ages 15, 10, and two girls ages 7 and 4. Crafters put their skills to use by making quilts and knitting hats.


Al Peterson, a first year resident at the resort, served as the translator for the Spanish-speaking family. He helped set up the time and date for the gifts to be delivered and found out the sizes and gift requests for the children.


“They were just really modest people,” he said. “I think actually they were a little overwhelmed by all the stuff.”


The park staff was also able to purchase grocery gift cards and bikes and helmets for each child with more than $500 donated in addition to the toys.


“We’re all grandparents and we don’t have little kids to buy presents for… because we’re not with our families,” said Scott. “So we decided to do something to provide a special Christmas for another family.”


A few days before Christmas, volunteers loaded up a truck and SUV with the items purchased and donated to deliver it to the family.


“They seemed very appreciative,” said Scott. “The kids were bouncing up and down like little kids do at Christmas.”


Given the response from the Bentsen community, said Scott and Peterson, they believe they can make their giving a tradition to share with families in need around the Rio Grande Valley.


“We’re all so blessed to have this lifestyle and to have enough money to reach out and try to help these people,” said Scott. “On the way back (from dropping off the items) we all said, ‘well, that made our Christmas.’”


KAI brings a bit of Hawaii to Winter Texan Expo

Kainoa Kamaka will be entertaining at 11:00 at Winter Texan Expo on Wednesday Jan. 16th


Kainoa Kamaka (aka KAI) is a professional sponsored KoAloha Ukulele Artist, born and raised from the Big Island of Hawaii and now resides in San Antonio, Texas.  Recognized as an “Ambassador of Aloha” by the Lt. Governor of Hawaii and the L&L Hawaiian Grill franchise, Kainoa’s wide repretoire of music from Hawaii to the mainland, combined with his energy and ability to entertain every audience, makes him a well-sought after entertainer for all events!


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit www.wintertexanexpo.com.