by Victor Lopez
ODESSA-- If you've never seen The Wild West Show at the Permian Basin Fair and Expo, you better do it this year. After 25 years, The West Texas Roughriders are hanging up their spurs.
Twenty-eight performances in nine days. It's been a long road for The West Texas Roughriders. Their silver anniversary will be their last showdown at The Permian Basin Fair and Expo.
"We just all decided, we're getting a little older. It's been 25 years for four of us. It's just a little tougher on us and we decided we wanted something else to do in September," Sheriff Mark Donaldson, one of the original players of the show, said.
Once word got out the show was closing, rumors started flying. Sheriff Donaldson wants to put them to rest, "It's not because I'm not running for Sheriff and that I'm running off somewhere to do something else."
What started out as an eight man show, now boasts a cast of 20 men and women. A lot goes into putting together this 30 minute spectacular, building sets, writing a script, pre-recording the sound and rehearsals.
"You're looking at, basically, 3 weeks worth of work until the show's over," Donaldson said.
On Thursday, the set was empty, as they get ready for their first performance. Donaldson hopes it won't stay this way, after they close their last show, a week from Saturday, "Hopefully there is a future. I'm trying to find some younger people that maybe want to take it over and continue on doing the Wild West Show at the Fair."
Rain or shine, The West Texas Roughriders proved, the show must go on.
"Doing shows just after it's poured down rain and being soaking wet, getting mud all over you," Donaldson explained.
He's says, they do it all for their fans, "That's what it's all about, doing a show for the people and that part of it is going to hurt a little bit."
As the West Texas sun, sets on a quarter century of entertainment, Donaldson and his crew have fond memories to take with them, "When somebody comes up, they're grown up and they've got a kid in their arms and they say, 'I want my kid to see this because I saw this when I was a kid and I still have the little bullet you gave us at the end of the show, years ago.' That's pretty special."