I’m often asked what inspired the name “Stampede 66”. It’s a great question with a simple answer. “The Stampede” is an iconic dance hall that was opened in 1954 in Big Spring, my home-town, by the legendary country-western musician and song-writer, Hoyle Nix. He wrote the famous song “Big Ball’s in Cowtown” which has been recorded by Bob Wills, George Strait and Asleep at the Wheel. “The Stampede” is still going strong today and is currently run by Jody Nix, Hoyle’s son, who is a country-western star in his own right.
The second half of the name, “66”, comes from my family’s restaurant that I practically grew up in, The Big Spring Phillips 66 Truck Stop Café. It was on the old Highway 80 that ran through every little town in West Texas before Interstate 20 bypassed them all, drying up much of the local economies. I can still hear Tammy Wynette and Faron Young wailing from the jukebox, and envision the sweet, southern-accented waitresses with beehive hair-dos who called me “Mr. Stevie”. I often joke that Stampede 66 is what my truck stop café would have looked like had I had taste, control and money at the age of 10!
Much of Stampede 66’s décor was inspired by my childhood in Big Spring as well. The shed or pavilion as you walk in represents my wonderful summers at Moss Creek Lake. We would always get to the lake early to secure a pavilion for the day for my extended family.
The big screen with witty Texas quotes, Texas landscape photography and western videos is representative of the drive-in theaters we happily frequented with a carload of friends on the weekend.
I’ve always been entertained by the odd-sounding but creative names of many of Texas’s towns so I decided to decorate an entire wall with and pair some together for even more comic relief. Needmore is of course next to Cash, Gasoline is adjacent to Burning Bush and five of them together could be any day of the week at Stampede: Stampede Paradise Babylon Ditto Looneyville. The most complete thought, however, is the top line from one side to the other which reads: Lotta Happy Loving Lovelady Joy Climax Jollyville Content Wink Goodnight and Concepcion.
No Texas-themed décor would be complete with cows, horses, rattlesnakes, horny toads and tumbleweeds so of course we have them all. Some of the icons are in “stampede mode” – the cattle, horses and horny toads – while others, like the glowing rattlesnake, are bigger than life.