Flying J Wranglers to perform in Portales

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Portales is in for a little Christmas spirit this Friday — the cowboy way.

The Roosevelt County Farm and Livestock Bureau is sponsoring the Flying J Wranglers Christmas Show for the second year, according to RCFLB President Matt Rush. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Memorial Building in Portales. Tickets are $10.

“It went so well (last year), and people in the community have been asking if we were bringing them back,” Rush said of the show. “It’s a great way for the Farm and Livestock Bureau to give back to the community.”

The show follows the bureau’s annual meeting, which starts at 6 p.m., but Rush said membership isn’t necessary to attend the show.

The Flying J Wranglers were started 24 years ago by rhythm guitarist James Hobbs. The players have changed some over the years and now consist of five members. Though they do two tours a year, their main gig is a chuckwagon barbecue and show in Ruidoso each summer.

“We’ve got some new songs this year,” said Cindy Hobbs, lead vocalist and wife of the founder. “I think it’s the best show we’ve ever done.”

Hobbs says the group has added traditional gospel favorites like “Oh What a Beautiful City,” “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “And the Angels Cried” to their Christmas repertoire. She says she’s pleased with the tunes and thinks the audience will like them as well.

Also new this year is a young fiddle player named Corinna Ripple, who grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif., and is attending South Plains Junior College in Levelland, Texas. Rounding out the bunch on-stage is Roy Black, acoustic bass player and master of ceremonies, and Randy Jones, who plays a variety of instruments, including the mandolin, banjo and dobro.

Together the group blends Western style harmony in their performances along with a good dose of cowboy humor.
Hobbs confirmed that a bit of slapstick comedy also will be in the Christmas show this year, with her special version of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” back in the mix.

“We haven’t done ‘Grandma’ in about three years, but it’s back by popular demand whether I like it or not,” Hobbs said.

The Portales stop will be the fourth of 15 shows on the Christmas tour in New Mexico and Texas for the group. Hobbs says they also do what they call a “Snowbird Tour” with shows in Arizona and Palm Springs, Calif., in January and February without their fiddle player, who’s in school.

Rush says the venue will seat between 250 and 300 people, and last year’s performance was close to a sell-out. He urges people to get tickets ahead of time by calling 356-6621.

“We’ll guarantee they’ll have a good time,” Hobbs said. “Because we’re going to anyway.”

At a glance:

What: Flying J Wranglers Christmas Show

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Memorial Building, 200 E. Seventh, Portales

Tickets: $10, by calling 356-6621 or at door