Texas Drug Store Cowboys Celebrating 50 Years as Dancehall & Venue Legends

50th Anniversary will be on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 at John T. Floores Country Store & Dance Hall in Helotes, Texas. 3-7 p.m.

Admired by fiercely loyal fans, The Drugstore Cowboys have brought their electric energy to venues throughout the US and Europe.

The south side of San Antonio, in the neighborhoods surrounding McCollum and Harlandale high schools, are the childhood homes of many notable people in Country, Funk, Soul and Tejano Music.

Legendary Country Music DJ Hall of Famer and everybody’s “Cousin” Jerry King went to Harlandale in the 1960s. I can remember when King, along with other DJs and musicians, played with the likes of Willie Nelson and George Jones at a charity basketball matchup at the McCollum gym in the late 1960s.

During the 1972-73 school year Nashville recording artist Johnny Bush played on stage at the McCollum Auditorium. Country.

Down on Harding Blvd., a talented local newspaper country music and entertainment writer, John Goodspeed, served as an early inspiration for me.

The late Emilio Navaira, from the McCollum Class of 1980, was a Mexican-American musician who performed country and Tejano music nationally. His classmate from the year ahead of him, Yolanda Saldívar, is the convicted murderer of Latin music superstar Selena, and is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison.

Especially in the late 70s and early 80s many of us would go watch Horizon perform. Southsiders Charlie, John, and Geoff Boggess joined classmate Freddy Carrillo and others (T-Bo Gonzalez, Bill Dudley, Larry Scott and Sahara Greer come to mind) and actually opened for the Commodores. The story goes they were offered to go on the road with Cool and the Gang but turned them down.

Through the years, southsider singers and musicians continued to play venues and dances as far away as Europe, on television and especially throughout the Lone Star State.

Some of the more enduring included Rex Allen McNeil, Walter “Tooter” Ripps, Ray Morris, Randy Potts, Lonnie Castleman, John Marsh, Leonard Wong, and the rockers, The Toman Brothers, Randy and Russell—and who could forget R

1972

In the fall of 1972, 17-year-old McCollum senior Dub Robinson had organized a country trio and began playing around a little bit. He went to go see Willie Nelson at the John T. Floore Country Store northwest of San Antonio in the foothills of the Hill Country town of Helotes.

Johnny Bush, Paul English, Willie Nelson

Nelson was to perform as a trio with drummer Paul English and Bee Spears on bass. The steel player didn’t show.

“I watched Willie play that gut string guitar and it didn’t lose anything,” Robinson remembers. Since age 12, Robinson had played professionally across South Texas, but on this night he was particularly inspired.

He called his drummer, Robert “Cotton” Payne, and his bassist, Tommy McKay the next day and proclaimed that if they could be a hundredth as good as Nelson was, they might have a chance.

They knew their taste in music was a blend of country, rock, and blues. McKay suggested the perfect name for their new band. It described the kind of “cowboy” who didn’t want to get his boots dirty.

I’ve followed Dub and other fellow McCollum Cowboys classmates over the years. He continues to be a favorite.

At a ten year class reunion in 1983 at the downtown El Tropicano Hotel Ballroom, Dub and his band honored his classmates as we danced in memories of “old times.” I was particularly honored. I knew the band was good, but when I was called over during a break, he asked me what Elvis song I was going to sing later that evening.

I suggested “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hearbreak Hotel,” and “Hound Dog.”

He grinned, and with guitar in hand, said, “Okay. Let me hear you sing them.”

1983 McCollum 10 Yr Reunion. Dub (guitar) was the ultra-professional. What an honor for me.

I only had to belt out a sentence or a few words of each. He immediately knew what key and chords to play.

Later, when some of our classmates were literally pulling my pants off while singing, I looked back at Dub. He was grinning big time. He and his band never missed a lick. I tried my best not to also. It remains a fun and wonderful memory in my heart.

In 2011, while interviewing George Strait and Ray Benson at a fundraiser for wounded veterans at Tapatio Springs outside of Boerne, Texas, Strait said something that reminded me of Dub.

“When everyone thinks of Asleep at the Wheel, they think of Ray.”

That’s exactly how I feel about the Drug Store Cowboys. When I think of them, I think of Dub Robinson.

The Drugstore Cowboys with Gary Stewart: Dub Robinson (left), Stewart, Randy Toman and Robert "Cotton" Payne.
Dub Robinson on the left.

Dub just announced the band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new CD. What are his thoughts?

In his own creative words, the songwriter, musician and singer posted:

Originally, McKay lasted about a year and a half and Randy Toman, (who now performs with his brother Russell), became the bassist for 13 years.

They became the touring band for country stars Gary Stewart and Stoney Edwards. The Drugstore Cowboys also backed Johnny Rodriguez, Freddy Fender, Johnny Bush and Gene Watson.

Other artists they shared the stage with or even backed up include Nelson, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Frenchy Burke, Greg Allman, David Allen Cole, Charlie Daniels, the Mavericks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even Asleep At The Wheel.

“They joined Stewart, who was known for such hits as “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles),” when his backing band could not make a gig at the old Kicker’s Palace,” Goodspeed once reported. “The owner told Stewart they knew all his songs and he gave them a try. Stewart hired them and they toured coast to coast. Robinson quit after four years.”

“I didn’t want to be somebody’s backup band the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m a songwriter first and wanted to do my own thing.”

In 50 years, at least that many musicians have played in The Drugstore Cowboys.

Some of the members went on to play for the Bellamy Brothers, Janie Fricke, Bill Anderson, and Judas Priest.

“I believe it’s all about the song. It’s a lot of work running a band, but I do it just to play my music the way I want to hear it,” Dub said.

In God We Trust

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Austin City Slicker Goes Into a Bandera Bar


A city slicker from Austin rode his horse into Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World, and stopped at a saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the local wranglers always had a habit of picking on strangers, especially from Austin. When he finished his drink, he found his horse had been stolen.

He goes back into the bar, handily flips his gun into the air, catches it above his head without even looking and fires a shot into the ceiling.

“WHICH ONE OF YOU SIDEWINDERS STOLE MY HORSE?” he yelled with surprising forcefulness. No one answered.

“ALL RIGHT, I’M GONNA HAVE ANOTHER BEER, AND IF MY HOSS AIN’T BACK OUTSIDE BY THE TIME I FINNISH, I’M GONNA DO WHAT I DUN IN SAN MARCOS! AND I DON’T LIKE TO HAVE TO DO WHAT I DUN IN SAN MARCOS!”

Some of the locals shifted restlessly. He had another beer, walked outside, and his horse is back! He saddles-up and starts to ride out of town. The bartender wanders out of the bar and asks, “Say partner, before you go…what happened in San Marcos?”

The cowboy turned back and said, “I had to walk home.”

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Texas Rancher Sells to ‘Build Back Better’ Truck Salesman

While President Donald J. Trump was in office and things were going well for farmers and ranchers, legendary calf roper Tex Kent decided it was finally time for a new truck.

The 20-year-old truck he had patched and repaired for the past 10 years was so well used that his sweet wife finally refused to ride in it with him to town.  Since it had been some time since he had bought a truck, the rancher contacted a friend, of a friend, of a friend that worked at a big city dealership.

Kent called the truck dealer to find out he could get a basic new truck for around $30,000.  He deciphered his return on investment and payment amounts with his banker and decided he would drive in to the city the next week to select a new pickup that his sweet wife would be proud to ride in.

Kent arrived at the dealership to meet the salesman that was refered to him by his friends’, friend’s, friend. 

So what type of truck do you need?” the dealer asked as he shook his hand.

Kent replied, “Just a basic ranch truck, nothing too fancy.” 

The salesman then started asking some questions, “Do you need four-wheel-drive?  Do you need a 3/4 ton truck to pull your trailer?  Do you want an automatic transmission?  Do you want air-conditioning?  Do you need a towing package and a grill guard?  Do you want oversized trailer mirrors?  Do you need a tool-box for your tools?  Do you need floor mats for your muddy feet?  Do you want a king-cab so you can keep your records, receipts, and coat clean and dry? 

Kent pulled out his red bandana, wiped his brow, then blowed his nose and interrupted, “Sir these are all things a rancher needs on a basic ranch work truck!

The salesman replied, “Well they may be standard to you, but they aren’t to Ford Motor Company.”

Their discussion about what was needed on a basic ranch truck went on for several more minutes and finally the salesman said, “I have three trucks on the lot that are just what you need.  Do you want a white one, a blue one, or a brown one?” 

Cowboy Kent replied, “I don’t really care that much, but I don’t think I want brown, and the white one will show all of the mud and dirt, so I will go with the red one.” 

The salesman said,  “Ok Let’s take it for a test drive.”

While out on the test drive the salesman said, “You know I would really like to have 10 or 12 cows myself.  What does a basic cow sell for these days?’ 

Kent scratched his head and replied well cows are sort of like trucks, an average cow, or the basic model as you might call them, sells for around $1,000.”

Kent really enjoyed the test drive and the visit with his new acquaintance.  Everything was fine until they got back to the dealership to fill out the paperwork.  He started signing sheet after sheet and finally asked, “So what is the total cost of this truck? 

The sales man replied, “$44,860

What?” Kent pulled out his bandana again, wiped his brow but didn’t bother with his nose, “I thought the basic truck sold for around $30,000?” 

The salesman replied, “Well we added considerable extras to the basic model, 4×4, automatic transmission, air-conditioning, 3/4 ton suspension, heavy-duty breaks and cooling, extra-large mirrors, toolbox, heavy duty towing package, and floor mats.” 

Well, Kent was not at all happy.  He felt that he had been mislead, but he had already invested a day, really liked the truck, and wanted to please his wife, so he bought it.

About a year later, after Biden had swindled his way into office and the price of gas, ranching, and food had skyrocketed, the salesman called Kent up to see how he liked his truck, and then asked if he had any cows for sale? 

Kent pulled his MAGA cap off, wiped his brow and got a twinkle in his eye.  It was payback time.  He replied, “Sure I have some cows for sale.  Come take a look at them later this week.

The salesman really enjoyed riding through the pasture with Kent in his nice truck looking at various cows.  He was as tickled as he had finally saved up enough to live out his childhood dream of being a real cowboy.  He told Kent, “I’ll take 10 of them!” 

Kent, had noticed the car dealer was wearing a blue “Build Back Better” cap and figured this city slicker was a Democrat. He looked the liberal in the eye and said,”Ok that will be $44,860!” 

The salesman said, “What?  I thought that cows sold for $1,000?” 

Kent replied, “That was for the basic model, these cows come with considerable extras!”  And he handed the salesman the following sheet that he had his sweet wife make up the night before on their home computer:

Basic Cow with Options

🔹Basic cow    $999

🔹Shipping and handling    $85

🔹Self-propelled, auto-steer forage finder   $969

🔹Extra-large capacity stomach  $379

🔹Genuine cowhide upholstery   $179

🔹Two tone exterior  $142

🔹Heavy duty forage choppers   $189

🔹Four spigot/high-output milk system $159

🔹Automatic fly-swatter  $88

🔹Automatic fertilizer attachment $139

🔹4 x 4 traction drive assembly $884

🔹Ranch brand leather-work  $69

🔹Rancher’s Suggested List Price   $4,286

🔹Ownership Transfer fee:   $200

Total Price: (Including options)$4,486

Legendary calf roper Texas Kent

.

“For ten basic cows,” Kent smiles. “That adds up to $44,860.”

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Wisdom of the Real American Cowgirl

Being a cowgirl goes beyond riding a horse and working with cattle.

Growing up in Texas, we know that a cowgirl is a woman who is strong, confident, and not afraid of a hard day’s work. She is polite, sharing kindness with all the folks around her, and she doesn’t shy away from getting dirt under her fingernails. Each cowgirl is an inspiration to us all.

Over the years, many cowgirls and cowboys have passed down their wisdom and have provided encouragement to others. Dodie and I graduated from McCollum High School where the mascot is the Cowboys.

Today, we live near Bandera, the Cowboy Capitol of the World, and see the true Texas Hill Country spirit of the hearts and souls here. These photos and quotes are here to support and empower all of us and help build confidence and strength in these times of reassurance.

Sometimes we just need to think about our attitude and try approaching a situation differently rather than let something or someone ruin a whole day.

A gentle reminder that though it may be really hard, being kind to everyone is the right thing to do, even if they are not kind to you.

There are always going to be difficult times and being able to weather the storms are only going to make you a stronger person.

Sometimes you must take life by the reins if you want to chase your dreams and ambitions. A reminder: we have to get outside of our comfort zone to get what we truly want.

The values associated with cowgirls are ones of kindness, respect, and love. People can often lose sight of those values when it comes to personal gain and it is important to never lose sight of those beliefs.

Take each day with a good attitude and appreciate what you have, but don’t let that stop you from working towards your goals.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.