I was excited to see the roadside attraction story [“Pull Over!,” October 2022], and it did not disappoint. I loved the article, except that the artist responsible for Barbadilla is not an “unknown” Texas artist, but in fact a known, loved, and funny sculptor named Joe Barrington, from Throckmorton. Making giant armadillos is no small feat. Transporting them leads to some hilarious stories. At the very least, I hope you will credit him for his creation. You would not be disappointed if you looked him up and found out what is involved in making and transporting giant armadillos, catfish mounted on old pickup trucks, and other Texas animals.
Marie Park, Dallas
Editors’ note: Describing the creator of Barbadilla as “unknown” was, in fact, a mistake. Kudos to the artist, Mr. Barrington.
I’m sure the Tex Randall statue that graced your cover warmed the hearts of your readers. My aunt, Rhonda Timmons, is the artist that spent dozens of hours—62 to be precise—hand-painting him back to life after years of neglect. Rhonda has been an artist all her life, and her work has graced canvases all across this great state, though Tex is undoubtedly the largest. Her art is part of my earliest memories: a border for my bedroom walls, a mural in my Sunday school classroom, Christmas cards, and the welcome sign at my wedding. It’s a joy to see her talent reach your readers, and I thought they might like to know her name.
Ashley Gill, New Home
I enjoyed the impressive writing in your October 2022 issue, except for Andrew Graybill’s book review [“Who Belongs Here?”]. It was hard to get much of a feeling for the books considering the evaluations were embedded in grim opinions of Texas society.
Lloyd Lavender, San Angelo
Thanks for your remembrance of Paul Burka [“The Great Paul Burka,” October 2022], whom I met during my first job, back in the seventies, working for Texas state senator Tom Creighton. I had just sent an impassioned letter to [founding editor] Bill Broyles seeking a job with the freshly minted Texas Monthly and had gotten an assignment from him, which (thankfully) he did not publish. Burka subsequently stopped by the senator’s office to meet this brash guy whose article was turned down. I remember Burka as a disheveled, affable fellow, and I instantly liked him. We saw each other often at the Capitol thereafter. The article captured his spirit and his contribution to both Texas citizenry and politics.
Spider Johnson, Mason
Editors’ note: An article in our November 2022 issue, “Sold Out!,” included an imprecise description of a proposed whiskey collaboration between Stewart Skloss, the CEO of Frontier Spirits, and Luckenbach Texas Inc. The arrangement would not necessarily have been illegal, and no business arrangement was ever formalized.
This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Roar of the Crowd.” Subscribe today.