The Commerce Journal

Opinion

April 28, 2014

Mapping Texas’ rocks

COMMERCE — Jim Runge of Eldorado is always doing unusual things.

He practically holds the world record for the number of characters he has portrayed. Among them are Elvis, Sam Houston, Batman, Cupid and the Grim Reaper. His costumes are in a special place on the T 9 C Ranch where he lives with his wife Claryce.

Jim has staged just about every type of event you can imagine, from goat races to llama kissing. A few years ago he got involved with senior athletic games and has won just about every event he enters. He has a room full of trophies, ribbons, medals, certificates and plaques.

What he is calling his signature project is a limestone rock outline of the state of Texas. It covers 30 acres. “I took a road map of Texas, measured it by inches, then stepped it off on the ranch,” he says. “One inch on the map equals 20 steps on the property. I’ve been working on it five years so far. It’s a very scientific project.”

 “That was the lucky part. When the farmers cleared their land, they took the rocks and piled them all around the perimeter of our land, so all I had to do was go out there with a five-gallon bucket, put rocks in it, then haul them to the outline and pour them out in the right places.”

The outline is one-third of a mile across and one-third of a mile from top to bottom.

“Now that I’ve got it complete, I’m going to start widening the rocks. Got plenty of rocks. It’s a foot wide now and I want to make it two or three feet wide, whatever it takes to make it visible from an airplane. Last week a plane flew over and took pictures of it. That made me realize what it needs, what you can or can’t see. The air traffic is picking up over the outline.”

He says you can see it on Google Earth, but the picture there was taken two-and-a-half years ago. Some of the rocks are baseball size; others weigh 200 pounds or more. They were all laid by hand. It is a lifetime project. “But it’s good exercise. You have to move around, you have to walk and move rocks and you have to pull down trees and burn them. It’s a multi-purpose project.”

Inside the outline he will show highways and landmarks. “Eventually I want to get rid of all the mesquite trees and all the prickly pear and clear it out. I’ve already got a big oil tank down where Texas City is to signify that area with all the refineries. I have some windmills around Lubbock and a teepee for the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. For Brady, I might cut a big heart for the center of Texas. I want to have something to denote every area of the state.”

Jim says the T 9 C is the only place you can come and travel the whole state of Texas in less than one hour. Two dogs, Donna Quixote and Sancha Panza, handle ranch security. “Be careful they don’t lick you to death.”

Contact Tumbleweed Smith at ts@crcom.net.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • This is ‘Our Commerce’

    Commerce, Texas is a unique community in north east Texas and yet in some ways very typical.

    June 26, 2014

  • IMG_2998.JPG Lions reveal true character

    Character is revealed during times of success and times of tragedy. Texas A&M University-Commerce, and specifically the Athletics Department, showed its character last week when two student-athletes were tragically killed in a car accident.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Father's_Day_1.jpg A short history of Father's Day

    There are more than 70 million fathers in the United States today. 

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judging pianists

    “The Van Cliburn Competition is the most important piano competition in the world,” says John Giordano of Fort Worth, who was chairman of the Van Cliburn jury for 40 years.

    June 10, 2014

  • Junk.jpg Enough with the junk

    Let’s play a game.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lessons learned from decades of making speeches

    I’ve been making speeches to various groups since 1973 when I made my first chamber of commerce speech in Dumas, Texas.

    May 27, 2014

  • Yard full of turtles

    Barbara Ellison of Cameron loves her backyard. It is full of flowers and birds. Occasionally a squirrel will drop in for a meal. “I could stay out here from morning ‘til night,” says Barbara. “It’s so pretty and we enjoy taking care of it.”

    May 13, 2014

  • Mapping Texas’ rocks

    Jim Runge of Eldorado is always doing unusual things.

    April 28, 2014

  • Motel a real winner

    I traveled to Kingsville to do some filming and interviewing on King Ranch.

    April 17, 2014

  • Fighting more than just fires

    For the past few weeks I’ve been attending a Citizen’s Fire Academy hosted by the Greenville Fire Department. 

    April 4, 2014

Featured Ads

Poll

How many games do you think the Lions will win in 2014?

7-9 wins
4-6 wins
1-3 wins
     View Results
Must Read
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide