Photo contributed — Paul and Christie Newberry will provide special music at the 38th annual Cowboy Camp Meeting held in Santa Anna beginning Friday and running for 10 days. The Newberry’s will be just one of many special guests and entertainers for the more than one week-long event.
Old-time cowboy camp fellowship returns
By Misty Bowers — Brownwood Bulletin | Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2004 12:00 am
If you’ve ever wondered what an old-time cowboy camp meeting was like, you’ll have a chance to find out Friday through June 27 at Rolling H Acres, off of Highway 84 between Coleman and Santa Anna.
That’s the site for the 38th annual Little George Havens’ Cowboy Camp Meeting.
The old-fashioned camp meetings are reminiscent of the original meetings when cowboys from all over would ride in to enjoy one another’s fellowship.
“We wanted it to be like camp meetings of bygone days when this country was sparsely settled and the faithful circuit-riding preacher gathered the ranchers and cowboys with their families to a scenic location for a time of worship,” said Lucy Havens.
“Miss Lucy,” to those who know her best, and her husband, the late “Little” George Havens, began the camp almost four decades ago. “Little” George was a Hollywood stunt double for child actors in the 1940s and 1950s until he converted to Christianity in the ’50s and left Hollywood to become an evangelist.
In the beginning, Havens said, it was nothing to have 1,000 people attend every night, many riding to the meetings on horseback and bringing only their bedroll.
Amenities have been added since then for those who prefer not to “rough it.” Havens said there are a few cabins and tent dormitories for both men and women.
Visitors are also welcome to bring their campers, RVs or tents. The campsite is complete with electricity, water and bath houses. Havens said there are also motels nearby.
“Things have not changed much as far as our camp is concerned,” Havens said. “George never wanted to build much. He wanted people to come and take care of themselves, putting emphasis on being together and hearing the Word of God.”
Chuck wagon suppers are served each evening at 6, and, new this year to the camp, chuck wagon breakfasts will be served each morning. The camp furnishes the meat, tea and “creek-bank coffee,” but visitors are invited to provide vegetable, salad or dessert. O.D. Warnock is the chuck wagon cook.
Arena events will be held in the afternoon, so Havens suggests visitors bring their horses. Special guest Del Bowman will be at the event with a trick rope Gospel presentation as a treat to the children. Havens said Bowman will be there on June 21 through 23.
The children will be under the direction of Betty and James Murray of Mabank, assisted by Jeff and Pansy Waller and their children’s ministry of San Angelo.
Services will be held daily under the big tent at 10 a.m., except on Saturday, and at 8 p.m. in the evenings. Havens said this year, she is receiving quite a bit of help from Cowboy Churches throughout Texas. In fact, many of the services from Monday through Thursday will be led by preachers and founders of Cowboy Churches.
Havens said the primary evangelist on Friday through Sunday will be Rick Ingle of Denton. Ingle, a pastor for 10 years in Texas and Arkansas, has conducted more than 1,300 revival campaigns and is the author of seven books including, “If I Had My Ministry to Live Over I Would…”
Paul and Christie Newberry of Dallas will provide special music Friday through Sunday. Another special guest who will minister Saturday, June 26, will be Clifton Jansky, the 2002 Christian Country Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year.
Havens said she is excited about working with all of the special guests, especially the Cowboy Churches. Havens said she’s been receiving calls from across the state of Texas from members of Cowboy Churches who have said they were coming to the camp meeting this weekend.
Havens said they will hold a Hispanic Camp Meeting from June 30 through July 4, with Evangelist Sammy Fuentes bringing the message.