June 2 , 2006
According to cowboy singing star Michael Martin Murphey, the Texas Panhandle is "burned, but not burned out." That, in fact, is the title he's given to the benefit concert he'll perform with other artists in Pampa, Texas on June 14.
The "Burned But Not Burned Out" concert will headline Murphey along with the Heartland Cowboys. Also appearing will be the popular group Palo Duro and Fred Hargrove. Cowboy performer and volunteer firefighter R.J. Vandygriff will emcee the event and also perform.
Murphey will debut a new song at the concert, one that bears the same name, "Burned, But Not Burned Out." The song is inspired by the heroism of the volunteer firefighters who battled the blazes that consumed about a million acres of the eastern Texas Panhandle this spring.
"I want everyone to know that our effort here will benefit the courageous firefighters who put everything on the line to fight those fires," Murphey said. "They expended a lot of resources protecting life and property. Hopefully, we'll help them stay one step ahead of the situation."
Murphey described the Pampa concert as a community effort. Billy Bob Brown, state director of the Texas Farm Bureau, agreed.
"Some of those volunteer firefighters were on the line for up to 38 straight hours," Brown said. "They kept a bad situation from getting much worse. I know Murph and the other performers join all of us in saying how much we appreciate these firefighters."
The Texas Farm Bureau is one of the sponsors of the event. Others are: The Pampa News; Happy State Bank; Gray County Sheriff Don Copeland; Craig Jones of Best Western Northgate; Celanese; and the volunteer fire departments coordinated by Joe Milligan of Pampa.
Gary Willoughby, a commissioner in Gray County, says that any funds generated by the concert will be welcome.
"Any amount will help expand the badly taxed resources of Gray County with respect to fighting fires," Willoughby said. "Some of the volunteer fire departments have had to ask for additional support. More funding means better equipment and better maintained equipment the next time we have to call on them."
Willoughby and others said the eastern Panhandle learned this spring just how much they need the volunteer fire departments.
Murphey and the other featured artists will perform at the bull barn at the Top of Texas Fairgrounds located at Highway 60 and Highway 152.
Tickets for the benefit concert are on sale as of May 24 at a cost of $25 or $35 each with a VIP package that includes a chuck wagon dinner, gift package and preferred seating for $100. They can be purchased from all Panhandle Tickets outlets and United Supermarkets.
Persons or organizations interested in corporate sponsorships may contact Kathy McCarty at (806) 353-7922 or email@example.com.