GATESVILLE — That jingle-jangling you hear next weekend will be the sound of heels being kicked up at Spurfest 2012.
This year’s three-day festival — Sept. 14-16 — will include food, fun and music, greased pigs, classic cars, running, disc golf and golf. Activities are planned for both city parks — Raby and Faunt Le Roy — as well as downtown and the Country Club golf course.
This year’s Spurfest has been merged with the traditional Gatesville Shivaree, the summer festival named for an old folk custom in which friends and neighbors would raise a loud ruckus outside the home of newlyweds to disrupt their wedding night.
In recent years, the oppressive heat discouraged participation in the Shivaree, so organizers merged the festival with the fall Spurfest, which celebrates Gatesville’s designation as the Spur Capital of Texas.
Spurfest was set to kick off with a rodeo on Sept. 14, but that event was cancelled due to a conflict with a Gatesville High School home football game.
Even without a rodeo, there will be lots of spurs at the Coryell County Museum, home to the Lloyd Mitchell spur collection, considered the world’s largest.
Lloyd Mitchell got his first spurs at the age of 7.
As a cowboy and rodeo bronc rider, as a high school coach and history teacher, Mitchell found, gathered, swapped, bought and was given spurs of all shapes and sizes for more than 70 years.
When he died in 1991, Mitchell had collected 10,000 spurs. In 1995, Lloyd’s widow, Madge, and their five children decided to donate the collection to the Coryell County Museum.
There are currently 6,000 of the spurs on display; the rest are with family members or in storage.
“Daddy loved to share his spurs,” said daughter Mary Catherine Mitchell. “Daddy had a story about every one of them.”
Mitchell took history students to visit the collection in a barn on his ranch. He would be pleased to have the spurs on display for all to see, Mary Catherine Mitchell said.
Museum visitors can see spurs worn by Jackie Kennedy, spurs that belonged to Pancho Villa, spurs from the Confederate cavalry, spurs with straps made from a leather Model T fan belt, spurs with rowels cut from a windmill blade, spurs for bull riders and spurs with petticoat protectors for dancing ladies.
The collection includes several examples of the “gal-leg” spur design, popular with lonesome buckaroos in the 1890s, with a shank resembling a shapely female leg.
“Please Touch!” says the sign on one museum display where kids of all ages can give the rowels a whirl and hear the jingle.