Bill’s Best Bets: Tickets gone for two of our five varied picks … but you can watch Tech baseball on TV

Even while seeking variety within each weekend’s Best Bets, boundaries are stretched this weekend. When it comes to entertainment, it is difficult to argue with the national attention paid to the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament in Lubbock; the tourney will be hosted for at least three days at the Texas Tech Red Raiders’ Dan Law Field. More traditional artistic Best Bets include a non-profit concert Saturday by gifted West Texas musicians, intended to help West Texas veterans feel honored as they are escorted to monuments in Washington, D.C.  Also, a rare art show focusing on Western art and gear. A Christian variety show is on tap at LCU and the person responsible for many iconic photographs of rock ’n’ roll performers will make an appearance at the Buddy Holly Center. Something for everyone.

Texas Tech Red Raider Baseball, hosting NCAA Regional Tournament

Texas Tech – ranked eighth nationally – is one of 16 regional hosts for the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

Games take place Friday through Sunday. If necessary, the tournament can be extended through Monday.

Which is not to intimate fans can rise and rush to purchase tickets the traditional way.  Baseball, in what was once considered strictly football country, again has taken Lubbock by storm and tickets for this weekend’s regional tourney have been sold out for days.

The tournament opens with Texas Tech hosting the Army West Point Black Knights at 3 p.m. Friday on the Tech campus. The two other participants, the Florida Gators and Dallas Baptist University Patriots, will play in Friday’s second game at 7 p.m.

Game One Loser vs. Game Two Loser takes place at noon Saturday  with first pitch for Game One Winner vs. Game Two winner at 6 p.m. Saturday. The tournament continues Sunday but, if necessary, a final game can be played Monday.

Friday marks only Tech’s second game in its history vs. Patriot League champion Army, having beaten the Black Knights 16-2 in 2008.

The Red Raiders are 2-1 vs. Florida in College World Series play, with the Gators having won an elimination game against Tech last season. Florida is one of 10 Southeast Conference foes participating in the NCAA Tournament this year.

Meanwhile, Tech leads its overall series 16-11 against Dallas Baptist, which this year has a 41-18 overall season record. but lost the Missouri Valley League championship game.

Tech’s Red Raiders have played in NCAA tournament games 15 years since 1995.

Under Coach Tim Tadlock, Tech is the country’s only team to host an NCAA Regional Tournament four consecutive years and seven overall: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Tech joins the University of Florida and University of Louisville as the only three programs to earn a national seed three times in the last four years.

Under Tadlock, the Red Raiders have progressed to play in the College World Series in 2014, 2016 and 2018, departing with CWS records of 0-2, 1-2 and 1-2 respectively.

The 2019 NCAA Regional Tournament in Lubbock will be nationally televised all weekend on ESPN 3.  It also will air on the Texas Tech Sports Network at radio station 97.3 FM, on the Double T 97.3 app, and online at TexasTech.com.

As a near-lifelong baseball fan, I have followed Texas Tech baseball rather religiously since my inauspicious introduction to Lubbock and Tech in the fall of 1970.  Kal Segrist had been head coach at Tech since 1968. Coaches who followed were: 1984, Gary Ashby; 1987, Larry Hays, 2009, Dan Spencer and Tadlock in 2013.

Red Raider baseball is on the rise – a far cry from the inaugural year when Texas Tech’s first baseball team was founded as the Matadors during the university’s first academic year in 1925-26.

E.Y. Freeland was Tech’s very first baseball coach. He coached for three seasons, followed by T. Grady Higginbothom for another two.

But from 1930 through 1953, Texas Tech did not field an intercollegiate baseball team.

Texas Tech coaches, during what has been termed the school’s Revival Era, include: 1954, Beattie Feathers; and 1961, Berl Huffman; followed by Segrist in 1968.

Tech joined the Southwest Conference in 1968, but only seven of its 26 SWC seasons concluded with winning overall records. There were only three winning records in conference competition.

The reserved parking held by 2019 season ticket holders and/or Red Raider Club members remains valid through post-season play. Tech also offers complimentary parking in commuter lots located near Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.

Those who still have ticket questions are urged to call 742-TECH (7324).

Sounds of West Texas, monthly concert at Cactus Theatre

Producer Betty Smith had been gathering gifted area performers for years, spotlighting them under the moniker Sounds of West Texas, usually at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre.

Her decision to more recently partner with Cactus Theater owner Darryl Holland appears to have resulted in a more easily found, or at least more easily appreciated, central location.

This weekend’s Sounds of West Texas concert kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cactus Theater, 1812 Buddy Holly Ave.  Door prizes also are given away. Reserved seats on the floor, along with standard balcony seating is $20. Limited balcony box seating, including concessions, is $40.

Call 762-3233 for advance reservations. Plus, the box office is open from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and one hour in advance of show time Saturday.

Saturday’s concert is a fundraiser for South Plains Honor Flight.

“Last year was the first that Betty and I decided to donate ticket proceeds to the South Plains Honor Flight,” said Holland. “We felt really good about doing that because the June show traditionally had been Betty’s annual Salute to the Military. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to partner with such a worthy cause, and a way for Sounds of West Texas and the Cactus to give back to our community.”

Specifically, South Plains Honor Flight is a 501C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to taking surviving World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans on a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., to see monuments built in their honor.

Visit texassouthplainshonorflight.org for answers to other questions.

June’s concert is called “A Tribute to Our Military,” featuring a mixture of classic songs in all styles. The Sounds of West Texas Band includes Mike Carraway, Danny Dukatnik, Mike Huffman, Wally Moyers, Brent Smith, Mark Wallney and Steve Williams. Featured guest vocalists are Kaci Brice, Steve Burrus, Brenda Hopkins, Donnetta Lippe, Betty Smith, Keith Smith and Terry Westbrook.

Annual Western Art and Gear Show at National Ranching Heritage Center

This annual, popular event takes place from 6-11 p.m. Saturday at the National Ranching Heritage Center, 3121 Fourth St. Deadline to purchase tickets already has passed.

Consider this a reminder that, despite Lubbock’s growth, multiple events fare well in advance.

Twenty-eight artists and gear makers created 72 pieces of Western art (paintings, sculptures and jewelry) and traditional western gear (original spurs, stirrups, belt buckles and knives). Summer Stampede, sponsored by Capital Farm Credit, is a rare event where collectors not only purchase a posted price for new pieces (no bidding), but also meet artists and craftsmen whose work is on display.

Meanwhile, dinner is followed by dance music provided by Red Steagall & The Boys in the Bunkhouse.

A portion of proceeds benefits educational and restoration programs at the NHRC.

Participating artists and craftsmen include JaNeil Anderson, Brian Asher, Wayne Baize, Mary Baxter, Tanner Crowe, Gary Dunshee, Cotton Elliott, Baru Forell, Trent Greeley, Matt Humphries, Jayson Jones, T.D. Kelsey, Billy Klapper, Buddy Knight, Jerry Lindley, Emily McCartney, Jan Mapes, Bob Moline, Dustin Payne, Kim Robbins, Peter Robbins, Rosie Sandifer, Jason Scull, Edgar Sotelo, Michael Tittor, Herman Walker, Garland Weeks, Stewart Williamson and Russell Yates.

Western art is on exhibit in museum galleries throughout the year.

“Our galleries depict ranching life. You can view the art, and then walk through the historic park and see authentic ranch structures like those in the paintings,” said Scott White, Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed director of collections, exhibits and research,

‘Tokens’ variety show at Lubbock Christian University

Something new: A Christian variety show called “Tokens,” will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday at McDonald Moody Auditorium on the LCU campus. Seating is general admission (first come, first seated), with all tickets $20.

Open to the general public, Tokens includes performances by Grammy-nominated musicians and vocalists, plus comedy skits.

Tim Perrin, LCU president, has seen Tokens multiple times and promises a “memorable evening.” He said he always “leaves amazed by the quality of the music and inspired by content. This is the first time it has made its way to Lubbock.”

The performance is in connection with the annual Christian Scholars Conference, this year held June 5-7 on the LCU campus.

Watt Casey Jr. photo exhibit, gallery talk at Buddy Holly Center

It had been announced earlier the Fine Arts Center inside Buddy Holly Center, 1801 Crickets Ave., had been chosen as home to a one-of-a-kind collection of photographic images taken by Watt Casey Jr. of blues, country, folk, jazz and rock musicians. The exhibit – called “Showtime: Photographs of Music Legends by Watt Casey Jr. – will remain on view in Lubbock through July 21 and the opening alone is a Best Bet.

Casey will also have a gallery talk from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Buddy Holly Center. A reception will follow.

Casey reportedly will discuss his book featuring photographs of musicians, published by Texas A&M Press and available nationwide at the Grammy Museums in California and Mississippi. Focus is on Texas, but also has images of Watt’s work from Eric Clapton’s 1974 U.S. tour, Steve Miller at the Red Rocks Amphitheater south of Denver and Bruce Springsteen at both Red Rocks and Memphis.

Call 775-3560 or visit web site buddyhollycenter.org for more information about the Watt Casey Jr. exhibit.