Murphey, The Man Who Gave Us Wildfire, Continues Cowboy Christmas Ball Tradition

Christmas is a season of tradition, and no one knows that better than Michael Martin Murphey. The iconic, horse loving musician has worked diligently to keep alive the spirit of the first Cowboy Christmas Ball for more than two decades.

This year, he launches into the next 20 years with his popular Cowboy Christmas Tour. Sponsored by Spalding Fly Predators, the leading natural fly control company, Murphey and his acclaimed Rio Grande Band will spread Holiday Cheer through nearly 20 cities, including a stop in Anson, Texas, where the Cowboy Christmas Ball originated in 1885.

“The first time I came to the annual Cowboy Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas, where the community has celebrated the holidays with this event every year since 1934, I was floored that the community had worked so hard to keep it going,” Murphey said. “I fell in love watching the older couples dance and the dances being passed on to the younger people. It reconnected me to the tradition.”

That tradition began on Christmas night, 1885, when arriving in Anson, native New Yorker Larry Chittenden chronicled a dancing spectacle unparalleled in those days by composing the rhythmic, rollicking lines of The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball, a six stanza verse that is still remembered and anthologized in print and song.

Modeling a show after the annual Anson event, Murphey took the celebration on the road, and has over the past two decades, performed the ball in such prestigious venues as Bass Hall (Ft. Worth, Texas), The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), the National Hispanic Cultural Center Journal Theater (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and The Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University (Austin, Texas).

As Cowboys Christmas new sponsor, Spalding Fly Predators is proud to be joining Michael in this cherished holiday celebration. Per chief fly guy Tom Spalding, “We’ve been helping horse and livestock owners keep their facilities fly free for over 39 years. Michael’s passion for ranching and horses makes him the perfect partner in our quest to spread the word about enjoying the cowboy lifestyle without flies. Concert goers can receive a free copy of our 2015 calendar featuring the gorgeous paintings of renowned Cowboy artist Kenneth Wyatt, and they’ll be treated to an onsite traveling display featuring Kenneth’s paintings as well.”

This year’s tour begins on Nov. 21 in Colorado Springs and will continue through December. Visit for a complete listing of stops on the tour.

“The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas time,” Murphey said. “All the old dances are here… the waltzes, the mazurkas, the Paul Jones, the Virginia Reel… all these dances are still done here. The women make their own costumes and clothes and the men still wear string ties and frock coats. It’s a family reunion of friends.

“This is my favorite season of the year,” Murphey continued. “We remember our fathers and mothers. We celebrate our children and we treasure our friends and the many blessings given by our Lord. It really brings out the very best in all of us.”






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