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Honkytonk Handshake
Appellate judges from the court of last resort –– the Supreme Court of Texas –– came to Fort Worth recently to help decipher a Bonanza-meets-Dynasty melodrama. Wading in among the quarreling owners at Billy Bob’s Texas sounds about as fun as being chief arbitrator at the OK Corral.

On one side of the corral is the Murrin Gang, the minority owners led by rancher and Stockyards developer Steve Murrin, son Philip Murrin, and friend Concho Minick. On the other side is the Hickman Gang, the majority owners fronted by Brad Hickman, son of the late patriarch Holt Hickman, who helped transform the Stockyards into one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions. Holt died in 2014, and the feuding between the camps began shortly afterward. Other Hickman Gang members include Billy and Pam Minick, the biological father and stepmother to Concho –– awkward!

The breaking point came after Brad Hickman aligned with a Los Angeles-based company to form Stockyards Heritage Development Co. and unveiled a $175 million plan to add a boutique hotel, shops, offices, restaurants, and other amenities to the area. The Murrin Gang objected to some of the plans, and the Hickman Gang showed little interest in compromise. The feud spilled over into day-to-day operations at Billy Bob’s, where Concho Minick worked as general manager.

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The Hickman Gang fired Concho despite a partnership agreement that requires a unanimous agreement among owners for major decisions. In 2017, Concho sued to enforce the unanimous agreement rule. Also, the Murrin Gang objected to the Hickman Gang charging its legal fees to Billy Bob’s Texas. The Texas Supreme Court is expected to make its rulings in the coming months. Afterward comes … what? A trial? Settlement? Group hug? A thumb-wrestling match behind Mule Alley? We don’t know but can’t keep from rubbernecking at this train wreck.

Letter to the Editor
I held a pop-up shop at Locust Cider on Sun, Aug 25. This was only my second pop-up ever, and I was so thrilled when a photographer from the Fort Worth Weekly came to my booth. He gave me a short interview and took pictures of my set-up. He was very interested in my shop, and we shared our knowledge of essential oils. I have been making/selling handmade jewelry through Etsy since 2009, and I’m finally stepping out into the Fort Worth craft scene, which I think is beautiful and unique.

So now I’m finally seeing the article from the Locust Cider pop-up (“The In-Cider Scoop,” Sept 18), and I am feeling very upset about it. My name was mentioned twice with negative connotation. I was at the pop-up early that day because I had to leave for a baby shower by 5. I don’t understand how there were photos taken of me and my humble little shop, yet the article states that I was packing up and leaving. Every single person who came into the cidery that day came by my booth and purchased at least one item. Even the two hosts at Locust Cider that day were wearing bracelets from my shop!

For a newspaper that is supposed to support Fort Worth artists and local businesses, this article contributes nothing positive to our city.

Carolyn Horner
Fort Worth

Editor’s note: The photographer was not the author of the Weekly column.

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