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story.lead_photo.caption DeKalb's Rancho Del Sol hosts two concerts at the venue's Lynchpin Dance Hall this weekend. (Photo by Teresea Welch Photography and Design)

DEKALB, Texas — The Rancho Del Sol arena and event venue's new Lynchpin Dance Hall has begun hosting live music in an old-fashioned, Texas-style, dance hall setting, including two nights of concerts this Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, the Lynchpin hosts Trophy Husband from 8 p.m. to midnight with gates open at 7 p.m. It's a BYOB event with food provided by The Burger Joint. Admission is $8. Limited VIP spots are available; call Paul at 903-701-2318 for more information. There's also a graduation party for high school seniors in the main arena with yard games like cornhole.

On Saturday, the Lynchpin hosts the Shelton Band starting at 8 p.m., along with a Remembrance Ranch Rodeo starting earlier at 6 p.m. with events like sorting, cow milking, stray gathering, doctoring and calf branding. Tickets are $15 for both the rodeo and music, free for children 10 and under. The rodeo call-in number is 903-513-4755.

Having purchased the ranch in 2014, Elise Ulmer owns Rancho Del Sol, which hosts equine-related events such as training, lessons, clinics, rodeos and more. Now they've added a rustic dance hall for live music.

Originally, she considered adding a cantina, inspired by a marketing class she was taking in college, but then switched gears to the dance hall idea, having researched Texas dance hall history in the Hill Country and South Texas.

"How they just had a really rich culture and how they kind of were the center of society for a really long time as Texas was a new state," Ulmer said. With Texas coming out of the pandemic, in particular, she thinks folks want to reconnect in a safer way.

"It is open air. It's not enclosed. Our main arena is enclosed, but where we put the dance hall we completely renovated one of the barns," Ulmer said. They added new electricity and have an open-sided, open-air space with a hard-packed dirt floor and wooden dance floor.

"We do encourage lawn chairs because we don't have a whole lot of our own seating," Ulmer said. They have VIP tailgate spots, where attendees can park their vehicle beside the event space.

"So for $50 you can buy a slot where you back up right to the building and essentially get to tailgate at the concert, so it's kind of a fun, very special little feature," Ulmer said.

They opened Easter weekend with the Shelton Band and have hosted three concerts since then. It's something for the western side of Bowie County with a nice, family-friendly, nostalgic, country feel to it with a tin roof and lights, Ulmer explained.

"Cozy, come-as-you-are, have a good time," she said. Various private vendors provide food. They don't serve alcohol but it is BYOB. Events end at midnight. They want a fun time but not a rowdy party, she said.

Ulmer explains that hosting music here is part of a long tradition. Decades ago, the arena hosted such musical luminaries as George Strait, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, she said.

"The fun thing is the arena, it used to be the Western Sports Arena. Lots of people that have been here know it as the Western Sports Arena. Back in the '70s and early '80s there were huge concerts here, and it was the place to go for entertainment," Ulmer said, noting that the Shelton Band is from New Boston, Texas, and plays mostly red dirt country music.

(Tickets are available at the gate. More info: RanchoDelSolArena.com. Rancho Del Sol is located at 1252 Farm-to-Market Road 992 N. in DeKalb, Texas.)

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