Western Kountry Klub, Offers Family Fun
Drivers whizzing south on U.S. 287 likely have no idea how much history they’re passing when they fly by the old white metal building on the side of the road. For 62 years, the Western Kountry Klub has weathered storms, disco, age and progress to stand as one of the last old-fashioned Texas dance halls.
Nestled in the mesquite trees and grazing cattle between Mansfield and Midlothian, the big white barn started life as a skating rink before being turned into a dance hall a half century ago. Every Saturday night, the gravel parking lot fills up with pickups and SUVs and packs the house with all ages from newborns to 90-year-olds. But people who live in the area, especially in the brand-new subdivisions that creep closer every year, don’t even know what the Western Kountry Klub is.
“I think they know about it,” said Teresa Boyd, who has managed the club for the past 18 months. “But they don’t know what it is. It’s just a big old white barn sitting here empty. Then they come by on a Saturday and go ‘oh my goodness, what’s going on?’”
Inside, families gather around tables with red-checked tablecloths covered with chicken dinners, birthday cakes, baby and beer bottles. The regulars stake their claim to their chosen table with markers decorated with Christmas lights. Toddlers and teens try their moves on the 2,000-square-foot hardwood dance floor, while couples married longer than George Strait has been alive two-step in perfect sync to the live band.
“It’s a magical place that brings families together,” Boyd said.
Newborns to 90-year-olds hang out
Children and teens are welcome since the Western Kountry Klub does not serve alcohol. Patrons can bring their own, but no one under 21 is allowed to drink and IDs are checked at the door. Teenagers gather in clusters around the dance floor, scoping out dancers of the opposite sex.
“It’s a safe place to hang out,” said Bunny Murphy, who works the snack bar. “Parents don’t worry about them.”
So many teens began coming that the club started Friday Teen Nights from 7-11 p.m.
The live music from rotating bands, plus the massive dance floor, are also draws, dancers say.
“It’s a perfect spot,” said Tina Brown, who lives in Mansfield. “We should have been coming for years. Finally, I did. When we got here and saw the live band, the large dance floor, BYOB, not expensive and close to home – boom! We come almost every week.”
The regulars come so often that they start to feel like family, said Marsha Hutchinson, who works the snack bar with Murphy.
“I love all the friendships that are made out here,” she said. “I love the music. I feel like I’m seeing my family every Saturday night.”
The old building has a personality of its own, too, and it’s creaking with age.
“I like when people say ‘Do you have the Wi-fi password?’ We barely have heat and air!” Murphy laughed.
Dance hall regulars help keep the building functioning
The regulars step in and have work days to keep the building together.
“Two weeks ago, we had a guy painting the roof, a guy fixing the air return, then they had to repair a hole in the floor,” Hutchinson said. “There had to have been 10 guys here on Saturday and Sunday.”
But the regulars just keep coming, bringing friends, children and grandchildren. Newcomers stop in to see what’s going on, Boyd said.
“I just had a couple that was here for the first time that told me that they felt so welcomed,” she said. “I love it. I have the best job in the world.”
“It’s got that aura,” Boyd said. “If you don’t come, you’re missing out.”
Western Kountry Klub is open from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays. Dance lessons are from 7-8 p.m. and the band plays from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. The club is open from 7-11 p.m. Fridays for Teen Night. Admission is $10 for adults, $12 for special performances; $5 for kids. The Western Kountry Klub is at 5728 Lakeview Road in Midlothian. For more information, call 903-603-0556 or go to westernkountryklub.com.