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From songwriters to one of the largest grocers in the US.

We know Kerrville as the home of the most scenic triathlon in Texas, but it’s also the home of some pretty legendary superstars. Keep reading to find out 4 famous people you didn’t know were from Kerrville.

Robert Earl Keen

4 famous people from Kerrville

Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen is an American singer-songwriter legend in the music industry. Keen’s music spanned many styles including folk, country, bluegrass, and rock, although he is most widely credited for his influence in Americana music. He was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. Keen is a Texas A&M graduate whose career sparked from playing shows in Austin, Texas and other famous music halls. While Keen struggled to become a mainstream artist, his music grew to be widely appreciated and influenced some of today’s biggest country music stars. His songs were covered by many musicians including George Strait, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett, The Highwaymen, Nanci Griffith, and the Dixie Chicks. In 1983, Keen won the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas. Staying close to his roots, Keen continues to tour around Texas and will be at Austin Rodeo, and even has a show in Kerrville on March 7th!

James AveryJames Avery next to the original James Avery Craft Jewelry sign

James Avery, now a household name, started as man designing jewelry in his mother-in-law’s garage in Kerrville in 1954. The one-man business was a huge success and continued to grow and gain popularity and James Avery Artisan Jewelry was born! Staying true to his roots, the first every James Avery retail store was opened in Kerrville in 1973.   Avery’s jewelry became very popular in the Texas Hill Country and still is to this day. This world-renowned company has over 50 stores located in the U.S. and 5 manufacturing plants, one is in the heart of Kerrville. Truly a family business, James passed his legacy onto his son, who is now the current CEO.

Howard Edward Butt Sr.

Howard Butt and his wife standing in front of H-E-BHoward Edward Butt Sr. was son to Florence Thornton Butt and pharmacist, Charles Butt, who relocated to Kerrville, Texas in 1905 for the drier climate to combat his father’s tuberculosis. Florence opened a small grocery store below their apartment as a place for locals to get their groceries. Once Howard was in high school, he took over the store as a manager. After a brief stint in the Navy, Howard returned home to run the store with his mother. Although his first attempts at expanding the family business failed, he achieved success when he opened a store in Del Rio, Texas. In 1935, he changed the name of the company to H.E. Butt Grocery which was eventually shortened to, you guessed it, H-E-B. The first supermarket was opened in Corpus Christi and was credited as one of the first places a shopper could purchase meat, fish, produce, baked goods, and personal care products under a single roof. The rest is history with H-E-B being classified as the twentieth largest retailer in the United States.

Jimmie Rodgers

Famous from Kerrville, Jimmie Rodgers and his guitar

Jimmie Rodgers was an American singer-songwriter and musician who rose to popularity in the late 1920s. Best known for his distinctive rhythmic yodeling, Rodgers is widely known as the “Father of Country Music”. Rodgers rose to stardom from his recordings rather than concert performances, which was very uncommon at the time. He is credited as an inspiration for hundreds of artists after his time in both country and blues music. Rodgers reached the peak of his career and chose to build his dream house in Kerrville, Texas around 1929. The house still stands on the intersection of Main and Jackson on a hill that overlooks the town. His most popular hit, Blue Yoddlle No. 1 was even covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd. His other works were celebrated and honored by stars such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams who publicly gave Rodgers praise and credited him as a music legend. Rodgers was enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame and is still celebrated to this day.

A record number of triathletes, more than 1800, registered for The Most Scenic Triathlon in Texas

A record number of triathletes registered for the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon, including this female sprint finisher posting in front of the Kerrville Tri sign.

Congrats to all the 2019 Kerrville Tri finishers!

More than 4000 triathletes and their friends and family traveled to Kerrville, Texas, for the 9th annual Kerrville Triathlon Festival. A record number of triathletes, more than 1800, (most in event history) registered for the Most Scenic Triathlon in Texas. Participants gave their all on a course highlighted by swimming in Nimitz Lake, cycling through the Texas Hill Country, and running along the Guadalupe River. Participants were treated to fajitas, cold beer, snacks, and an opportunity to recover in the refreshing waters of the Guadalupe River after crossing the finish line. Kerrville Tri also launched best pricing for 2020, which ends on Tuesday, Oct. 8th.

“This is my favorite race and the course is beautiful,” said Meredith Townley, who completed the quarter distance (3:22:07) on Sunday. “I love the hometown feel that Kerrville and the Hill Country provide and how everyone – vendors, sponsors, spectators, etc. – truly supports everyone else!” 

The Most Scenic Triathlon in Texas

A record number of triathletes registered for the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon, including these triathletes floating the Guadalupe River in their Kerrville Tri floats!

Participants float the Guadalupe River after crossing the 2019 Kerrville Tri finish line!

The family-friendly Kerrville Triathlon Festival took place from Friday, September 27th, to Sunday, September 29th. It featured two days of triathlon action and a bustling two-day expo. Six different events were featured, sprint, quarter, half, aquabike, relays, and a kids fun run. The Debra Zapata Sprint distance, sprint relay, and kids fun run took place on Saturday. All other events, including the quarter and the half, took place on Sunday. Before the action began, participants, volunteers, and friends and family went to the annual Friday night Kerrville Tri Mixer. Inn of the Hills, the host hotel, hosted the Mixer and the expo and packet pick up. Grammy award-winning artist and Debra Zapata sprint participant Shawn Colvin sang Saturday’s national anthem.

“I love registering for and completing an affordable half distance triathlon in the Texas Hill Country,” said Michelle Bonathan, Kerrville Triathlon half distance open division female champion (5:22:50). “The support and energy from the spectators and volunteers were top-notch!”

Peter Murray (1:02:01), of Austin, Texas, won Saturday’s sprint event. Marla Briley (1:14:23), of Austin, Texas, won the female division. Sunday’s winners and their times follow: quarter – female winner, Jami O’Toole (2:34:38), male winner, Mark Saroni (2:03:20); half – female winner, Michelle Bonathan, male winner, Jack Cartwright (4:53:58). Results for Saturday and Sunday are available. 

Perks for record number of triathletes

A record number of triathletes registered for the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon, including these future triathletes at the free kids fun run.

The kids take off at the free kids fun run!

New for 2019, participants received a Kerrville Triathlon-branded float and recovered in the Guadalupe River after crossing the finish line. Athletes received a belt buckle finisher’s medal, customized shirt, and commemorative hat. They also received a reusable custom water bottle, personalized race bib, and swim cap. They enjoyed a free post-race meal including fajitas from H-E-B, fruit, snacks, and the ever-popular beer garden. The event also had professional timing and photography. A great volunteer crew, thousands of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival will showcase why the Kerrville Triathlon is one of the best triathlons in Texas. Photos can be found on the Kerrville Triathlon Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds in addition to the website.

The Kerrville Triathlon would like to thank sponsors H-E-B, City Limit Cycles, the City of Kerrville, Kerrville Fire Department, Kerrville Police Department, Kerr County Sheriff’s Department, Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Peterson Health, Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg, SPIbelt, Peak Fitness, MO-RANCH, Hill Country Bicycle Works, Grape Juice, Mamacita’s, Camp Gladiator, and Gatorade.