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San Angelo Volunteer, The Ballad of John Talley – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]

San Angelo Volunteer, The Ballad of John Talley – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]


[metal door clanging] – This is the hanger
where I do all of my car projects. [music] This is a 73 Karmann Ghia
convertible… and there’s the motor. [laughs] This is an 82 De Lorean. I’m John Talley. I’m a European auto technician. When I first moved out here, they really needed people
to work on Volkswagens. And it’s kept me really,
really busy for 40 years. So this is how I spend
some of my days. I moved out here in 78. We’re just really, really lucky
that out here we’ve got this heaven right outside of town. [mellow music] – JIM CISNEROS: There’s not
much that I suspect John Talley can’t do. My name is Jim Cisneros. I’m the Park Superintendent
for San Angelo State Park. I’ve only been here a
couple of years, but from what I understand, John’s been here from the
very beginning. – JOHN: A lot of the places
are growing up and getting urbanized. I enjoy being out here
all by myself, but I’m always amazed how
many people in town don’t know this piece of
heaven is right here. [mellow music] – JIM: We’re off the beaten path
in Texas. I think we’re the biggest
city that doesn’t have an interstate running
through it. [water flowing] We get some of the hills
from the Hill Country. We get some of the
desert stuff from the Chihuahuan Desert Plateau. You’re out here, and you feel
like you’re in the wilderness, but we’re literally a
few miles from town. [car door] – JOHN: In five or ten minutes
they can be here and enjoy it. Riding a bicycle, or boating, or hiking or whatever. Pretty much just wake up
each day and decide if I’m going to
go out and ride the bike or work on somebody’s car, or I’m going to get on a tractor
and mow the trails. [tractor starts] I take care of the trails at
the San Angelo State Park. [footsteps] This is the area that we call
Little Foot Draw because some, I call it a dinosaur,
came walking through here at some point in time and
left these footprints, preserved in this creek bed. That’s pretty
amazing right there. These have been here for many,
many, many years, before man was even considered. This is a place where you
can just stop and think. [guitar music] When you see them along this
ridge over here, it’s kind of like getting a
picture of the Old West. People from out of town
come to see the bison and our longhorn. This is part of the
official Texas state herd. This is one of my favorite
things to come out here and I really feel like I’m
in another time sequence. [guitar music] – JIM: I think it’s the variety
of activities that you can do out here. Pretty close to 8,000 acres. And I tell my volunteers
this all the time. I can’t run this
park without you. – JOHN: Tractors and the
lawnmowers, sometimes they’d break down
in middle of the park and I’d go out and get
them running again. Do minor repairs on
the Coke machines. And now we have a new
firewood vending machine. So I keep all that going. [clanking] – JIM: He’s like a
Renaissance man. Sometimes it’s helping us
diagnose a mechanical problem, sometimes mowing the trails, but when I first got here, John
invited me to one of his gigs. And I was like,
“You’re a musician?” And that’s when I really knew
that John can probably do just about anything. [cheers and applause] – JIM: He was playing, you know,
tickling the keys on the piano. And I really enjoyed it,
and then he started singing, and I was like, “Oh my gosh,
he can sing too!” – JOHN: ♪ Georgia ♪ ♪ No peace ♪ ♪ can I find ♪ – JIM: He can tune pianos,
he can play pianos, he can fix cars, he goes kayaking,
he goes biking… trail maintenance. He’s very multi-faceted and
we all feel like he’s a great human being. [band playing] [applause] [paddles splashing] – JOHN: In a round-about way, it was music that
brought me here. In 1990, Angelo State University
hired me to work in a musical with them called
Pump Boys and Dinettes. [recording] ♪ Highway 57,
pump boys, and dinettes. ♪ – JOHN: Played piano, accordion, had to sing for two hours
every night, had to learn how to tap
dance in cowboy boots, so I foresaw all of this
fixing to happen and I said, “I better get in shape!” So I went down and bought
a mountain bike. [upbeat music] Then I met some of the
local bike club people. We all rode the south end
of the park and we worked deals
with the ranchers who had some of this other area and they let us ride through
their pastures as long as we kept
the gates closed. – REPORTER: There were a lot
of things to see at the grand opening of
San Angelo State Park. – JOHN: Texas Parks and Wildlife
worked a deal with the Corps of Engineers and
took over this land. – A community and a great group
of people put together a wonderful new state park. – JOHN: And they allowed
us to keep riding and create new trails. – REPORTER: It has an extensive
trail system for both equestrians and mountain bikers,
and that will set it off from all other state parks. – JOHN: Five miles here and
five miles there, we finally have 50 or 60 miles, which is a lot. Probably, I was in on
making 25 to 30 miles. And one of those is named
after me also– it’s called the Talley Valley. [laughs] [upbeat music] We try to keep at least a
two-foot section clear, because we do have a
rattlesnake or two out here. Usually the only people that
worry about the snakes are the second guys in line. [laughs] For mowing, we’ve got a
four-foot shredder. And that’s perfect for
99% of the trail. There’s are a few areas that I
can’t get to on a tractor, and there we’ll use weed eaters,
rakes and hoes and stuff. [weed eater whirs, chopping] Just kind of work as
a little team and it’s amazing how much
you can knock out. [gentle music] After it’s rained,
every so often, the longhorn have
torn up the trails. They leave deep tracks,
which really jar you on a mountain bike. [tractor rumbles] The trick that we’ve come up
with was a couple of front-end loader wheels
and tires. The front one digs
into the trail and the rear one kind of
follows it and smoothes it up. And that’s my dragging tool
or dragon tool. [laughs] [gentle music] – JIM: We get countless
compliments on how well they’re maintained, and of course that’s all
due to our volunteers. [music] I can’t ever keep up
with him on a bicycle, but he is a very avid user. – JOHN: If you wanted to
see the whole park, mountain bike is a really
good way to do it. I think my favorite part
about it is the solitude. It’s kind of a Zen deal to me
to just be on the bicycle, and get your heart rate up
to a certain level and just keep going, but that puts your mind in
a really nice place… perfect for creating new ideas. And a lot of times when I’m
out here riding along, I’ll be listening to jazz or
classical or whatever. [classical music] It’s quite entertaining to be
going over some of these little ridges and stuff,
listening to Debussy. That’s just another
bit of heaven. [uptempo classical music] [uptempo classical music] I really enjoy the entire park. That’s my church. [classical music] Maybe someday you’ll find my
ashes out here somewhere. [laughs] – He is really truly a resource,
he’s a friend, he’s someone that we count on, in more ways than one. I think John Talley is
going to be out here for many years to come. [music] – JOHN: As long as I’m
playing music and riding my mountain bike, I’m 19. I don’t plan on
quitting anytime soon. [bicycle rumbling
down the trail]

11 comments on “San Angelo Volunteer, The Ballad of John Talley – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official]

  1. Talley Ho, John Talley! You look like a guy I would love to sit down and jaw with over a cool bottle of beer. Thanks for all you do to keep San Angelo State Park accessible for us all.

  2. John is a remarkable person. He’s an honest mechanic and a good steward of the land. San Angelo is one of the cities in Texas that most resembles the “movies”.

  3. John Talley is one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met. I sure miss living in Angelo, volunteering at the park and working at Sealy Flatts. Love you John!

  4. Wahoo! Talley Valley! Aww what a wonderful film of such a wonderful man. That’s my Uncle Johnny right there. He is the genuine thing. Thank you for featuring him. ☺️💞

  5. John is an inspiration. At 63 I still ride and would love to spend a day out there with him. Keep up the great work John 👍

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