Rusk County cowboy church celebrates Christmas with recreation of Bethlehem

The Bar None Cowboy Church is taking visitors back in time 2000 years to the birth of Christ. It’s a family-friendly event with plenty for the kids to do.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 12:06 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:56 PM CST
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RUSK COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Normally, this venue is a rodeo arena, but for the next few days, it’s Bethlehem.

The Bar None Cowboy Church, located between Henderson and Tatum at 9162 State Highway 43, is taking visitors back in time 2000 years to the birth of Christ. It’s a family-friendly event with plenty for the kids to do, and it’s free to attend.

According to Church Administrator Danny Menges, the whole production has grown over the last four years.

“Last year we had over 1,000 people come through for the three nights, and so we expect a crowd. We try to cater to that. We love it. We invite everybody,” Menges said.

Visitors walk through the front archway, and there are at least 40 residents, just as they were last year, all in period costume.

“From the Roman soldiers that you come in and meet, to the different people in different booths and stuff. There may be even more than that, but they’re in costume and working,” Menges said.

And, there will be live animals, also like last year, but the photogenic camels are, well, replicamels.

“These don’t spit on you or nothing, and they don’t have attitude,” Menges said.

The experience is a self-guided tour, however, and guests will be handed a piece of paper right as they enter.

“It explains what everything is. You can go around, you can go this way, you can go that way, you can go right down the middle. You can walk around. There’s people there you can talk to: ask them, they’ll answer your questions. They’ll kind of show you some stuff, explain what’s going on and why they’re doing it,” Menges said.

There will be food samples given out and interactive demonstrations of the old ways. Menges said volunteers start building about six months out.

“They almost use the entire arena for this, so it’s really grown and continues to grow all the way back,” Menges said.

The stage is nearly set; the players will be in place and ready for tourists.

“We would love to have them to come and experience this. It’s a great way to start off the Christmas season,” Menges said.

The Bar None Cowboy Church’s Bethlehem is open this Friday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with free admission.