We have had so many amazing men and women spend their summers here at Vista Camps. Men and women who helped shape the lives of thousands of campers who called Vista their “home away from home” since Rio Vista was founded in 1921. We love hearing stories from past campers and counselors about their time here on the banks of the beautiful Guadalupe River. Here is one such story from past camper Jim Phipps, as he remembers Coach Jack Price, long time Rio Vista hero.
” My camp life at Rio Vista started in 1949-1954. Now at the age of 87 years old I still reminisce about my my cherished experiences during my camp life and would like to share one with you. My Waco High School coach Jack Price and his wife Leona worked at Rio Vista every summer. The cabin at Rio Vista named “PRICE’S PALACE” was named to commemorate his memory.
Coach Price had just bought a new and beautiful Pontiac car before driving Mrs Price and me to camp that year. So one day I walked to the camp office and asked Mrs Price if my camp friend and I could wash their new car. She said she would drive to Coach Prices cabin and ask him if it would be OK. When she returned to the office she said he told her OK but to tell me to be very careful with his new car. I assured her that I would be very careful.
My friend and I drove to the river ford crossing located at the entrance of camp. We drove the car into the shallow water flowing over the concrete ford and began to soap and rinse the car. As we were finishing I wanted to wash the tires. Starting on the front tire I had to bend down to wash the tire so I decided to hold onto the radio antenna located on the front fender of the car. Yes, the whole antenna broke off in my hand. It was a horrifying drive back to the camp office to tell Mrs.Price what had happened. After explaining to her about the tragedy she said she would drive the car to Coach Price cabin and tell him our story. When she returned to the office she said that Coach Price knew it was an accident and he would have the antenna repaired when he gets back to Waco. I did not want to face Coach Price anytime soon but I knew he would be at our cabin dinner table that night. At dinner our cabin was sitting down at our table and I noticed at my place there was a miniature hog trough that hogs are fed from on farms. It was made from nice wood and even had my name on it. Coach Price walked up and said this is what you will be eating from tonight Jim. He knew that I always ate a lot at meal time. I knew not to question his instructions so I began eating my meal from this hog trough. As I ate, all the campers began to cheer and clap with each bite. I knew that I had to keep eating and some how enjoy my food so I just relaxed and ate.
I still cherish both of these experiences became close friends with Coach Price through the years and was deeply sadden with his death. Camp Rio Vista is a special camp and has and will remain a special camp because of people like “Carl Hawkins”and the entire Hawkins Family. ”
Jim W. Phipps