Remember the Ford Bronco, the model made famous, or infamous, when murder suspect O.J. Simpson and his sidekick Al Cowlings led Los Angeles law enforcement on a slow-speed chase in the summer of 1994?

Simpson, the football-star-turned-actor, later was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Ford discontinued production two years later, in 1996, because of sluggish sales and a corporate decision to focus resources on the popular F-150 pickup.

Joining Ford’s stable of crossovers and SUVs, the Bronco’s reincarnated version “will boast a boxy shape with retro styling,” according to a report by citing dealer sources. “Along with obligatory trail-ready equipment, it will be available with either two or four removable doors and a removable roof that set it up to compete with rugged rivals such as the Jeep Wrangler.”

Anyway, Mark Stewart, general sales manager at Waco’s Bird-Kultgen Ford, said he will travel to Anaheim, California, to learn more about the redux. He mentioned his pending trip Thursday, during a meeting of business leaders invited to discuss the latest Greater Waco Economic Index report.

His revelation sparked a lively discussion among attendees, most of whom fondly remembered personal brushes with a Bronco decades ago.

During an interview after the meeting, Stewart said he could not pinpoint when Broncos will appear in the Bird-Kultgen showroom in Waco. Like others in the industry, he said Ford will continue to choose pickups and SUVs over sedans in exerting corporate muscle.

Gas prices

Don’t look now, but at least one local gasoline retailer, Murphy USA outside the Walmart at Hewitt and Imperial drives, was selling regular unleaded for $2 a gallon at midafternoon Friday, just as the public was preparing for the long Labor Day weekend, according to

Nobody else in Greater Waco had numbers that low, but prices citywide have been dropping for months. The norm in Greater Waco stood at $2.19 per gallon for regular unleaded Friday, according to GasBuddy, reflecting a a drop of 4 cents from the day before, 18 cents the past month and 33 cents since the same day last year. A $2.09 price appeared at several spots.

AAA Texas reported Thursday that statewide Labor Day gasoline prices are the lowest since 2016, when the average was $2.01 a gallon for regular unleaded. The statewide norm now stands at $2.31 a gallon for regular unleaded. Motorists in the oil patch community of Odessa are paying the most, at $2.57, while those in the border city of McAllen are paying the least, $2.09.

HOT Fair

Charva Ingram, marketing manager at Extraco Events Center, dropped hints last week about changes in the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo schedule, though the public still needs to keep in mind the fair complex at Bosque Boulevard and Lake Air Drive is undergoing a $35 million makeover.

Scheduled to run Oct. 3 through Oct. 13, the fair this year includes attractions on a second Sunday, whereas the bright lights and big tents historically have vanished after the second Saturday. Ingram said rodeo-style bullfighters will square off with Mexican fighting bulls on that final Sunday.

An Olympic lumberjack competition has been booked as this year’s novelty attraction, following last year’s “extreme” dog show, she said.

Waco Under 40

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce has announced its first Waco Under 40 honorees to be recognized during an event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 12 at The Phoenix Ballroom, 401 S. Third St.

They include Travis Cheatham, Indian Spring Middle School; Lauren Dreyer, SpaceX; Bryan Fonville, Central National Bank; Traci Marlin, Midway ISD; Cuevas Peacock, Grassroots Community Development; Hermann Pereira, Connally Career Tech; Hector Sabido, Waco City Council; and Lindsey Skinner, Pattillo Brown & Hill accounting firm, according to a chamber press release.

The event is open to the public and meant to recognize leaders under the age of 40 and to encourage young people in Greater Waco to pursue leadership roles, the chamber said.

Tickets are available for $75 each at For more information, call Amanda Haygood at 757-5611.

Waffle Chic

A new restaurant specializing in “Southern homestyle” chicken and waffles has opened at 15th Street and Columbus Avenue, with service from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Called Waffle Chic, it occupies space in the Lovely Enterprises complex that includes a clothing store, according to a Facebook post.

The Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce and Lovely Enterprises assisted in sponsoring ribbon-cutting ceremonies last week.

Andy’s Frozen Custard

Missouri-based Andy’s Frozen Custard is hiring for its Waco location at Eighth Street and Cleveland Avenue, where construction is winding down.

The shop is within shouting distance of the $341 million Interstate 35 widening project that will continue a couple more years. Other neighbors are primarily fast food restaurants, with developer Shane Turner’s West Bay restaurant and retail development, a new La Quinta hotel, and the still-under-construction TFNB Your Bank For Life downtown branch also nearby.

Wonder how Andy’s and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, which also operates in that busy neighborhood, will get along?

Magnolia IT

Chip and Joanna Gaines did not have to look far to find an IT guru.

Waco High and Texas State Technical College graduate Randall Frett fit the bill. He is the information technology systems administrator for Magnolia, which means he has his hands in real estate, vacation rentals, home decor and food, all manifestations of local Magnolia-branded operations.

“TSTC really taught me that in my career, I do not want to get to where I am complacent,” Frett said in a TSTC press release. “Complacency means you are too comfortable. I love what I do because I love to see things evolve and see things change.”

Besides securing a pair of associate’s degrees from TSTC, Frett received a bachelor of business administration degree in computer information systems, IT from Tarleton State University.

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