Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
The story of the Nickerson family is one of achieving great success and giving back to the community and those who helped them so much along the way.
Now the owners of Shotgun’s Bar-B-Que in Mineral Wells have undertaken the mission to inspire those in the community that come to eat at their restaurant by displaying plaques honoring people from all different walks of life who have a connection to either Mineral Wells or Palo Pinto County and have gone on to do great things in their lives.
The honorees, whom the people at Shotgun’s call their “Passing Mineral Wells Greats,” will soon cover the walls on the interior of the restaurant with four plaques adorning the wall in each booth so that each time a patron comes to eat, they will get to read new success stories from the local community.
Ida Nickerson, whose husband bought Shotgun’s back in 1994, came up with the idea. She plans to put up plaques weekly until the green walls of Shotgun’s are completely full of inspiring stories.
“We need to have a place of reference for the people that have come through here and done great things,” she said. “This is one way to honor them, to help them to understand they have done great things, they are great people. We’ve had some amazing people come through here. We’ve had astronauts, football players, doctors. We’ve had Felicia Scott, who ran in the Boston Marathon in honor of her mother, Colonel Willy Casper, Bobby Glover. I have over 100 names.”
The Nickersons’ respect for those who have done great things in their lives is well-documented. When driving by Shotgun’s on the north side of West Hubbard Street it is impossible to missed the giant image of original restaurant owner John “Shotgun” Vaughan emblazoned on the south side of the building. Nickerson told the Index Vaughan is extremely important to their family, not only because he sold them the restaurant in 1994, but he also took Ida’s husband, Gabriel, under his wing, gave him a job and promised the future of the restaurant if he worked well. Ida went so far as to say Gabriel was like Vaughan’s second son. Because of his impact, they had Vaughan’s caricature painted on the building in his honor. The concept of the plaques follows a similar line of thinking.
“We’ve always been servers, we’ve always been people people,” she said. “It’s just what we do. [The plaques] kind of fall in line with that. It’s not just about trying to make our restaurant big. I would do this even if the restaurant didn’t do one thing, because this is the core of who the Nickersons are.”
The first of what promises to be a long line of plaques bears the name of Erica Roberson, Nickerson’s niece. Roberson, a Mineral Wells High School graduate in 2004 and track star, coaches freshman girls basketball at MWHS and is pursuing a second masters degree in education with principal certification from Tarleton State University.
Roberson’s plaque will be on display in the restaurant beginning Dec. 1.
“We’re so proud of her,” Nickerson said. “Coach [Jackie] Harvey kind of took her under his wing. It’s all about taking somebody under your wing and teaching them and training them.”
Having spent a lot of time in street ministry as an ordained minister, Nickerson hopes that stories like Roberson’s will inspire even more people in the community to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness.
“My core belief is to get started on something,” Nickerson said. “The word ‘pass’ is used [in the award title] because it’s someone that ‘goes about freely.’ They don’t stand there and ask for handouts. They say, ‘I’m going to go get it, I’m going to bring it back and I’m going to let people know that it’s doable.’ We just want to be the point of reference where you can see that.
“My belief is if we’re going to change the dynamics in this county, from handouts to a hand up, we’ve got to show people that there are people that have come through hand have done well. This is what this is all about.
“You can do it. There are no hinderances.”