The biggest night in Erath County is happening Saturday at Twisted J Live, where the Empire-Tribune’s third annual awards gala will take place.

The community cast more than 127,900 votes in 178 categories in the Best of Erath contest, and the winners will be revealed during a red carpet affair that will include music by Pearl Street Combo, dinner catered by Greer’s Ranch Cafe and the awards show. 

“This is our signature event and it will be a night to remember,” said E-T General Manager Melissa Horton. “It’s a night for our business community to shine.” 


Individual tickets are $95 each and a table of 10 is $800. 

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Saturday for a complimentary cocktail hour hosted by the E-T.

Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and the awards will begin at 7:30.

For more ticket information, call Chris Wood at 965-3124.


Three well-known men are the top finalists for Person of the Year.

Sheriff Matt Coates, local insurance agent Clayton Iley and Tarleton Athletic Director Lonn Reisman were nominated by their peers and neighbors during the competition’s voting round.

Sheriff Coates, 45, moved to Stephenville in 2013 and said “community involvement” is what makes the city unique. Coates was also nominated as Person of the Year in 2018.

“Everybody works together for the greater good, and that’s not something you always see in other places,” Coates said.

When asked about his nomination, Coates said, “Win it or not, it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

Iley, 33, is a local insurance agent who was born and raised in Stephenville.

“It’s the people that make Stephenville special,” Iley said. “Any time there is a need, our community rushes to help.”

Iley called the nomination “humbling.”

“It’s cool to know that Jenny (his wife) and I are doing things right,” he said.

Reisman, 64, said he is “honored” to be a finalist.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to call Stephenville home for over 30 years,” Reisman said. “Stephenville and Erath County are great supporters of Tarleton State University and this is a special community to be a part of. There’s a lot of influential and outstanding citizens in Erath County and it’s an honor to be a finalist.”


Best Firefighter:

Chris Hoffman - Huckabay Volunteer Fire Department

Albert Ray - Lingleville Volunteer Fire Department

Cody Wells - Stephenville Fire Department

Best Law Enforcement Officer:

Chili Alexander - TSU Police Department

Matt Coates - Erath County Sheriff’s Office

Kent Howell - Erath County Sheriff’s Office

Cameron Ray - Dublin Police Department

Best Teacher:

Becky Bray - White Horse Christian Academy

Jessica Cowan - Central Elementary

Brittany Magin - Chamberlin Elementary