The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) has announced their selection of Blackstone Dilworth as Mr. South Texas 2018 for the 121st Washington’s Birthday Celebration.

“It is truly an honor to be named Mr. South Texas, and I thank the WBCA and the Mr. South Texas Selection Committee for this recognition,”

said Dilworth, South Texas Businessman and Developer.

The Mr. South Texas designation is presented to a deserving individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the growth and development of Laredo and the South Texas region. The formal announcement was made during a press conference held this morning at Texas Community Bank (TCB) in Laredo. The event is sponsored and hosted by TCB.

“Texas Community Bank is pleased to sponsor the Mr. South Texas Luncheon and we congratulate Blackstone Dilworth for his well-deserved recognition as Mr. South Texas for the 121st Celebration. We’re excited to welcome such a fine and hardworking individual to our community and invite all Laredoans to join us in congratulating him,”

said Douglas G. Macdonald, President & CEO of TCB.

The Mr. South Texas Selection Committee, comprised of past presidents of the WBCA and former Mr. South Texas recipients who reside in Laredo, meet and discuss possible candidates. Committee members take great effort in creating an all-inclusive nominating pool of candidates from all walks of life who have made a significant impact on the area.

“Mr. Dilworth truly embodies what the Mr. South Texas Award represents,” said Eddie Villarreal, Chairperson for this year’s Mr. South Texas Selection Committee and WBCA Immediate Past President. “Mr. Dilworth is very deserving of this award and WBCA is proud to honor him.”

Blackstone was born in Tilden, Texas in 1929. He grew up there, attended grade school with only one other classmate. He attended high school at Texas Military Institute in San Antonio. He attended Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio but did not graduate. He returned to Tilden and entered cattle ranching as his family had always done.

In 1950 he married his childhood sweetheart Frances Dilworth. Frances was the daughter of another McMullen County rancher also named Dilworth but not related to Blackstone. They started their married life in south Live Oak County on a small ranch outside of Sandia, Texas.

Frances and Blackstone have two children, Diane Gates of Corpus Christi and Scott Dilworth of Tilden and San Antonio. The Dilworth’s have three grandchildren, Thomas “Dos” Gates of Corpus Christi, Kelly Dilworth of Austin, and J.B. “Cuatro” Dilworth of San Antonio. Blackstone has always been a rancher but soon became involved in other businesses. At one time he worked for a pipeline company, later he did auctioneering at local cattle auctions and rodeo announcing on the side.

Blackstone was a distributor of Sinclair Oil Company products in Sinton, part owner and manager of Mathis Grain and Elevator, a grain storage and cattle feed manufacturer. In 1965 he became owner of a Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealership in Three Rivers. Later he became an accredited real estate appraiser. For about ten years he appraised commercial, residential and ranch properties in South Texas.

In the early 1980s he became interested in the communication tower business when he purchased one communication tower near Victoria and six towers in the Abilene Texas area. His tower company, Towers of Texas, grew to own locations in five other states. For several years he manufactured towers, which he used for his company and sold throughout the country. He continues his tower business and considers that business as the one that brought much of the success to his life efforts.

Always a rancher, in the late 1980’s he ventured into real estate development. Therein came his business enterprises in Laredo. He started the development of San Isidro Ranch on the north side of Laredo. San Isidro Ranch consists of 2,320 acres of industrial, commercial and residential development. Blackstone and his family developed Independence Plaza, a shopping center located in the heart of the San Isidro Ranch area. They own and operate the Best Western San Isidro Inn, and the developing arm of San Isidro Ranch known as San Isidro Management, which manages the commercial and residential development of San Isidro Ranch.

Blackstone entered the oil and gas development business in 2005 with his San Isidro Development Company, a small independent oil and gas company. San Isidro Development with a partner started by drilling on his and his wife’s property in McMullen County, into the Eagle Ford shale. The company now has production in McMullen, Duval and Webb counties and it is involved in other areas of the Coastal Bend.

Blackstone is a devout Christian and political conservative. He is adamant about property rights and land and wildlife conservation. Now in his late 80s, he is looking toward his as he calls it, “sunset” and because of that is making certain changes in his investments. He maintains offices in Laredo, Corpus Christi, and near Sandia. He summarizes his life by saying “I was dealt a good hand and enjoyed playing it”.

Together with the Mr. South Texas designation, Dilworth becomes a member of a select group of national and international distinguished men and women who are honored for their dedication and countless hours of service and support to the Washington’s Birthday Celebration each year by an official induction ceremony and presentation of the Caballero Medallion.

“I love South Texas. I was born and raised in McMullen and Live Oak Counties. It is a huge honor to be recognized and to be a part of the growth in South Texas, particularly in the counties of McMullen, Live Oak, Duval and Webb. I feel exceptionally humbled and very proud to be counted among the past recipients of this award,” Dilworth added.

One of the most celebrated and illustrious WBCA events is the Mr. South Texas Luncheon Hosted by Texas Community Bank, attended each year by dignitaries and honored guests from the United States and Mexico. This year’s luncheon will take place on Saturday, February 17, 2018, at 12 p.m., at the Laredo Country Club. Texas Community Bank generously sponsors the event.

The Mr. South Texas Luncheon Hosted by Texas Community Bank is one of more than 28 events in the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Calendar. Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling jalapeño festival and much more. Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and contributes an estimated $14 million every year to the local economy.

The Washington’s Birthday Celebration was recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association (ABA) because of the excellent entertainment value it offers to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.

Save the Date for the 121st Washington’s Birthday Celebration, which takes place January 18 – February 19, 2018.