With his white beard, round belly, and his passion of bringing joy to children during the Christmas holiday, Billy Bob Chancy might as well have a sleigh complete with reindeer and all.
Chancy lives in Tahoka, Texas, on more than 4 acres of land that he dedicates towards the construction of his own Santa Land DriveThru Park. He said he’s no stranger to filling the role of jolly old St. Nick, but the past four years he’s played the part for his park.
According to Chancy, there are more than 250,000 lights along with countless decorations to accommodate the lights.
“I started Santa Land after my daughter and her son, Heath Ross, mentioned seeing a Santa Land outside of Dallas.” Chancy said. “Now, I do it for the kids. I’m not going to stop until my age stops.”
Heath Ross, Chancy’s grandson, said Santa Land continues to grow every year.
Chancy also plays Santa Claus in the Kingsgate Shopping Center in southwest Lubbock.
“They call me when they want me to go walk around the shops and hand out candy canes,” Chancy said. “I once had a mother pay me over $200 for talking to her kids and her friend’s kids for a few minutes.”
When he’s not dressed up in a red suit with shiny black boots, Chancy changes oil in Tahoka.
When he was a senior in high school, his father paid for the station and left it to Chancy to keep it up and running. He said he ran inspection checks, changed oil, and checked tires for 60 years before he closed his station. After closing down, he said, he kept the grease bins to change oil on the side for extra money.
“It’s been hard lately because cars come with free oil changes now,” Chancy said. “But, I started changing oil after I closed my station.”
Santa’s Land DriveThru Park is free to enjoy but donations are accepted.
“People are always really generous, so we never have had to think about charging people for admission,” Ross said. “We will always have money left over, which we use to buy more lights or extension cords. But, majority of our decorations are all donations, too.”
Santa’s Land is open for December until the end of the year. Since the dates and times of operation vary, Chancy encourages people interested in visiting to look at the Facebook page of Santa’s Land DriveThru.
Contributed to The Hub by Jour 3312