In 1980, at the height of the Urban Cowboy craze, the idea for Billy Bob’s Texas was born. Billy Bob Barnett and Spencer Taylor plotted what to do with a 100,000-square-foot department store that was closed and for sale. Barnett knew that the authenticity of the Stockyards and the size of the space would lend itself well to a nightclub. They hired a crew of 80 and set to work. Billy Bob was hesitant to make a commitment about when the club would open. He set the date for April 1, 1981. A fallback plan, if everything fell through, would be “April Fools!”
Originally, the idea was to capitalize on the popularity of local musician Jerry Max Lane by naming the club “Jerry Max’s Texas,” but when legal barriers of licensing that name began to surface, Billy Bob added his own namesake to the club and “Billy Bob’s Texas” was born.