Mo Betta owner details years working in Apache

Mo Betta owner details years working in Apache

APACHE, OK (KSWO) - The owner of a huge name in the western wear world is looking back fondly on his time working out of a now collapsed building in Apache.

Mo Betta, the company that makes country western shirts, was housed in a building in downtown Apache from 1989 to 2001.

Residents told us the roof caved in years ago, causing the remaining structure to weaken before it fell down Tuesday afternoon.

The building was built in the early 1900s but when Mo Betta began working out of it, it brought lots of attention to the small town of Apache.

Countless country music and rodeo celebrities took a liking to the shirts and made stops in Apache to check out the store whenever they could. Stars like Barry Switzer and Tracy Lawrence made stops back in the 90s, but the biggest superstar who still wears the Mo Betta shirts to this day is Garth Brooks.

"Anytime you would see Garth Brooks on any NBC special or tv show he did he always had on a Mo Betta shirt," said Mo Betta owner Maury Tate. "That was always a cool feeling. His album covers, and that was really neat."

After more than 10 years of working out of the building located in the heart of Apache, Tate said it was difficult to see it in the state it's in now.

"I saw it and I had to take a double look. It was sad. I mean, we had a lot of great times in that building right there," Tate said.

Tate said the idea to create Mo Betta started in 1987 when he was competing in rodeos.

"I was rodeoing and got tired of seeing that everyone had on the same shirts. I had a friend of mines mom make me some shirts and everywhere I went I was selling them off my back and decided to open a store," Tate said.

Tate said the business started out of his mom's beauty shop in downtown Apache with just one rack of shirts. Tate said they quickly realized the shirts were taking off so they moved into a second building right across the street.

"You get to thinking back and there were times there'd be tour buses parked right here on main street or limousines and as soon as something like that happened in town, everyone in town was running to the store to see who was there," Tate said.

Big names like Garth Brooks obviously stood out as one of Mo Betta's visitors, which Tate says he loved. But he said some of his favorite customers were those he was competing against in rodeos.

"All the guys that were the top guys in the world were my friends and I was competing against, they were wearing my shirts. I always thought that was really cool," Tate said. "One year at the NFR we had all 15 calf ropers wearing Mo Betta shirts. In fact, we are the reason wrangler started paying cowboys to be their endorsees and wear their shirts. That's because we were getting such a big cut of the pie and they realized how important the cowboy was to the western market."

Mo Betta is still in operation, making shirts for celebrities like Garth Brooks, but Tate said they don't have near the resources to keep up with the demand that comes in. As for the building, the damage is too much to restore so the city of Apache plans to demolish it.

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