Four decades, three reservoirs, countless gigs
Davy Moore joined the Brazos River Authority in 1974 at 19.
He was right out of high school. Now with five grandchildren, the Lake Limestone reservoir manager and lake ranger has worked for the BRA for almost 45 years -- and at each of the reservoirs.
And during all that time, Moore managed to follow his musical interests, performing with bands at different venues, whether it’s on a guitar or lending his vocals – with his wife - to a praise band.
While positions with other companies tempted him on occasion, he always returned to the BRA.
“I’ve been working outside since I was 19 years old,” Moore said. “It’s always been great.”
Moore took a Lake Ranger job at Lake Granbury four years before the opening of Lake Limestone's Sterling C. Robertson Dam. At the time, Lake Rangers weren’t required to have a peace officers license when hired, but needed to acquire it during the first year of employment, he said. The class at the time was 240 hours, compared to today’s six-month course, he said. Moore said it always amazed him he could receive a peace officers license at that age, but he couldn’t join the Granbury Volunteer Fire Department until he was 21.
Moore said he spent a few years at Lake Granbury before he decided to try his hand in the oil field in Beaumont. The gig wasn’t up his alley, and by 1980 he landed at Possum Kingdom Lake as a Lake Ranger also in charge of inspections for the on-site sewage facilities.
“I’ve never gotten away from that. I’m still a certified inspector,” Moore said. ”I rarely do an inspection anymore, but I am involved in it.”
Moore moved over to Lake Limestone a year later as a Lake Ranger and assistant project supervisor. His volunteer fire department work came in handy when he was asked - along with then-reservoir manager Dwight Mahoney - to help establish one locally. Moore said Mahoney served as fire chief while he was assistant chief of the Seale-Round Prairie Volunteer Fire Department after helping found the group. He said they agreed to the leadership positions as long as it was temporary, as they just wanted to volunteer to help get the department off the ground. However, he still continues to volunteer.
Moore said he already had a good working relationship with Mahoney, who was the one to originally hire him at Lake Granbury.
Moore completed his associate degree at 35 as he looked at other professional opportunities. He took classes at night while working full time. But he quickly realized an office job wasn’t for him and he enjoyed life on the lake.
When Mahoney announced his retirement, Moore was appointed as the interim reservoir manager in the fall of 2010. He was hired to the position full-time Dec. 1, 2010.
“This was a position I’d always wanted,” he said. “It’s been very interesting since then.”
Moore said he’s always enjoyed Lake Limestone the most as life is a little slower around the area than the other two reservoirs. He said they are just as busy at Lake Limestone; it’s just a different kind of busy.
“Possum Kingdom Lake is a bit of a wild place as far as visitors,” Moore said.
The BRA office at Lake Limestone is also smaller. With 11 employees, including Moore, he said they are a tight-knit community. Everyone gets a cake on their birthday, and the gang sings “Happy Birthday,” whether they want it or not, Moore said, with a laugh. Moore said he expects the office to expand by the end of the year with the addition of a new Lake Ranger, bringing the total from two to three. Moore said he still holds his peace officer’s license, but he mainly operates as a Lake Ranger if a boat needs a pull back to shore and the other two are busy.
When he’s not in the office or on the reservoir, he’s fiddling with one of his guitars.
Moore was 9 when he performed on stage for the first time.
“I still play at community centers,” he said. “I grew up with that and I still like playing there.”
His father had taught him to play by ear, memory and muscle memory versus reading music. Currently performing in shows twice a month, Moore said he enjoys playing 70’s rock and the occasional new songs. He said he plays with a group that enjoys doing shows at restaurants.
His two boys grew up in the area, and now both live a mile down the road on 10 acres of land. His youngest, like his father, learned to play the guitar from his father.
Moore said he worked the sound system for his son’s punk band a couple of times. The music was a bit different from what he was used too, Moore said.
“They don’t dance right,” he said, with a laugh. “That was the thing that amazed me most.”
Ultimately, music is art. And he enjoys all types of music.
“When you play it and you’re a part of it, it’s like you become part of it. Especially on stage with full sound,” Moore said. “You get lost in a song. It doesn’t matter what the audience thinks. It’s for you. You’re not doing it for them. There’s certain narcissism that drives you to perform on stage. Even though you might be nervous to perform, you want to share what you do. But it’s not about that ultimately. It’s about personal enjoyment. You become part of the song. When you go see a show, you don’t want to watch. You want to be part of it. Especially if it’s sounding really good. It’s quite a feeling. You get to put your personal touch to it. It’s just nice.”
For Moore, Lake Limestone is home.
Moore, a member of Masonic Lodge and the Groesbeck Lions Club, said he’s also performed in orchestras for the local theater.
“It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” Moore said. “It was challenging but I loved it.”
The shows included Shrek, Annie and one called Ghosts, in which his wife performed.
“Whenever they asked me to do ‘Mary Poppins’ I said, ‘No,’” he said. “When you do that rehearsal, it’s every day for six to eight weeks and those songs get stuck in your head. I would not have Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious stuck in my head for that long.”
It won’t be long now before music becomes Moore’s only career, as he heads toward retirement. In a few years, he said, he’ll be able to dedicate more time to playing music. Moore said he also looks forward to having more time to do home improvement projects.
“I want to be more relaxed, so I can do other projects,” he said. “I look forward to that.”
This article is part of a series of profiles on Brazos River Authority employees.
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