Wes’s passion and hands-on experience with several excavations have allowed him to glean a lot of knowledge in the science of paleontology. There are dozens of professionals in this field that he has been blessed to work along-side of the past several years. Hence, he is considered an amateur paleontologist. Wes states it all started with the following:
My passion for dinosaurs started when I was a small child. My repeated dream as a child was of a dinosaur (T-Rex) chasing me under my grandparent’s house. I, of course, being a brave young man, looked to see what it was. “It” was about twenty feet tall! I could hear the sounds it made! The huffing and breathing was soooo loud as well as the groaning noises “It” made. I am sure the sounds were amplified by my fear of coming eye to eye with “It”! Once I sized “It” up, I took a deep breath. I then heard the thundering sounds of “it’s” footsteps bringing an adrenaline rush that scooted me to the other end of the house as fast as I could go!
I remember being in awe of the powerful thighs, calves and the claws on his big feet. The feet left slight indentations on the ground where he had stood. When I saw his torso, it took me only a second to realize that “It” was something that I had never seen before, and I wanted to check “It” out more! “It” bumped the house a few times. Thankfully, no obvious damage was done because I wasn’t sure how I would explain this to my grandparents or that they would even believe me!
This dream caused a great fascination with these creatures. I found myself drawing cretaceous plants, trees and landscapes with dinosaurs throughout my childhood. This fascination has grown into a love and great respect for dinosaurs.
In December of 2013, Wes finally surrendered to his love of working with rocks and fossils and officially retired from his life work of insulating homes. He now is at the shop Tuesday through Saturday.
His love of dinosaurs and rocks lead him to buy a rock shop in the spring of 2011. Wes attended Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology and was certified in Lapidary Arts, Faceting, and Casting.
A few years ago, Wes found the first known dinosaur tracks in Hopkins County. They are located in Coleman Park.
Hampton House Jewelry & Rock Shop is the location of Wes’s “Scientific Workshop”, a.k.a., his sit-and-play area. He is there most days. If you get a chance to stop by, he may just share his latest find(s) with you or help you discover what your latest find is. Go ahead. Bring that old rock that you don’t know what it is! He will do his best to help you figure out a proper and fitting name for it. You may want to call first to verify that he is in, or you may just schedule a time to meet with him.