By Audra Arendall, TCR Publicity Chairperson
The Texas Cowboy Reunion parade theme for this year is, "Back in the Saddle, Again."
J.W. Golden, TCR parade chairperson, said the parade is the perfect family friendly event. He went on to say the theme will complete it with historical details along with floats from the early days of the rodeo. “The whole goal is to commemorate our history of the TCR,” he said. “And remember our western heritage and the past.”
As the old Gene Autry song goes, "I'm back in the saddle again, Out where a friend is a friend, Where the longhorn cattle feed, On the lowly gypsum weed, Back in the saddle again. Ridin' the range once more Totin' my old .44, Where you sleep out every night And the only law is right, Back in the saddle again. Whoopi-ty-aye-oh, Rockin' to and fro, Back in the saddle again, Whoopi-ty-aye-yay, I go my way, Back in the saddle again."
"The parade is one of the many things that makes the TCR special," Golden said. “I think anyone that comes out will be entertained and it's a great way to kick-off the four days of rodeo fun,” he said.
The parade will begin at 4 p.m., July 2nd and travel around the same route as it has in the past — with this year’s Grand Marshal, Artist Wayne Baize, in the lead.
Born in Stamford, Texas, Wayne Baize is among America's most distinctive western artists. Baize focuses primarily on the realities of contemporary ranch life. He grew up in Tuxedo, the son of a stock farmer who enjoyed plowing with mules but didn’t like working the land so much after tractors came in. Baize has shown an interest in art since his school days in Hamlin, Texas. His first private art teacher was Sarah McDonald, a friend of Frank Tenney Johnson. Today old classmates claim they still have sketches that he did back then. Eventually the Baize family sold their land and moved to a stock farm south of Abilene near Potosi, where Baize took art lessons from Gene Swinson, a humble local art teacher who lived in Baird.
"I am so honored to be chosen as this year's parade marshal," said Baize, "As far back as I can remember we would spend 3 or 4 days in Stamford for the Rodeo. We would go to everything, from slack roping to the rodeo each night." He went on to say that his brothers, Paige and Arlon have both roped at the TCR.
After high school graduation, Baize began developing his own cowboy and horsemanship skills. Though he helped his oldest brother with farming and cowboy work on the weekends and worked in a feed store and lumberyard, but he had always envisioned a future working the land. Later the family moved to Baird, where Baize and his brother Arlon began raising horses from the Doc Bar bloodline. But then in the mid-sixties he caught a break. Gary Luskey allowed him to set up a drawing table at Luskey’s Western Store in Abilene where he began to make a name for himself by working on portraits of people and horses. He did a portrait of a cutting horse that ran on the cover of the American Quarter Horse Journal and a drawing of a Santa Gertrudis bull that graced the cover of The Cattleman. Illustrations for Western Horseman followed.
A chance encounter a few years later with the esteemed Western artist Tom Ryan, at a stock show in Fort Worth, was a turning point. Baize, with encouragement from his brother, walked up to Ryan and introduced himself. Ryan invited him to bring some of his work to Lubbock sometime. Baize took him up on the offer and made a lifelong friend. It was Tom Ryan who invited Baize back to Stamford in 1974, to be part of the First Stamford Art Foundation Exhibit and Sale. At only 30 years old he had already made quite a name for himself. He continued to be part of the exhibit for about five years until he moved to his current home in Fort Davis.
In the early seventies, Baize began making trips out to the Davis Mountains near Fort Davis, Texas, where he gathered material for his drawings by taking photographs on the 06 Ranch and other ranches throughout the area. He decided to buy some property from Mr. Largent and in the process met his future wife, Mr. Largent’s daughter, Ellen. The Largent family raised registered Hereford cattle and Wayne decided to start his own herd. He prefers to paint Hereford cattle because more expression is visible on their white faces. He often includes his own cattle in his paintings.
His pencil drawings, both color and black and white, pictured the contemporary cowboy and his current lifestyle. In the late eighties, Baize shifted his focus away from the mixed media and pencil drawings, of which he had become so accustomed, and took the huge step of putting his main efforts into oil paintings. The transition was encouraged by the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America. With the critics of Cowboy Artist, Tom Ryan, and diligent hard work, Wayne made a relatively rapid transition into the world of oil paintings.
Although cattle are included in the majority of his paintings, Wayne’s favorite subjects are his horses. He is especially talented when portraying a horse and is known for his ability to accurately portray their muscling and structure. His four children, Elizabeth, William, Jonathan, and Charles each have their own quarter horses which they care for and train. The children and their horses are also often seen in Wayne’s paintings.
In 1995 he was invited to become a member of the Cowboy Artists of America. Wayne’s studio is graced by art awards he has received from around the country through the years.
Baize’s paintings and drawings have graced the covers of several horse and cattle magazines including The Quarter Horse Journal, Western Horseman, and the Texas Hereford.
Baize’s work can be viewed at this year's Stamford Art Foundation Exhibit and Sale July 2-5 at the John Selmon Memorial Gallery inside the Pavilion Building. Ticket entry to the Art Exhibit can be purchased at the door, July 2-5. (The 41st Annual Preview Party will be Tuesday, July 1, at 6:30 pm. Tickets for the Preview Party can be purchased by calling 325-773-2255 or 325-669-7587.)
For parade entry information, contact J.W. Golden at 325-773-3591 or stop in and see him at Service Barber Shop, 107 W. McHarg St, Stamford. There is no charge to enter the parade and money prizes will be given to the top entries in each division and riding clubs will receive trophies.