By: Linda Lane – Bloise
The Texas Cowboy Reunion Rodeo July 1 - 4, 2015 is a much anticipated event, again this year, as it has always been, beginning with the Grand Parade on Wednesday, July 1st at 4:00 p.m. The Rodeo Parade sets the tone and increases the excitement for the many other activities that are all a part of the Texas Cowboy Reunion.
One of Stamford’s most admired couples, Ray and Ann Kinney, were asked to serve this year as Grand Marshals of the 85th Texas Cowboy Reunion Parade. Ann remarked that she and Ray were very surprised and happy when asked to serve as Parade Grand Marshals, saying, “This is an honor that we never expected and we are overwhelmed with pride and joy to be chosen.”
Ray Kinney grew up in Stamford, so quite naturally the TCR has always been a special part of his life. “I looked forward to my father and mother, O.A. and Flora Kinney, taking me to the parade and rodeo as a small child,” Ray said.
TCU Sweethearts, Ray and Ann married in 1959 and moved to Stamford; Ray joined his dad in the Kinney Furniture business.
Both Ray and Ann have been involved with the many activities of the TCR since moving here years ago. Ray has been a Director since 1973 and is also Vice President/Treasurer. In 1969, Ann was chosen Hostess for the 39th Texas Cowboy Reunion. She was also elected Chairman of the TCR Ex-Hostess Organization in 1984 and served as the Chairman until May 2014 - for 30 years!
Many changes have been made to enhance the celebration of the TCR, since Ray Kinney has been a Director. He was on the founding committee of the Stamford Art Foundation and the first Treasurer. The Art Foundation has a Western Art Show on the Rodeo grounds, in conjunction with the TCR, at the John Selmon Memorial Gallery. Many artists attend the show each year and display their fine art for all to view and purchase; this year marks their 42nd show. Ann was President of the Art Foundation for 7 years and continues to serve as Director.
Since Ray has been a Director of TCR, box seats have been added to the east side of the arena and at approximately that same time a large cement slab was poured, where Rodeo Dances, with notable western bands, are held each night of the Rodeo. The Trade Show at the Rodeo Pavilion has also been added during Ray’s tenure as Director; the Pavilion is a huge attraction that draws vendors with attractive and unique items to sell. The Cowboy Poetry Symposium and the Old Timers Fiddler’s Contest remain popular, and there are many new exciting events featured at the Rodeo Performances.
The Cowboy Reunion has always been a family tradition for the Kinney Family; Ray and Ann took their young children, Susan and the late Andy, to the Parade and Rodeo each year. Some years Susan and Andy rode in the parade on bicycles, horses, golf carts, and marched with the Stamford High School Band. Now Susan, son-in-law Buck, and their children Bobby and Katie, who live in Dallas, come each year bringing friends. Ann added that, “This year granddaughter Kaylee and daughter- in-law Kimla of Knox City will be here for the celebration.” Ann continued, “It is boot to boot togetherness at the Kinney home. The more the merrier.”
Ray remarked that “The Texas Cowboy Reunion brings the whole community together sharing many responsibilities to have a successful Rodeo.” The Texas Cowboy Reunion is the highlight of the year and this year the Kinneys, who as Parade Grand Marshals, will ride in the Parade lead car, look forward to the excitement of the 85th Texas Cowboy Reunion.
In addition to their involvement with TCR, this exemplary Stamford couple, has served their community in many ways over the years, and have worked for the betterment of their community, in many capacities.
They are both members of St. John’s Methodist Church. Ray is a past president of the Rotary Club and has served on the Stamford City Council. Ann continues to volunteer as a Pink Lady. She is also a current member and a past president of the Stamford Music Club. She has also served as chairwoman of the Cowboy Country Museum and volunteered for Meals on Wheels for many years.
The Texas Cowboy Reunion parade theme for this year is, "85 Years of Saddling Up." 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. For a complete schedule of rodeo activities please visit www.tcrrodeo.com.