The Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce recognized more than 70 officials and workers who play key roles in producing the annual Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo with a kick off luncheon Monday at the Holman Center in Henrietta.
Joe Davidson of Byers served as master of ceremonies and, as always, Nat Fleming made the closing statements.
Fleming praised the Nine Man Board, working arm of the Clay County Pioneer Association.
“I had the opportunity to work with the first Nine Man Board, and it was a great group of men,” said Fleming. “If we were to read the minutes of that original Nine Man Board from that original meeting until today, we would be just as proud of this Nine Man Board as I was of that one. It’s a well-oiled organization. No matter where you go, the Clay County Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo is the greatest thing in the world.”
Josey Cleveland, 2012 Pioneer Reunion Rodeo Queen served as guest speaker. The senior at Henrietta High School represented Clay County at 15 rodeos, eight parades and as a volunteer for many functions.
Josey’s first event as the reigning rodeo queen was a Veterans’ Day parade in Wichita Falls.
“That was a great way to kick it off. From the time I pulled up, to the time I left, I had several people, both children and adults come up and ask me what I was doing, who I was and, of course, if they could pet my horse,” said Josey. “It really never occurred to me that as many people as there are, not all of them know horses and get to be associated with them.”
Josey said that a large group of sailors wanted photos with the horse, and she was able to thank, meet and greet many veterans.
“Because of what they did and do, we have our freedom now. And, without our freedom, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy rodeo and have such a rich heritage. It really opened my eyes and made me thankful for what I am doing, and made me want to represent even better. That day is when I decided that I wanted to represent as best as I could and go to as many places as I possibly could.”
Volunteers recognized are as follows:
Welcome Committee: Jim Klein, Josh and Jana Beth Johnson, Jennifer Burrows and Mary Sue Klein.
Pioneer Registration: Chairperson Diane Wines.
Queen and Duchess Committee: Carla Sue Pullen, Linda Bevering, Judy Davidson, Marcia Miller, Kandace Phillips, Jerri Skelton, Deanna Choate and Wanda Nelms.
Queen and Duchess Reception: Chairperson Kellye Jerosz.
Queen’s Float: Doyle Davis, George Davis, Don Davis, Michael Russell and J.R. Lavy.
Publicity: Matt Kelton, Mike Chacanaca and Mike Campbell .
Empty Saddles: Kay Hutchison.
Art Show: Clay County Art Association – C.H. Dowdy, Lawanda Jackson and Linda Zachry.
Pioneer Awards: Merle Nelms, Diane Wines and Judy Davidson.
Frog and Terrapin Races: Pam Roberson.
Praise and Worship Service: Howard Walker, Brandon Dunn and B.J. Dunn.
Museum Tours: Chairperson Liz Kesler and members of the Clay County Historical Society.
Parade: Marshal Billy Carlton with assistants Sheila Carlton, Susan Vicars, Dustin Carlton, David Sizemore, Wendy Sizemore and Nancy McClain.
Parade Announcers: Rayford Pullen and Mike Campbell with assistants Cinda Seabourn, B.J. Dunn, Marsha Shoemaker and Dorothy Kucharski.
Parade Theme Committee: Chairperson June Griffin, Chris Scheer, Carla Sue Pullen, Barbara Mayo and Amy Hellinger.
Float Judges: Chairperson K.J. Davidson.
Parade entries: Sherri Halsell and Jerri Skelton.
Parade Car Provider: Robert Forrester and Four Stars Auto Ranch.
Classic Cars: Mark Echols.
Arena Announcer: Eddy Atkins.
Rodeo Concessions: The Henrietta Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, led by Joe Bill Brock, and the Petrolia Band Boosters.
Rodeo Ticket Sales: Chairman Roger Towery, with help from Jim Humphrey, Lee Humphrey and Larry Crowley.
Grand Entry Pivots: The Clay County Volunteers, led by Benton Easter.
Dummy Roping Contest: Lee Moss and Lori Moss.
Youth Play Day: Brandon Dunn and B.J. Dunn.
FFA Calf Scramble: Carroll Vicars.
Rodeo Dance Ticket Sales: Marvin Bigbie.
Rodeo Queen Contest: Carla Sue Pullen, Deanna Roberts, Stephanie Clayton, Kellye Jerosz and employees of the First National Bank of Byers, Henrietta Branch.