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Volunteers named: Choate to lead CCPA, Craig chairman of Nine Man Board


The Clay County Pioneer Association named officers for next year’s Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo, while the Nine Man Board has elected a new chairman.

Lindy Choate of Byers will serve as CCPA President for the 84th Pioneer Reunion, to be held Sept. 17, 18 and 19, 2015. Choate is joined by honorary vice presidents Doyle Davis and Dorothy Simpson of Henrietta, Sybil Fuller of Buffalo Springs and Murray Don Dawson of Byers. First vice president is Carla Sue Pullen of Bellevue, second vice president is Linda Bevering of Charlie and secretary of the CCPA is Judy Davidson of the Neville community.

The CCPA announced the Pioneer Awards during the annual meeting on the courthouse lawn Saturday, Sept. 20.

Oldest Native Son in attendance was Graham Wilson, born in 1924. The Oldest Native Daughter award went to Jean Burris, born in 1921. The award for the couple wed longest went to Jim and Margaret Leath, married for 68 years. Nathalie Akin Bartle of Philadelphia, Pa., won the award for farthest traveled, making the 1,541 mile trip for Pioneer Reunion.

On Friday and Saturday of the 83rd Pioneer Reunion, 813 former and current residents of Clay County registered as Pioneers and 655 enjoyed the free barbecue meal put on each year by the Jim Klein family and helpers. To register as a Pioneer, a person must be 60 years old and born in Clay County or lived here for 30 or more years.

In a vote held Monday, Sept. 22, the Nine Man Board elected Weldon Craig of Byers to serve as chairman. Craig replaces Michael Sanderson of Henrietta. Bob Wuthrich of Fairview will serve as vice chairman of the board and Scott Graham of Secret Springs will serve as arena director.

Nine Man Board members entering the second year of their three-year term are Coye Cody of Cambridge, Mitchell Brown of Dick Worsham and Keith Henry of Dean. Serving new terms are Chuck Dunn of Pecan Grove, Steve Powell of Joy and Caleb Johnson of Ikard.

In preparation for the 83rd reunion, the Nine Man Board embarked on a two-year lighting project at Tex Rickard Arena.

With help of a grant from the Bryant Edwards Foundation, new and brighter lights were installed at the arena. In the months leading up to next year’s rodeo, the Nine Man Board will update the arena’s electrical wiring.

Pioneer Hall also saw improvements with a new stage and roof coating, while a new bar was constructed in the Bryant Edwards Building.

The Clay County Pioneer Association accepted two donations now hanging in the Bryant Edwards building. A large steer head that was originally in the First National Bank of Byers was donated in honor of J.H. “Goat” Mayo and Joe Parker, Sr., and their contributions to the CCPA by Joe Parker, Jr. An original Henry Elder hand-tinted photo of Hereford cattle taken on the Bryant Edwards Ranch.

During the annual Pioneer Reunion Kickoff Luncheon hosted by the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce,  the numerous volunteers who make each Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo a success were introduced:

  • Nine Man Board Secretary B.J. Dunn and assistants Dorothy Kucharski and Marsha Shoemaker
  • Rental calendar and key holder Leigh Obermier
  • Welcome Committee Chairman Jim Klein and helpers Mary Sue Klein, Josh and Jana Beth Johnson and Jennifer Burrows
  • Pioneer Registration Chairperson Diane Wines
  • Pioneer Queen’s Float Builders Don Davis, George Davis, Michael Russell and driver J.R. Lavy
  • Publicity — Mike Campbell, Matt Kelton and Payton McCormick
  • Empty Saddles — Kay Hutchison
  • Clay County Art Association Show — C.H. Dowdy, LaWanda Jackson and Linda Zachry
  • CCPA Awards and Presentation — Murl Nelms, Diane Wines and Judy Davidson
  • Frog and Terrapin Races — Kyra Roberson
  • Power in Praise Service — Howard Walker, Brandon and B.J. Dunn
  • Museum — Liz Kesler and Clay County Historical Association volunteers
  • Parade Marshall Billy Carlton and assistants Sheila Carlton, Susan Vicars, Dustin Carlton, David and Wendy Sizemore and Nancy McClain
  • Parade Announcers Rayford Pullen and Mike Campbell with assistants B.J. Dunn, Dorothy Kucharski, Marsha Shoemaker and Amy Ellis
  • Parade Theme Committee — Chairperson June Griffin, Chris Scheer, Jennifer Scott, Carla Sue Pullen, Barabra Mayo, Amy Hellinger and Staci Tucker
  • Parade Partners — June Trent and Sandy Crawford
  • Float Judges — K.J. Davidson and Judy Morris
  • Parade Entries — Sherri Halsell and Jerri Skelton
  • Parade Cars — Robert Forrester, Four Stars Auto Ranch
  • Vintage Cars — Chairman Mark Echols
  • Rodeo Announcer — Eddy Atkins
  • Rodeo Concessions — Joe Bill Brock and the Henrietta Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and the Petrolia Band Boosters
  • Ticket Sellers — Chairman Roger Towery, Chief Assistants Jim Humphrey and Larry Crowley
  • Ticket Takers — Chairman John Catron
  • Security — Sheriff Kenny Lemons
  • Grand Entry Pivots — Clay County Volunteers, Chairman Sonny Seward
  • Dummy Roping — Lee and Lori Moss
  • Play Day — Managers Brandon and B.J. Dunn
  • FFA Calf Scramble — Chairman Carroll Vicars and Doug Vicars
  • Dances — Marvin Bigbie
  • Rodeo Queen Contestant Coordinators Carla Sue Pullen, Deana Roberts and Kellye Jarosz with help from Stefanie Clayton and employees of Fidelity Bank.

About Author

Matt Kelton began working for community newspapers at 19 and has since won numerous awards. He founded The Pioneer Sentinel in 2011 with the belief that a locally owned news source best represents a community. Matt is a fifth generation resident of Clay County.

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