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The Old Spanish Trailriders hit the road to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

Whether you are reminiscing a Tex Ritter tune, the old railroad depot, one of the three movie theaters that played on Saturdays back in the good ole’ days or the Old Spanish Trail Ride one would think you were bringin’ up things from days gone by in Timpson. But that isn’t the case with the Old Spanish Trail Ride. What began “back in the day” still comes right into Timpson every year, and has since 1955.

It began as a group of 19 men from Joaquin and Center that set out on horseback to see if they could make the 250 mile journey to Houston, Texas and it has become quite the tradition.

The Old Spanish Trail Ride left Logansport, Louisiana this week on their 61st annual ride headed for the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo. On Saturday, February 20, 2016 Timpson Area Chamber of Commerce President, Paul Smith and his wife Debra, met them as they entered Timpson travelling on US Hwy 59. They took pictures and videoed the riders as they turned onto Bear Drive making their way to SoSo Park to camp for the evening, also an annual tradition. It is apparent that the riders range in age and number of times on the trail, as well as stamina; some will only ride part of the trip on horseback and the die hard ones, like those first 19, will make the entire journey. 

Saturday morning the riders crossed the new bridge leaving Logansport, Louisiana and headed out for Timpson, TX. They entered T-Town at around 5pm to make camp for the first night. About 70 people, approximately 30 horses, a large number of pickups and trailers, a chuck wagon, a broadcasting van and the water caboose with a warning sign to highway traffic made their way into SoSo Park.

Paul and Debra had the opportunity to visit with Trail Boss, Morris Brown, from Joaquin Texas. His father Hugh Brown, along with Ed Hooper from Timpson, was one of the original 19 riders. Morris Brown was Joaquin’s 2015 nominee for Cowboy of the Year and visiting with him, it was easy to see why. Next they stopped in with Barbara Cook and Jerry Green of Timpson. Both have ridden with the Trail Ride for 9 years. Barbara introduced them to some of the riders from out-of-state; her daughter, Lori Cook-Folger  from North Carolina and her great granddaughter on her 3rd ride, Kierra, from Augusta, Kansas. Jerry Green had two sons riding this year.  Rowdy Green, a native of Timpson, has ridden with the group for 5 years and Shane, from Atlanta, Georgia has joined them on 4 of the rides. The journey may take place in Texas but the riders literally come from all over. Debra spoke to Brandon and Nicci Cooper, newlyweds, from Center, Texas, about the trip. Nicci said “it is my first time to make the whole ride, and that before I only rode in a section” which she learned was what many of the riders do along the way. Some will join in for a day or two and then either trailer it on to Houston or remain back at home until next year. Brandon Cooper was riding with the group for his 3rd year. Debra would like to add if they can make a 250 mile journey together on horseback after just 8 months of marriage she’s betting they’ll have many memories together to discuss when they are an “old married couple” on the Trail Ride.

As they walked around the park visiting with the riders and looking at all the horses and their rigged out trailers each of them couldn’t help noticing the enticing smells coming from one of the most important trailers accompanying the riders – The Cook Wagon. Kim Brenton, from Joaquin, was hard at work preparing the evening meal for about 70. Their menu was pork cutlets, creamed potatoes and gravy (of course), english peas, fruit cocktail and homemade cake furnished by Barbara Cook. Kim has taken up the cooking chores following in her father, Buck Foreman’s footsteps. Buck was at the park, but being a bit under the weather, wasn’t up to the task of cooking this year. Buck has been cooking or managing the cooking for the riders since 1957. During the trip the cook prepares two hot meals each day for those on the trail. Ms. Barbara explained, at lunch they eat sandwiches but Sunday morning Kim would be up at 5am getting pancakes and sausage ready so that everyone could hit the trail by 7am Sunday morning heading for Nacogdoches where they would make their next overnight stay. The Old Spanish Trail Riders are mentioned on page 121 of the Timpson Area Genealogical and Heritage Society’s book Images of America AROUND TIMPSON.  East Texas Press hopes that the Old Spanish Trail Riders continues to make memories and history on their journey through Timpson, TX for many years to come.