It was back in 1974 when a couple of gals — blonde Patti Williams (who eventually became Patti Hunt) and brunette Jacque Wynne — got together to create a fundraiser to fight cancer: the Cattle Baron’s Ball. They were young and probably didn’t have a clue that absolutely nobody in their right mind would have any type of North Texas fundraiser outdoors in June. But, shoot! Like we said — they were young and knew no barriers. They just knew that to beat cancer took money.
Patti and Jacque arranged to hold the event at the legendary Wynne family’s Star Brand Ranch for a crowd that by today’s standards could hardly fill a decent patio. But the crowd came together with barbecue, beer and a local band (the Glen Ash Band).
Even the typical summer heat seemed user-friendly, and it turned out to be ideal for summer frocks and gents easing back in cotton shirts, blue jeans and cowboy boots. It was a different fundraiser for the locals, who had only known pretty stiff-collared get-togethers.
Just as the band was ramping up, one of the guests hopped up on stage and joined the musicians, creating a magical occasion with folks taking to the dance floor.
Oh, who was the guest joining the band adding a special magic to the evening? None other than Charley Pride, who knew just the ingredients to make the night a real memory-maker resulting in decades of Cattle Baron’s Balls to come.
Fast foreword: Just a month ago, 86-year-old Charley received the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Today Charley is once again hopping up on stage, bringing a lustre to all those country-western angels. He is also a reminder that COVID-19 is a killer of good people.
As Dolly Parton put it, “I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you.”
Our condolences to his wife of 64 years, Rozene Cohran Pride, their three children, family and friends. Thank you for sharing Charley with us for decades.