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Hometown Pride Tour: Celebrating Pioneers in Clay County

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:31 PM CDT
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HENRIETTA, Texas (KAUZ) - Our Hometown Pride Tour of Henrietta continues this week and we’re taking a look at how the Clay County Pioneer Reunion really shows off how the past has shaped what Henrietta is today.

“I love coming to town and seeing everybody that I know,” said June Griffin.

Griffin, who has lived in Clay County for the past 75 years, along with over 100 others, are recognized as official pioneers of Clay County.

“Some people have watermelon festivals and we have Pioneer Reunion that honors our pioneers and where we came from and our heritage and I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Griffin.

The Clay County Pioneer Reunion is put on by a nine man board with help from the city of Henrietta. It first started after a couple of cowboys rode their horses through the city 90 years ago.

“They were bragging about who had the best horses on a Saturday afternoon and had a miniature rodeo,” said Billy Carlton, president of the Henrietta Chamber of Commerce. “There may be fifth, sixth, seventh generations sitting in this room this afternoon where their families started this.”

It’s one of the county’s largest events that celebrates life and history through parades and rodeos.

“We bring people in from all over north Texas and southern Oklahoma that love to come down here and spend the day with us. A lot of the folks eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores,” said Carlton.

No matter where you come from or how old you might be, everyone plays a special role.

“I am the parade marshal, my wife and I, our team has been doing the parades now for 18 years,” said Carlton.

And two rodeo queens will be competing for titles and crowns.

“There is truly nothing like Clay County and Clay County pride,” said Grace Minter, Senior Rodeo Queen for Clay County. “We spent the day going to every school in the county talking about Pioneer Reunion.”

“I can remember as a child getting excited and now as I’m old, I’m excited again,” said Griffin.

The Clay County Pioneer Reunion is a week long celebration that kicked off on Monday, while the highly anticipated float parade and rodeo will all be happening this weekend starting on Friday.

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