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Local RCA world champ honors memory of fellow cowboys

Special to the Courier

It's been a few years since 1956 Rodeo Cowboys Association World Champion Calf Roper Ray Wharton of Bandera has tossed a lariat, but he hasn't forgotten those days - and the great men he had the privilege of competing with in the rodeo arena.

In the memory of those men, Wharton recently made a generous donation to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The donation not only honored his competitors, but also those with whom he served in a leadership capacity as the RCA's Calf Roping Representative from 1957 to 1959.

Personnel with the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund recently thanked Wharton for his contributions both as a former rodeo leader and for assisting current injured rodeo athletes with living expenses while recovering from injuries.

Formed in 1989, the 501(c)3 nonprofit Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund (JCCF) offers a "hand up" to cowboys and cowgirls who are injured while participating in professional rodeo.

Eligible applicants receive assistance with monthly living expenses while they are unable to compete. Unique among today's charitable organizations, the JCCF dedicates 100 percent of all contributions for disbursement to injured rodeo athletes and their families. This is made possible by the joint commitment of the Justin Boot Company and the PRCA, which underwrite all administrative costs associated with managing the JCCF.

Wharton would like the families of these great local cowboys - as well as others from across the United States - to know that he honored them with this donation: Benny Adamietz, Bill Mansfield, Billie Burns, Bo Chesson, Bob Mansfield, Bruce Montague, Buck Teich, Charlie Montague, Clay Billings, Curly Thompson, Felix Billings, Howard Billings, Joe Walters, Mansfield Autry, Morris Witt, Raymond Hicks, Rhea Mansfield, Toots Mansfield and Waymond "Sonny" Groff.

Pictured: Bandera's rodeo champ, Ray Wharton and his wife, Ada