Roy Durie's red barn

Mary Nell SoRelle

My mother, short in stature, tall in qualities of a lady, wife and mother, was not always happy with what my husband brought home. I can picture her standing at her kitchen sink, tip-toed, and none too pleased, to see what was happening outside.

What was passing on the cinder road heading toward the barn?

"Another horse," she would say. But not just any horse.

No matter how the horse looked when Roy Durie, my dad, bought it, it had always speed, confirmation, and disposition. He knew it. My sister and I got to show it when we rode the horses after my father groomed them and made them better-mannered.

Though he worked more than 50 years at the Waco News Tribune and Times-Herald, he was known around town for his love of horses. He founded the Waco Longhorn Club in 1941 as a nonprofit roping and riding club.

Not only did my father know horses, he made quite a name for himself knowing what a horse could do for a child. And so his passion began gathering the means to bring children and horses together, and building up interest for events at the old red horse barn at the HOT Fairgrounds.

He made Horses, saddles, and wranglers were furnished at Camp Fire Girls Camps: 1.) Wakitatina at the YMCA Camp at Valley Mills, 2.) Camp Tonkawa at Crawford, and 3.) Val Verde west of Waco.

During the HOT Fair and Rodeo he sponsored girls barrel racing, a donkey and mule show, gave out the Roy Durie Showmanship Award to Youth, and sponsored a the stick-horse race for the little ones.

At the Longhorn Club's annual Labor Day horse show in the old red barn at the fairgrounds, Dad was the announcer for many years. The venue became known as Roy's Red Barn. Though he had some fondness for the place named after him, he often aired his opinion on the inconvenient layout and small size — all with good reason because the layout was dangerous and the arena was not regulation size for shows.

He would have been very happy in the 1990s to see the modern additions built at today's HOT complex, including a new horse barn. He would see it as fulfilling his vision for children, families, and Waco. Likely he would suggest that Waco still needs horse sales at the complex.

And I'll suggest something that have suggested, that it need a new name: Roy Durie's Barn.

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