Gene Autry Fan Club Links the Past to the Present
Lucas resident, Jerry Baumann is one of the founders of Dallas Texas Gene Autry Fans. He and co-founders, Roy Tucker and John Buttram enjoyed watching Autry’s shows while growing up and listening to his music. While the shows and music are a large reason for their affinity for Autry, they also subscribed to Autry’s “Cowboy Code”. The Cowboy Code consisted of 10 rules cowboys should follow. First on the list is, “The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.” Number five, “He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. “ The final rule, “The Cowboy is a patriot.” Additional rules pertain to integrity, kindness and generally living in an upright manner. (geneautry.com) Buttram is the nephew of Pat Buttram who was Gene Autry's movie/TV sidekick and played Mr. Haney on Green Acres.
The Dallas Texas Gene Autry Fans formed in June of 2002. Baumann, Buttram and Tucker met at the Gene Autry, Oklahoma Film and Music Festival. Upon returning to the metroplex, they met for a three-and-a-half hour lunch. At the conclusion of the lunch, they said, “Maybe we could do this again.” The group has grown from a trio to averaging between 40 and 60 people at the meetings. They had their record attendance of 104 people in July of 2016.
Gene Autry, Oklahoma Film and Music Festival was last held in 2009. Many of the festival performers missed this annual gathering and have flocked to Dallas Texas Gene Autry Fans meetings. Baumann informs they have performers and audience members from all over, “We have performers coming from as far away as Oregon, Washington state, Nashville and Canada.”
When the group meets, it’s a great social time of live country music and eating Tex-Mex food at El Fenix on Skillman in Dallas. During one of two of their Christmas parties this year, the star-studded event included Burton Gilliam (Blazing Saddles), Don Kay Reynolds (appeared with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry), Janet McBride (yodeling queen/mentor for Leanne Rimes) and Devon Dawson (original Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story). Their second Christmas party will be held Dec. 15 at 11:30 at El Fenix (9090 Skillman, 75243). Performers will include Kristyn Harris and Hailey Sandoz, both are Western Music Award winners. Harris is from McKinney, was the 2017 WMA Female Performer and Entertainer of the Year and was on American Idol this year. Sandoz was the 2017 WMA instrumentalist of the year and is from Garland. To thank the performers, a hat will be passed during the event.
Baumann, Tucker and Buttram said that people of all ages will enjoy attending these musical and social meetings, especially those who enjoy country and western music and specifically those who grew up in the era of Gene Autry shows and music.
Trying to pinpoint a favorite Gene Autry song was a bit of a challenge for Baumann, Tucker and Buttram because as soon as one person chose one, the group would nod and all say, “That’s a good one too.” Songs that rose to the top were “Back in the Saddle” and “That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine”. They informed that Gene Autry is the only person to have a star in all five categories in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Baumann, who has lived in Lucas since 1982, said over the years about six residents from Lucas and Fairview have attended the meetings. He would love to see more of his neighbors at these fun gatherings. For details on upcoming meetings, please email Jerry Baumann at email@example.com or go to www.roytucker.com/ga.