On the Salt Grass Trail Again 2018

Interviewer:  Most of you know him as a prominent businessman and a philanthropic leader but really, he is just a good old cowboy at heart we are here on the Salt Grass trail ride with 89-year-old Welcome Wilson Senior and I did something very special for him today, I didn’t really put on cowboy boot until now, this is all for you Welcome.

Salt Grass Trail Ride

Mr. Wilson: l like them.

Interviewer:  You like them, well it’s for a very big occasion this is your 53rd trail ride, is that right?

Mr. Wilson:  That is correct, my first one was in 1966 and I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Interviewer:  So, this is the oldest and most historic of 11 trail rides, is that correct?

Mr. Wilson:  That is correct, it started in 1952 by a television guy his name was Pat Flaherdy and he was a TV anchor and he started it as a publicity stunt for the rodeo, so the idea was they started 100 miles out of Houston and then they came into Houston and arrived the day the rodeo started.

Salt Grass Trail Ride

Pat Flaherty in My Man Godfrey (1936)


Interviewer:  And I heard you have some stories to tell, so it started with 4 friends, right

Mr. Wilson:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  So, tell me why it was called Salt Grass.

Mr. Wilson:  Well because Salt Grass is what we have out in this part of the country, west of Houston and the cattlemen would bring their cattle from the west side of Houston into Houston to sell them at the rodeo, and that’s why it’s called the Salt Grass.

Interviewer:  Salt Grass and then of that, it’s called the desperados?

Mr. Wilson:  Yeah, our group is called the desperados, it was formed by my family and my sister Beverly Bennett Smith is right there.


Interviewer:  Here she is right here, this is a family affair guys, everybody say hi, (all say hi), how many are there in the group.

Mr. Wilson: There is about 75 desperados, at any time we normally have about 25 riders.

Interviewer: Well, how long are you on the wagon, on the trail, how long is your trip.

Mr. Wilson:  Well it’s 100 miles.

Interviewer:  100 miles, so how many days is that, I’m not really good at math.

Mr. Wilson:  8 days.

Interviewer:  8 days and you stop, and you eat along the way and where do you sleep?

Salt Grass Trail Ride

Mr. Wilson:  Well, we have motor homes that follow, in fact they go ahead of us in the morning to the next camp site.  Mostly we sleep in the motor homes, personally I sleep by the fire in a sleeping bag.

Interviewer: Do you really?

Mr. Wilson: Yes, I do.

Interviewer What if it’s raining?

Mr. Wilson Doesn’t matter.

Interviewer Doesn’t matter, we’ll tell me about Freckles, I wanna know about Freckles.

Mr. Wilson: Freckles was my favorite horse, I bought him on the second trail ride, as I recall, he cost $500.

Interviewer:  Which is a lot.

Mr. Wilson:  It seemed like it then, but Freckles was wonderful he had a great gait, he was a dun horse, dun is a color, it’s kind of a beige color and I’ve got great photographs of me on Freckles.

Salt Grass Trail Ride

Interviewer:  Well a little horsey told me you are going to turn 90 next month, is that true?

Mr. Wilson:  In about 3 weeks.

Interviewer:  Very cool, so do you see yourself, is Welcome Wilson at a 100 still be doing this.

Mr. Wilson:  Of course, I plan to live forever.

Interviewer:  Okay, I like that.

Mr. Wilson:  Christina so far so good.

Interviewer: (laughs)  I like the positivity, well I got a little joke for you, I mean just because you got time to burn, so I’ve got a joke for you still.  If a cowboy rides into town on Friday, and 3 days a week later leaves on Friday, how does he do it?

Mr. Wilson:  I give up.

Interviewer:  His horse is named Friday (laughs) very good, very good, well I must say thank you for making this happen and welcoming us on.

Mr. Wilson:  By the way Christina, being 90 years old is not all bad.

Interviewer:  It doesn’t look bad from here

Mr. Wilson:  Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee, and I know history gonna treat me well because I plan to write it after everyone else is gone. So, I’m enjoying my 90th year.

Interviewer:  I love it, well happy birthday and it looks like we are about to take a break, but I don’t know, should we do a little, yes let’s send us off with a, go for it.

Hands on heads, hip hip, hooray, hip hip hooray.

Interviewer:  And by the way we heard that Welcome Wilson Senior’s wagon the Desperados.


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“Welcome’s efforts as an entrepreneur have enriched the community, led to better lives for untold numbers of fellow Texans, and inspired generations of admirers and followers to do greater things. My hope is that through reading this book, you will come to know Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., as I have–as a brilliant businessman, a loving family man and a proud Houstonian.”

Rick Perry
Rick PerryUS Secretary of Energy & former Governor of Texas
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