The Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League are a much-loved team within the borders of Texas, and far beyond. For more than forty years the team has entertained their fans while performing at a consistently high level. In addition to their great success on the field, “America’s Team” has been just as successful off the field and is considered to be one of the most valuable sports teams in North America. Behind every great sports franchise are the fans that support the team, no matter what. The Dallas Cowboys have had countless fans cheering them on over the past four decades, not to mention their own world famous Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and team mascot, Rowdy. However, among all those that cheer for Cowboys football, one fan stands alone. That fan is the late Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones.
Sadly on March 17, 2007, in Dallas, Texas, Wilford Jones’ cheering voice was silenced for the last time after enduring a decade of poor health including diabetes and congestive heart failure. He was 76. Known as the original, unofficial mascot of the Dallas Cowboys, Crazy Ray entertained generations of Cowboys fans. Over the years he became as recognizable a symbol for Cowboys football as the Dallas Cowboys logo, the lone star. Fueled by Crazy Ray’s passion for his team, countless fans proudly wear Dallas Cowboys apparel so that they too can show their true colours.
Crazy Ray attended the first home game of the new Dallas Cowboys franchise in 1960. His real attachment with the team began in 1962 when he started selling pennants at the Cowboys home games. Outfitted in western attire, complete with chaps, six shooters in his holsters, a vest and cowboy hat, he entertained the fans from the side lines with magic tricks, galloping on a hobbyhorse and other antics. His trademark whistle, a high pitched shrill, was also well known and earned him the nickname “Whistling Ray”.
Crazy Ray is said to have missed only three Cowboys home games in the team’s forty-seven years of existence. Indeed, Crazy Ray is such an integral part of Dallas Cowboys history that he has a place of honor in the fan section of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Although Crazy Ray never officially worked for the Cowboys franchise he was provided with a special parking pass and granted unlimited access to Texas Stadium for all home games.
Jerry Jones, the owners of the Dallas Cowboys in passing along condolences to the family stated, “This is a sad day for anyone who is a follower of the Dallas Cowboys. Ray was the most dedicated, entertaining and passionate of Cowboys fans. He touched thousands of lives and generations of football fans. He will remain an important part of this team’s heritage and family”.
Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones was one of those people who come along every now and again. He dedicated his life to his team and touched the lives of countless Cowboys fans and football fans the world over. He will always be remembered for his spirit and love of the game. There is little doubt that the memory of Crazy Ray will live on in the hearts of Dallas fans and football fans everywhere as well as the Dallas Cowboys franchise.
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