By Herb Moering
The annual Texas Independence Day parade held in Alamo was a great success thanks once again to Trophy Gardens RV Resort residents. They made up the bulk of the parade on a breezy Saturday morning with nearly 30 individual entries, mainly decorated golf carts with the parade theme “Howdy Alamo—A Salute to Texas.”
In addition, the majority of spectators lining the sidewalk in both directions from the Central Park reviewing stand were also residents from Trophy Gardens. That’s what Lolita Beeksma, a Winter Texan from Wisconsin, related while waiting for the parade to arrive that was led by the PSJA Memorial High School Junior ROTC color guard.
“We’re supporting the Trophy Gardens entries, which are always involved,” Beeksma said. She came to the parade with her husband, Ron, who noted it was 32 degrees today in Ashland, Wisconsin where they came from to winter for the past 12 seasons. With them were Dean and Sharon Fox, Winter Texans from Nebraska, who have been coming to the parade for a number of years, having missed only a few.
Adding to the support and applause were Robert Carlson, from Kansas in his fourth year at Trophy Gardens, and friend Pat Jorgensen, from Iowa and a long time Trophy Garden resident since 2006. She finds the park as do many others to be “very friendly” with a lot of activities.
Riding in a convertible was the park’s queen, Bonnie Christian, who was one of the managers when Trophy Gardens opened in 1984 and she still resides there.
One of the popular Trophy Gardens entries were the two-dozen line dancers, who performed in front of the reviewing stand to several musical western numbers. The group was led by, and followed by, a pair of Texas flag bearers that included the words “God Bless Texas.”
Russell and Kathy Cropp, who have been Winter Texans from Oklahoma since 1999, have been involved with the line dancers for seven years. Russell, a flag bearer, said Theresa Howard is the instructor and choreographer. Russell also has served as the park’s entertainment coordinator for the past six years.
When it came to awarding of the Alamo Chamber of Commerce sponsored trophies, Trophy Gardens was the overwhelming grand prize winner. The top trophy was handed to queen Bonnie to hold for all the photo taking. The other winners were 1st place—Sand Devils Motorcycle Club; 2nd place—Alamo Code Enforcement entry, and 3rd place—PSJA Memorial High School mariachi group, who performed on stage following the parade.
In keeping with the western theme, honorary parade marshal Constable Martin Cantu from Precinct 2, rode the route on horseback. He took a moment at the end of the parade to thank all those for coming. A brief performance by the PSJA Memorial cheerleaders followed.
Rick Cano was emcee for the “Salute to Texas,” which recalls the 186th anniversary ending the battle at the Alamo mission in San Antonio. While the battle was lost on March 6, 1836, its rallying cry launched Texas toward independence from Mexico.
The Chamber of Commerce parade is one of only a few in the entire state of Texas to remember the 13-day battle between 1,800 to 6,000 Mexican soldiers under General Santa Anna and 189 defenders of the Alamo under Lt. Col. William Travis that came to a bloody conclusion on that fateful day when Santa Ana ordered an assault on the San Antonio mission complex in which 600 or more Mexican soldiers died along with all the Texas defenders. The only Americans to survive were civilians, almost all women and children.
While the price was high, it gave enough time for 59 politicians in the hamlet of Washington on the Brazos to hammer out a declaration of independence from Mexico four days earlier.
It was April 21, 1836, that a Texan force led by Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna’s army of 1,500 men at San Jacinto, near present day Houston. It was marked by the rallying cry of “Remember the Alamo.” It also ended the war for independence from Mexico and created a new nation—the Republic of Texas.