WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — This weekend is the 88th Annual Convention of the Texas Shrine Association Ceremonial and All-State Competitions. From June 9 to 11, over 500 Shriners from 13 Shrine Centers across the state of Texas in Wichita Falls participating in several events and competitions.
“So we go around, we raise money. You might see us on the corners with our funny red hats collecting money but our whole purpose is to raise money and support our hospitals,” Texas Clown Shrine Association President Lance Goff said.
One of the events is the clown competition where about 40 clowns performed skits but they all clown around to help out children in need.
“We love to make people laugh. We love our hospitals, love our kids in the hospital and anything we can do to support them laugh and forget why they’re in the hospital, why they’re going to treatment. That’s why we do what we do,” Goff said.
This year, Texas Shrine Association is celebrating 100 years of Shriner’s Hospital for children and 150 years of Shriner’s International.
Phillip Webb has been a clown for 20 years. He joined the Shrine after his own son was a patient at Shriner’s.
“When my son was born, he was born with club feet. If you walk normally on his feet, they were turned up and turned in so he’d be walking on his ankles. And so we took him to Shriner’s, my dad’s a Shriner, my grandfather is a Shriner, so we took him to Shriner’s and they fixed his feet so we can walk like normal,” Webb said.
Billy is from Wichita Falls and has been a Shriner for about 40 years, and he says he just likes to help out.
“We got hospitals all over. We got 21 hospitals and we bring in about a thousand kids a day to help them out,” Billy said.
Events include bands, vehicles, mounted units, marching Shriners, and even a clown or 10.
The Shriners will be hosting a parade in downtown Wichita Falls Saturday morning, June 11, at 10 a.m. All competitions are free and the public is encouraged to come out.