The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Cowboys lose great fan with death of Crazy Ray

Crazy Ray Jones, right, fires up Cowboys fans during home game.  Photo courtesy Google Images
Crazy Ray Jones, right, fires up Cowboys fans during home game. Photo courtesy Google Images

By Chris Cates/sports editor

Crazy Ray Jones, right, fires up Cowboys fans during home game.  Photo courtesy Google Images
Crazy Ray Jones, right, fires up Cowboys fans during home game. Photo courtesy Google Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost a great recently. This great didn’t ever take the field with shoulder pads and a helmet, nor did he ever coach a game, but his impact was just as important. Local legend and fan-wing Hall-of-Fame inductee Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones died March 17 at the age of 76, and he’ll be missed dearly by anyone who knew anything about Dallas Cowboys football.

Ray was honored Saturday at Texas Stadium and will be honored again during a home game in the upcoming season.

Crazy Ray is best known for his home-game sideline cheering and outfit, both of which became trademarks of Texas Stadium over the years. Some would say that Jones (widely considered the Cowboys’ unofficial mascot) was more of a mascot than the official one that runs around the field, and you’ll find no argument here.

Bad health had overcome him in recent years. From a leg amputation because of diabetes to a stroke to five heart bypasses, luck was not on his side. Through it all, though, Crazy Ray continued to support the team, and occasionally appeared at games in his wheelchair, leading Cowboys fans’ cheers despite the tough times.

Jones had his own special parking spot at Texas Stadium, an honor not too many fans around the nation can boast. He wasn’t paid for what he did, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been.

When you ask Cowboys fans who Crazy Ray is, odds are they know. And for an average-Joe fan to accumulate such a status that he’s known by almost every other fan, players and front office, some compensation should be involved—especially when medical misfortunes arise.

The team is, however, doing the right thing here. It would be easy to just make a statement to the media
and be done with it, but Jerry Jones made sure that Crazy Ray was honored correctly—not once, but twice at Texas Stadium. That’s an honorable move by a man who sometimes doesn’t get the “honorable” tag for whatever reason.

When Wilford Jones first came to Dallas, his intentions were to become a shoe-shiner. Over the years, though, he ended up selling seat cushions at the Cotton Bowl, peanuts at Texas Stadium and free laughs to anybody in his presence at either place. The team requested that he stop selling things and focus on crowd entertainment once his name got big enough, but it’s the little things like that which made Crazy Ray’s character.

Many will remember Crazy Ray for a variety of different and special ways, and he’ll always be a fixture in Dallas Cowboys history. From his “altercation” with the Redskins mascot years ago to the magic tricks he performed at games to the piercing whistle that was heard regularly by fans, Ray was nothing short of a legend.

He changed fan experience at games for the better, and he probably changed an outcome or two in favor of the home team by getting the whole crowd behind the team. He even changed lives with his image, sense of humor, tricks and perseverance.

While Crazy Ray is gone, one thing is for sure: he will always be a true Dallas Cowboy.

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