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Charley Pride, a Rodeo Houston staple, dead at 86

The country music trailblazer had performed at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 33 times during his award-winning career.

HOUSTON — Country music legend Charley Pride, who was a staple at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for many years, has died from complications related to COVID-19.

Pride, who was 86, passed away Saturday in Dallas.

The country music artist was best known for the hit songs “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” and “Mountain of Love.” 

Rodeo Houston officials confirmed Pride holds the all-time record for most performances. He was featured in 33 concerts over the course of 20 years, the organization said.

Pride was a trailblazer for the country music industry as the first Black artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is also acknowledged as the first Black superstar of the genre, with the height of his popularity spanning through the 70s and 80s.

The three-time Grammy winner has had more than 30 No. 1 hits, but before Pride's music career took off, his brief baseball career did.  

Pride was talented enough to play in the Negro Leagues but cracked his elbow before he had a chance to play in the majors. 

A KHOU 11 viewer shared his memory of Pride, who was a member of the American National Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet. In 1989, the superstar visited the Liberty County area after heavy flooding occurred along the Trinity River. Russell Hubbard  sent us these polaroid pictures:

Credit: Russell Hubbard
Charley Pride in Liberty County representing American Red Cross in 1989.

"I remember driving him around surveying flood damage, while being shadowed by news media helicopters," Hubbard said. "He even sang a couple of songs while we were driving. We also visited Red Cross shelters where he visited with flood victims and gave them comfort."

Last year, our sister station, WFAA, profiled Charley Pride's life.

Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi on March 18, 1934 but later relocated to Texas. He was the father of three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo statement on passing of Charley Pride

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Charley’s passing, a member of our Star Trail of Fame. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He was a true RODEOHOUSTON legend, holding the record for most performances with 33.”