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Friday, December 2, 2022
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Ellis County Cowboy Spreads Happiness on the Highway

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Clint Sparks and his horse 'Dakota' wave at motorists along I-45. | Image by Josh Stephen

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As motorists drive down I-45 through Palmer, on most Sundays, they will see what looks like a character from Yellowstone sitting on top of a horse, holding an American flag and waving to the cars as they pass.

“They ask me, ‘Why are you doing this?’ All I say [is], ‘I want you to have a blessed day,'” Clint Sparks told WFAA.

The 65-year-old Christian cowboy, who attends J Bar C Church, decided in 2015 that he wanted to make people happy before the Sunday sermon each week. Sparks gets dressed in boots, chaps, and a cowboy hat with two holstered pistols on each side. He saddles up his horse, Dakota, loads him into the trailer, and makes the drive to church.

“I like looking as authentic as I can, from the 1800s, somewhere in there,” Sparks said. “Back then, your word meant something.”

Sparks then unloads Dakota and makes the short ride down the street to greet the Sunday morning drivers on the freeway below.

Gretchen McGuire, who usually drives from her 24-hour shift at Parkland on Sunday mornings, sees Sparks each week as he sits on the overpass. However, she recently decided to pull over and meet the man who brought countless smiles to her face.

“Hi!” McGuire yelled to Sparks. “It just warms my heart every time I see you!”

The cowboy said it made him smile when she introduced herself to him because he got instant gratification from his efforts.

“You just made my day,” Sparks replied at the time.

Sparks said the Sunday ritual is part of the “cowboy code” he lives by.

“It’s just a kind of way of life or the way you think,” Sparks explained. “You know, integrity means something, and honesty means something. You try to make things good for your fellow man. We’ve lost a bit of that, and we need to get it back. This country is still great, but I think we have to help it.”

As for Dakota, he is unbothered by the honking and cars passing by.

“He don’t mind it at all,” Sparks said. “He always gets goodies, though.”

Of course, seeing someone on top of a bridge can indicate trouble, and some motorists have called the sheriff’s department reporting that someone may be attempting to jump or some other emergency, but each time the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department receives a call, they assure the caller that it’s just Clint Sparks spreading joy.

“If it makes you smile, that’s exactly what I want to do. Just try to help everybody,” Sparks said.

The advice Sparks wants to impress on those who see him on the overpass each week is, “Just keep smiling, keep putting that one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.”

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