John Wayne: An American Experience Teases ‘Armadillo Races’ and ‘Duke Spirits’ Aplenty for John Wayne Day

by Samantha Whidden

Prior to celebrating John Wayne Day, John Wayne: An American Experience shared what visitors will expect during the special event. 

“Join us for John Wayne Day on Thursday May 26th at John Wayne: An American Experience,” the social media post declares.”We will be cutting cake with the Wayne Family, drinking Gold Handle coffee, enjoying armadillo races, tastings with Duke Spirits, and a meet and greet with Jimmy Don Holmes from HGTV!”

FTW Today reported that in 2015 Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, also with the Texas Legislature, declared May 26th as John Wayne Day to honor the film legend’s birthday and make him an honorary Texan. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, has also said, “The Duke’s independent spirit embodies what it means to be a Texan and personifies the storied history of the Lone Star State.”

Marisa Wayne, the daughter of John Wayne, previously spoke about the actor’s love for the state of Texas. “He had such a love in his heart for the people of Texas and this great state, and it’s really cool we are able to come back here and celebrate him not just every year but every day.”

The exhibit will also have these movies available to watch for free. 

  • 11:15 a.m.:  STAGECOACH
  • 2 p.m.: MCLINTOCK!
  • 5 p.m.: THE GREEN BERETS

John Wayne’s Family Speaks About the Special Day

Following the opening of the John Wayne: An American Experience exhibit, Marisa said it was an honor to have a special day for her late father. “We always celebrate that day because it’s his birthday, but it makes it even more special to be here now that the experience is open.”

Marisa then said her father’s dying wish was to help those who are fighting cancer. “He didn’t want to see people suffer and go through what he and his family had gone through… he was an actor by profession but really lived the life he portrayed in movies as far as family values, morals, and love of God, country, and family.”

Ethan Wayne, the late actor’s son, also previously issued a statement about the special day. “I know that if he were here today he would be humbled by such an incredible honor and excited that the legacy that he built will be forever remembered on John Wayne Day.”

According to Art And Seek, this year also makes the 115th anniversary of Wayne’s birth. The John Wayne: An American Experience exhibit in the Fort Worth Stockyards will be hosting a celebration that will include a few free activities through the day. The events include Gold Handle Coffee; the armadillo races; Duke Spirits tasting; cake cutting to celebrate the actor’s birthday; Meet and Greets with the Wayne family; and Meet and Greet with custom metal artist Jimmy Don.