Cal Farley was one of Amarillo’s first local sports heroes. A professional wrestler and semipro baseball player, he was a World War I Army veteran who arrived in Amarillo in 1923. Kids loved him almost immediately. In fact, during his days at the ballpark, he kept noticing a group of boys watching him when they ought to have been in school.
Farley asked a few questions and discovered that the boys came from troubled homes. Determined to help them – and other children in similar situations – he began gathering the support of other friends, business owners, and philanthropists. In March of 1939, Farley retired from wrestling and established a “boys ranch” 36 miles northwest of the city at the historic Old Tascosa town site, on land donated by rancher Julian Bivins. Farley hoped the residence would teach the boys integrity and give them a second chance at life.
Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch opened with nine young men. Today, its main residential campus is home to more than 300 at-risk boys and girls.
Beyond Boys Ranch, Farley’s impact on local children continues today in other forms. He founded the Maverick Club in 1934 and started the ubiquitous sports organization, Kids Incorporated, with C.C. “Bus” Duggar in 1945.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.