TOTFA Stories

P.T. Riley

One of the newest members of the Board of Directors of TOTFA who does not need a formal introduction because he is easily recognized by the fact that he plays the guitar "backwards, upside down, and left-handed." Also, as in the words of the song, "Always wear a great big smile, never do look sour," he is always smiling and interlocuating and most often in the company of his daughter Bonnie who is a fine fiddler, one recognizes straight away, Patrick Thomas Riley, better known as PT.

PT lives in Victoria with his wife, Mary Ann, (also a familiar face at contests who was elected Favorite Associate at the Convention), mention also daughter Bonnie, along with a menagerie of horses and other assorted animals. He and Mary Ann are both retired from SW Bell after some 30 years of service and are now full time supporters of trail rides and TOTFA.

Originally from Ft. Worth, PT spent his early years in school at Holy Cross in San Antonio and Lancaster High in Lancaster. He attended college at El Centro and Mountain View in Dallas, also Bee County College in Beeville. Enlistment in the U. S. Navy enabled him to go to communications school and engage in computer technology as well as other exotic high tech intellectual endeavors. He also learned to play the guitar while in the navy, learning from his shipmates on a 1968 Yamaha G-55 guitar. PT also admits to playing the fiddle a little, as in very little, but prefers the guitar.

PT says that he decided to play left-handed because he played trumpet beginning in elementary school and continued through high school and college. He decided there was greater dexterity in his right hand because that is the one that controls the valves and could be better applied to making the guitar chords as opposed to using the left hand. He then took the guitar, flipped it over, and learned to read the guitar chord charts upside down and has been playing it this way ever since, "with the little E on top and the big E on the bottom." We need to mention also, that the Yamaha has been replaced with a more grandiose Gibson.

PT attributes his initial interest in Texas fiddling and TOTFA to Jake Glidewell. Jake initiated PT into the activity by going to a jam session at Harwood, Texas, where he met Regina Matthews whereupon his daughter Bonnie decided to take up the fiddle and with PT backing her on the guitar they have been a team ever since. They try to attend as many musical functions as time will permit including all the TOTFA contests as well as a variety of activities ranging from "cemetery cleanings to tater diggins." Both he and wife Mary Ann devote a good deal of time to videotaping and recording the contests for posterity.

Charles Gardner