Jimmy Irby-inspired Club 189 now generating renewed enthusiasm To ‘spend money to help the kids’ at the Livestock Show & Rodeo

Tom Kennedy

The Club 189, which gets its name from the badge number of slain HPD Solo Motorcycle Officer Jim Irby, is revving up its membership drive “raise a bunch of money to help the kids” in the swine auctions in this year’s Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

New Club 189 President Bob Humphrey enthusiastically detailed the series of fundraisers the newly focused club members are supporting. Recently those programs raised $25,000, most of which will be earmarked to make purchases in the upcoming pig auctions. The entrants walk away with money in hand.

That amount of money amounts to about five times the amount Club 189 had to spend in last year’s auctions.

Membership and support of the club has fallen off a bit the past several years due in part to aging board members and the death of influential 189 Club mainstay Fred Platt.

Humphrey said excitement was growing.

“Our fundraising events will enable us to buy for the kids this year,” he told the Badge & Gun. “We will also use part of the money to buy a ca in the Calf Scramble in the name of Jim Irby.

“We hope to get a lot more donations from people coming in who want to throw in some money for the club.”

The club planned a Feb. 7 meeting for new members “who want to get involved and to help us buy livestock for the kids this year.”

Indeed, Humphrey can’t help but emphasize the primary goal of the club – to put scholarship money into the pockets of Houston area teenagers who have raised livestock to sell at the livestock show.

This was an ever-present goal of Officer Jim “Jimmy” Irby, who was wantonly murdered on June 27, 1990 by career criminal Carl Buntion, presently one of the oldest residents of Texas’ Death Row. Irby was deeply involved in the Swine Auction and the Calf Scramble. In 1992, the non-profit Club 189 was established to perpetuate his memory and his goal to help the kids.

Originally the club was limited to 189 members, again to memorialize the Irby badge number. But Humphrey said he wants to change the bylaws to increase the involvement.

Realizing the Feb. 7 membership drive conflicted with the B&G deadline, he astutely provided quick information about how to become a member. First, potential members may email board vice president and secretary John Dugas at Secretary189club@yahoo.com. Cost to join is $250 – a $150 membership fee and $100 to cover the dues for 2018.

“Sign up now for $250,” the president said. “You will get your badge and all of our emails and $100 of this cost goes to the kids.”

Humphrey and his executive board members are all in for the kids. He said they not only use the Club 189 funds for auction purchases but also partner with other individuals and groups in order to hold up that bidder’s number in many other of the vast number of livestock auctions “for the kids” that unfurl throughout the livestock show.

In recent years the club has fallen short of his ambitious goal because of lack of funding. This past year, however, Humphrey pointed out that a shrimp boil and auction/raffle session netted $25,000 – a number that has practically increased by the time you finish this article.

“We’re now on Facebook as the 189 Club Inc. and will be setting up a website for the first time as soon as we possibly can,” Humphrey said.

He was eager to name the club’s vice presidents. Besides Dugan, there are vice presidents

Brian Bell, Dr. Bryan Blonder, MD, Rodney Porter, Paul Tyllick and Larry Jolson. Jolson, a retired HPD officer and currently a Harris County constable, was a one-time partner of Jimmy Irby.

Another enthusiastic supporter who echoed Humphrey’s encouraging words was HPOU 1st Vice President Doug Griffith, an individual who supports the Calf Scramble and all the other events “for the kids” every night of the livestock show and rodeo.

“The club is trying to drum up membership,” Griffith said. “They want to make it better for officers who want to join. Outside of that if they want to be more productive for the kids. They can do a lot more with more people and will have more to buy for the rodeo.”

Both Humphrey and Griffith stressed that the Club 189 stretches its positive influence outside Houston and Harris County, frequently bidding in local livestock shows in both Montgomery and Ford Bend counties.

“The kids get the money,” Humphrey said. “and what happens is that we will give them back their livestock so they can get to the next level (of competition).”

The livestock show and rodeo dates this year are Feb. 27 through March 18 but – as both men pointed out – “we accept membership the year round.”

“We’re trying to get this club to step it up one more notch,” the club president said. “It started in 1992 and the founding members are older and not able to attend like they used to.

“We’re now meeting three or four times a year and hold fundraising events once or twice a year. We’re hoping to do different raffles at least twice a year. We want to get another 50 to 100 people in the club. If you really think about it there shouldn’t be any limit on the number of members.”

Humphrey said long-time club members are still excited about the shrimp boil and auction and raffle events. The latter program was held Jan. 13 at the Hideaway Club on Dunvale on the west side. The raffle winner, Frederick Childers, had his choice of at least four trips and chose to be
the Nascar driver for a day.”

Humphrey also cited the planned appearance of “new t-shirts and jackets” sporting the Club 189 insignia. “When we first started,” he said, “we kept it quiet. Now we will have shirts and jackets. We need to show who we are in our black and gold colors.”
And they certainly will clearly demonstrate what they do and that – in case you haven’t yet gotten the message – is “to help the kids.”