Wesley E. Wright tells how he ended up riding a horse and bringing our 1st president to life
Published in 2016 Texas Super Lawyers magazine
By Andrew Brandt on September 6, 2016
The first parade I was in was in Round Top, Texas; there were 5,000 [onlookers]. Last year I was at the Woodlands, and 19,000 people attended. This year, I’ll be in the Bellaire parade.
The staff at our firm goes along with me walking as I pass through the crowds. They pass out thousands of copies of the Declaration of Independence, because we believe that things like July 4th have lost their relevance to a lot of people. I think people ought to know why we have that holiday. On top of that, I give speeches. It wasn’t good enough just to be in a parade once a year.
I’ve given hundreds of speeches on elder law [topics] over the years, not only to the professional community but also to consumers, social workers and nurses. The way I got interested in [being George Washington]: Maybe 15 years ago, I was thinking about going on the national speaking circuit.
So I went to a local meeting of the National Speaker’s Association to see what I could learn, and I met a person who was about 6-foot-4, as I recall. I’m about 6-foot-2, and I took notice because he was taller than me. His hair was totally white, and pulled back in a relatively short pony tail.
We started talking, and I said, “What do you talk about?” He was a very kind person, and he said, “I talk about the application of the ethics of George Washington to business ethics today. I’m hired by corporations to come in and speak, and I have a professionally made custom uniform.”
The more I talked to him, the more I thought, “This is just a nice person, and he’s a drop-dead expert on the life of George Washington.”
I went to one of his speeches, and it was quite memorable how mesmerized the audience was by his speaking in all of his regalia. To actually be able to hear someone that knew so much about [Washington] dressed up like him … you couldn’t take your eyes off of him.
Then, about seven years later, I saw the HBO miniseries John Adams. I was so struck by this film; if you aren’t a patriot before you start watching that, you are by the time you finish. It made me realize, and begin to consider, how little people know about what happened during those times—the contributions of the Founding Fathers.
So a few years go by, and my law firm becomes interested in being in the Bellaire parade. I’m a horse person, and because we’re patriotic, my law partner and I, we would have a float or something in the parade, and it usually involved horses.
One day I said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if I bought a white horse, and then I got a uniform of George Washington, and rode in the parade as him? It sounds kind of goofy, but I like it. My partner, Molly Abshire, liked it and we decided to do it as a community service.”
I got a white horse from Illinois … and then I got a professionally made uniform [from a] Pennsylvania [company] that makes them for reenactments and movies. I’ve got a wig that’s made out of yak hair by the prior wig master at the Alley Theatre; they later also made my cape.
I’ve given one speech to children in a history class at a school on the Declaration of Independence; and one at a nursing home, on his Thanksgiving proclamation. I gave a speech in Round Top, at their library recently. It required more than 70 hours of preparation. You want to make sure that everything you say is accurate. I rode in on a horse … gave the hour-and-a-half speech, and then left on my horse.
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