The Life of Texas Icon Ricci Ware

By: Trey Ware

Richard Cone Ware, Sr. (Ricci Ware) was born in Stockdale, TX on April 14, 1937, and on October 21, 2016 Ricci went to heaven to be reunited with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the love of his life Mimi “The Moot” Ware.

The Ware family settled in Pasadena, TX in the early 1950’s where Ricci attended Pasadena High School and began working for his father’s business. He met Mimi at PHS and the two quickly fell in love.

Ricci was at his welding job one day when he made a decision which would forever change the course of Texas radio history. He told his father he wanted to be on the radio, and left the family business to go to work at KREL radio in Baytown, TX. His natural talent and flair for show business was immediately on display, and his listeners couldn’t get enough of Ricci on the radio.

Ricci and Mimi married in June 1957, and the two moved to Austin, TX where Ricci went to work for then Senator Lyndon Johnson at KTBC radio and television.

Ricci was on the air one evening when legendary radio station owner Gordon McLendon happened to be passing through Austin and heard Ricci’s show. McLendon called the station and asked Ricci to meet him at the Driskill Hotel immediately following his show. Gordon McLendon was building his radio empire and had to have Ricci in his stable – whatever it took. A deal was reached for Ricci and Mimi to move to San Antonio and work for McLendon at KTSA.

Ricci was an instant superstar at KTSA as he became the most listened to and well-known radio personality in Texas. He generously used his fame and talent to help many DJ’s and musicians get their careers started.

In 1959 Ricci’s good looks were noticed by Hollywood producers who thought he resembled a young Robert Mitchum, and he was asked to appear in John Wayne’s “The Alamo.” He and “Duke” Wayne formed a friendship which lasted until the actor’s passing in 1979.

In the early 1960’s Ricci was driving race cars at the old Pan American Speedway when he and his friend Red McCombs decided to purchase the track. Ricci was a dazzling showman and promoter, and in no time the Ware auto racing business grew to 2 speedways as Ricci added Paramount Austin Speedway to the mix. His success reached world renown as other speedway owners sought out Ricci’s advice on racing promotion. His commercials were world famous for their high-energy, and the words “Saturdaaay night!!!” and “Bring your camera!!!” Ricci operated the speedways until the summer of 1978.

In the late 1960’s Ricci left KTSA for KITE radio and later KBUC where he and Jud Ashmore set the radio business ablaze with their humor and conservative politics. No one had ever done a show like Ricci and Jud before or since.

During his time at KBUC, Ricci also became one of Texas’ most well-known television weathermen.  His unconventional approach to television weather delivered enormous ratings for KSAT 12.

In 1983 Ricci returned home to KTSA to launch the Ricci Ware Show talk show. His son, Trey was already an on-air personality at KTSA when Ricci returned, and in 1994 the two teamed up as The WarePair. As father and son, the duo shot straight to the top of the radio ratings with their traditional values and two generations of humor.

In 2007 Ricci began his popular “Boomers and Shakers” weekend radio show which he continued until his retirement from radio in 2012.

Ricci is an inductee in both the San Antonio Radio Hall of Fame and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

Ricci Ware, Sr. was an avid pilot and motorcycle enthusiast, and the highlight of his week was fulfilling his duty as greeter at The Country Church in Marion, TX.

Family was always Ricci’s priority, and he leaves a tremendous legacy through his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Ricci was preceded in death by his beloved wife Mimi “The Moot” Ware, his father RM Ware, mother Esther Ware, sister Linda Ensminger, and grandchildren Justin Ware and Rebekah Ware.

Ricci is Survived by his brother John Ware and wife Cathie, son Ricci Ware, Jr. and wife Cindi, son Trey Ware and wife Nancy, daughter Shey Jewett, 5 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

A Home-going celebration is scheduled at The Country Church in Marion, TX.



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