By Casey Carr

March, 2024

Sharon Carr Travel Turns 55

The year is 1969 and Ron Carr, having spent his previous few years as a top salesman for Braniff Airlines, convinced a partner to take the plunge and open their own travel agency in Downtown Dallas, and Carr-Dulaney Travel was born.  A few years later, with Dulaney gone and operating under the new name Ron Carr Travel, Ron hired a young redhead named Sharon Elliott.  Sharon was fresh out of college, having majored in music but deciding that teaching was not her future.  They fell in love, married and ran the company together until Ron left the industry in 1983.  Ron & Sharon divorced in 1984 and Sharon Carr took over as the sole owner and operator of the newly renamed Sharon Carr Travel.  The rest, as they say…..

So began the intro to this blog marking our 50th Anniversary in 2019 – 5 long, tumultuous years ago.  The future was as bright as it could have been, but little did we know what lay ahead of us.  Just a few months later, Covid came and upended all of our lives, and crushed the travel industry for two years straight.  We endured other big changes and losses in the past 5 years.  KLUV folded and our 50 year radio program came to an end.  We lost our friend Ron Chapman.  We lost other close friends, relatives & clients to Covid.  But we survived, thanks in no small part to our amazing and dedicated staff, and to our loyal clients.

Now, on the other side, we can look back over the past 5 years with gratitude.  We’re sill here, in fact we’re busier than ever.  We learned a lot about ourselves, we worked hard to take care of people, our relationships grew.  In another 5 years, we’ll be 60.  Wow!  We’re very proud of our longevity, all of the people we’ve sent to every corner of the globe, and our 50+ years on radio & TV in Dallas.  To think, it all started with a chance encounter.

Sharon with Ron Chapman & Chip Moody

“When I think back on the serendipitous way that we became involved with KVIL & Ron Chapman, sometimes I just can’t believe our good luck.  You know your dad was in the right place at the right time.” Sharon tells me over coffee one morning.  It’s always strange for me to call her Sharon, I just know her as mom.  “He was a member of the Salesmanship Club and happened to give his business card to Ron Chapman at one of the club meetings, KVIL was in its infancy stages and Ron Chapman was determined to make it the #1 station in North Texas.  He found out that Braniff was flying a 747 to Honolulu and he wanted his listeners to go. He called Ron Carr who put the package together and the first KVIL group was in born – 1971; a week in Hawaii for $298, flights included.  600 brave souls opened the brand new Sheraton in Waikiki and on the day of arrival all the electricity died and the chef quit.”

Stories like this abound throughout our years of sending listeners around the world.  In the early 80’s we chartered 2 full ships. My dad was close friends with Ray Wylie Hubbard and they brought him and his band onboard to be the house band.  The ship ran out of booze before they reached first port.  Another time, we sent a group to Branson on a luxury bus, but someone showed up late and missed it.  Suzie Humphreys was there broadcasting from the “KVIL-O-Van”, the station’s bright yellow broadcast van.  She grabbed the person, threw them in the backseat and they began live broadcasting their race to catch the bus, with the “KVIL-O-Copter”, their bright yellow traffic chopper, joining the pursuit from the air.  Suzie, delivering punch after punch of her hilarious one-liners; Ron Chapman in tears back at the station, it was radio gold.

We treasure those friendships still today, people like Suzie & Ron, Mitch Carr, Jody Dean, Jack Schell, Terry King, and of course, more recently, Rebekah Black, David Rancken,  Jeff Miles, Billy Kidd, Kathy Jones, Bernie Mac, Kevin Cassidy, Brian Purdy, Amy Jain Lowe, Michelle Jarvis. We couldn’t do what we do without the support and enthusiasm of these people.

“If you would have told me when I joined Ron Carr Travel that I would still be doing this all this time later, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Sharon says, “but I fell in love with this business and the people who travel with us. Just the moments and the memories that we get to be a part of; it really is extraordinary.  I think one of the keys to our success over the years has honestly been just the pure affection we feel for our clients.  And, while the business is really stressful,  we have a lot of fun making people’s dreams come true.”

Ron Chapman & Sharon Carr on the very first KVIL World Tour to Hawaii in 1971

And that’s the true joy of this business, our wonderful travelers, many of whom have been with us 20, 30, 40 years.  It’s the picture of a smiling Ralph McMillan at the Taj Mahal; a breathless note from Barry & Linda Smith after they’ve just seen the Northern Lights in Finland; a call from Paul Gleiser gazing out at the Danube from his french balcony, happy that we convinced him to try a river cruise. Many times we get to travel with our groups, and we get to watch the pure joy of a new travel experience unfold on the faces of our beloved clients.  We, at Sharon Carr Travel, are indeed the lucky ones.

So from all of us here, thank you for continuing to trust us with your dreams. We take that very seriously and will always work for you. We have amazing trips planned throughout 2024 & 2025 (even into 2026!), destinations old & new; some we’ve never been to before, and at prices that you can afford.  Sharon Carr Travelers will touch all 7 continents in 2024, we hope you will join us all year long as we celebrate #55YearsOfAdventure!

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