A local music association will celebrate a milestone anniversary during its awards ceremony this weekend. The Texoma Gospel Music Association’s 40th anniversary awards will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Lighthouse Church in Denison.

A will be presented in more than 45 categories and more than 50 singers and groups will perform southern, country, bluegrass and contemporary gospel music. There is no admission charge, however, a love offering will be taken up at the event.

The Texomaland Gospel Music Magazine Awards began in 1977.

“I started a magazine in this area called the Texoma Music Magazine,” TGMA founder Billy Holcomb said. “I was putting that out around the time I founded this organization. I had founded the International Country Gospel Music Association in 1956. It is the oldest gospel music association in the world.

“For the ICGMA I had a lot of big stars come out and perform. They were of all genres of music. We had Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Travis Tritt, and a lot of others.”

In 1977, locals were really not involved with the ICGMA awards that were held in Dallas, Holcomb said. So it was decided to do something for this area.

Then, four years later the name was changed.

“So, in 1981, we included gospel and country music and we called it the Texoma Country Gospel Music Association,” Holcomb said. “In 1999, it became a branch off of the ICGMA and it just took off. We later stopped the country music and it just became the Texoma Gospel Music Association and the Texoma Country Music Association.”

The Texoma Country Music Association never hosted its own awards show although the group is still in existence.

“In Texoma, after the anniversary coming up, we want to resurrect the Texoma Country Music Association awards,” Holcomb said. “All I am interested in right now is Texoma Music. That is all I want to work with, but other artists can come in a be a part of our awards shows.”

Holcomb stopped working with ICGMA around 2000, but in 2016, he returned for the ICGMA 60th anniversary awards celebration.

“I went back and they treated me like a movie star,” he said. “I wanted it to continue because I think that they do so great with young artists. I would help them out if they needed it, but I do not want to be a part of it.”

As for the TGMA, Holcomb made Ring the president of the group and only helps out when needed.

“We are really going to have people coming for the anniversary this weekend,” Holcomb said. “There will be people coming in from other states as well as North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. We cover all forms of music. We do Christian gospel, country gospel, contemporary gospel and bluegrass gospel. We do all kinds of gospel.”

Holcomb said he enjoys TGMA awards because the show gives Texoma something in gospel music to call its own.

“My slogan when I was doing radio was, if it’s not local, I do not like it,” he said. “I want things in Oklahoma and Texas. I think that those are the two best states. We want to invite everyone to enjoy this.”

Awards shows are important, Holcomb said, because they encourage everyone.

“The ones that get awards, as well as the ones that do not get awards, get a lot out of attending the award show,” he said. “We have the horizon award for the teens that are doing music. Then there is the newcomers awards for those that are in their early 20s. We also have the hall of fame awards for those that have been doing music for a while.”

Holcomb said his legacy in this award show is helping recognize the artist.

“I feel so strong about this because the Lord gave me the opportunity to do this,” he said. “When you present something to another person, you get to see them reach out and appreciate your recognition of them. It is an honor to see people receive this awards and that is my reward.”

As for his role in the future of TGMA, Holcomb wants people to always remember who the music is for an about.

“W. Lindsey Thompson and I founded ICGMA,” he said. “In 1992, I presented him the Founders Award. Every year after that, we gave the W. Lindsey Thompson founders award to a different person. We did that for about eight years. 1999 was the last time that award was given out. Last year, I presented the W. Lindsey Thompson founders award to the current president of the ICGMA.

“This year, there will be a founders award presented at the Texoma award show. I sat down with Eddie Ring and we were trying to come up with a name for it. I did not want my name to be on it because this is not about me. We sat down and decided to call the award the Jehovah Founders Award. Jehovah is the true founder and that is what is important to me. I want people to remember this award show is about the Lord.”