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 Who Bob Everhart
 What America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame thrives in the country of Iowa!
 When June 17, 2003
 Where Anita, IA
 Source National Traditional Country Music

(Provided by Sheila and Bob Everhart)

When the National Traditional Country Music Association was formed in 1976, it was not their intent to become the hosts of "America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame." Time said different. Today, the Hall of Fame, located in the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita, Iowa, has over 2,500 artifacts relating to early country/bluegrass/folk music, and all the root music art forms that these styles came from.

Inductions into the Hall of Fame have been going on since 1979, the very first one, was a fiddler from Omaha, Nebraska, Laurier Birginal. He was a Canadian immigrant who came to America to open a butcher shop. He was also an astonishingly good fiddler, and had a likable personality that people were attracted to. He soon became "the" fiddler in the Omaha area, and was responsible in part, for the creation of the museum.

More inductions followed, the rules were simple. You had to be a member of the Hall of Fame to make a nomination, and you could only make one. Over the years, the ceremony that honors the famous and the not so famous, takes place as a last-day climax to a large festival the NTCMA hosts, to pay the upkeep and operating expenses of the Hall of Fame. The festival this year is at the Harrison County Fairgrounds, in Missouri Valley, Iowa, August 25-31.

There are usually about 35 inductions each year, and stays relatively the same. After a number of years of local and regional inductions, the process has slowly risen from the not-so-famous, to the famous. Still, those that have made a significant contribution to the furtherment of traditional country music, are honored, bigtime, just like the famous.

Recognizable names on this year's roster include:

  • Moe Bandy
    (he now has a theater in Branson, Missouri);
  • Michael T Wall
    (a promoter and performer from Newfoundland);
  • Floyd Tillman
    (a songwriter who penned 'Slippin' Around');
  • Slim Whitman
    (one of the most famous yodelers of all time noted for the 'Indian Love Song');
  • Jett Williams
    (daughter of Hank Williams Sr. Both she and her father will be inducted this year);
  • Ferlin Husky
    (a popular Grand Ole Opry performer with many hits);
  • Chester Smith
    (close friend of Merle Haggard, recently revived his recording career after retiring from his broadcast media empire in California);
  • Elsie McWilliams
    (the songwriter that gave Jimmie Rodgers his many hits);
  • Sullivan Family
    (from Mississippi, nominated by Charlie Louvin);
  • Vernon Oxford
    (longtime traditional country singer and recording artist from Nashville, Tenn.);
  • Glaser Brothers
    (started their musical career as boys in Nebraska);
  • Lee Oskar
    (manufacturer of harmonicas);
  • Lonzo & Oscar
    (the rejuvenated act under the auspices of Billy Henson);
  • Leroy Van Dyke
    (the 'Auctioneer Song' is his biggest hit);
  • Jimmy and Dick, The Novelty Boys
    (a super act from Arizona who did live radio shows).

The roster also includes a number of inductees on a local and regional level. All inductees are asked to provide something for the Hall of Fame from their musical past. According to the museum curator, Bob Everhart, "It's amazing how old-time fiddlers will give up their most priceless possession after they become to old and stiff to play anymore, but they know it's going to be placed on display, and many will see and recognize the contribution the old-time fiddler made. It's the same with a lot of the celebrities in "America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame."

Some of the past inductees were personally present when the honor was bestowed upon them.

  • CHARLIE LOUVIN - His Harmony guitar and a suit he wore on the Grand Ole Opry is in the Hall of Fame.
  • WOODY GUTHRIE - Guthrie's widow Marjorie, came to the festival and brought one of his old guitars.
  • TERRY SMITH - The composer of "Far Side Banks of Jordan" donated his favorite pipe and cowboy boots.
  • JOE BABCOCK - The compsoer of "Muddy Waters" and member of Hee Haw gave one of his performance shirts.
  • CLAUDE GRAY - The recording artist of "The Family Bible" has a Decca guitar next to his picture.
  • JOHNNY WESTERN - Composer of the theme music to "Have Gun Will Travel" donated one of the shirts he wore on the television show, as well as a guitar.
  • ALBERT BRUMLEY JR - Son of the famous songwriter Albert Brumley, a complete collection of the Brumley songbooks are on display in the Hall of Fame.
  • SPADE COOLEY - Famous western swing band leader from California. His rhythm guitar players Gretsch is on display.
  • TOM SWATZELL - Known as the "King" of the Dobro, one of his famous guitars is in the Hall of Fame.
  • ERNEST TUBB - Along with a large collection of 78rpm records is the lap steel played by Billie Byrd.
  • MARVIN RAINWATER - Photos, records and guitar.
  • JIMMY MARTIN - Phots, LP's and one of his earliest guitars which he autographed.
  • ROY ACUFF - Autographs of all his band members, and himself, along with the powder blue jacket he wore on the Grand Ole Opry, and a fiddle his brother Charley dontated to the Hall of Fame.
  • JOHNNY CASH - Autographed photographs, old LPs and two of the harmonicas he used in concert playing the Orange Blossom Special.
  • JUNE CARTER CASH - Photos of her and the early Carter Family, and her autoharp fingerpicks.
  • HAPPY VALLEY JUNE CAMPBELL - Popular live radio star on KFNF radio Shenandoah. We have her guitar and her husband Jerry's fiddle.
  • SONNY RODGERS - The last living relative of Jimmie Rodgers. We have his Gibson 12-string.
  • BOB WILLS - When Tom & Nancy Wills were inducted they brought a fiddle Bob had played on.
  • BRADLEY KINCAID - The first to use his radio show to sell products, we have one of his original Hound Dog guitars, as well as his popular song book.

The list goes on and on. The people who have made country music famous all deserve honor and respect. So too, do those that are not so famous. The ones that promote the music, provide a safe haven for it to be performed, that play it on the radio and television.

"America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame" is located in Anita, Iowa, across the stree from the Oak Tree Opry. Bob Everhart, the curator, has been asked a number of times why he doesn't move it to Nashville or Branson, so more people could see it. Hes response, "We are about country music. We are in the country not the city. Our air is clean, our water is pure, our lakes and rivers are still unpolluted. The original forms of country music still thrive in the country. We are proud of hillbilly music, mountain music, bluegrass music, all forms of the original country music that meant so much to so many people. We intend to keep thriving!"

More information about the Hall of Fame, and the festival that supports it is available from:

P.O. Box 492
Anita, Iowa
Telephone: (712) 762-4363
E-mail: bobeverhart@yahoo.com

 Contact Bob Everhart
National Traditional Country Music
(712) 762-4363


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