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Music Hall of Fame - nine years & 50 awards later

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

"Not many can get Nashville, but Bandera can," said Scott Aldridge during the 2013 Bandera Music History Project Hall of Fame induction ceremony, on Sunday, Oct. 27, at the Silver Sage Community Center.

Aldridge, a director with the Music Hall of Fame, was speaking about Nashville songwriter - and Bandera native - Bobby "Bandera Bob" Boyd, who had returned on behalf of his late friend, Lore "Coyote" Orion. Not only was Orion being honored as 2013 Songwriter, but also with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Boyd, along with his brother, Gerald, and another good friend - and prodigious talent in his own right - Bruce Robison, teamed up to perform several of Orion's songs, including "The Boys are Rollin' In," "Sometime's It's Hard to be a Cowboy" and "I was Born to Roll."

"Lore started out as my hero and later became a mentor and close friend, but he always remained my hero," Gerald Boyd said.

"Lore's songs changed my life," Bobby Boyd said simply.

The late, great songwriter's awards were accepted by his wife, "Kowgirl Kelly," and the couple's children, Kidd and Rio.

"It's a tremendous blessing and honor to accept these awards for my late husband," Kelly Orion said. "What my husband loved most was writing and he lived the melody of life. Lore found the mystical in the mundane and the sacred in the ordinary. I'm sure he's smiling down on us right now. I thank you all for caring so much about this area's rich musical history."

Not only did the Loyd Bonham Band receive the 2013 Duo-Group award, but the rockin' quartet also served as the unofficial - or was it official? - house band, revving up the crowd before the festivities began. And, what a kick ass job they did! But, next time, guys, play a little ZZ Top for the Courier editor.

Receiving the award, the self-effacing bassist, James "Kozmo" Godsey quipped, "We're not used to getting anything but tickets!" As a segue into intermission, the band performed their original "Take Me Back to Texas."

Musician and Vocalist of the Year Mark Wright and Gary Lewis, respectively, both perform with The Blue Cowboys, house band of Arkey Blue's iconic Silver Dollar. According to Mary Schenk, committee chairman, the iconic venue has figured predominately in the Bandera Music Hall of Fame since its inception in 2005, when Arkey Blue was selected as the first Living Legend.

Eschewing the tuba he played in his high school band, Lewis became the front man for The Blue Cowboys after the late Doug Livingston, another hall of fame honoree, left the band due to ill health. However, Lewis gave full credit to his wife, Peggy, who, he said "... put a guitar in my hand and told Arkey, 'Let my husband play'."

Wright, a former member of the Texas A&M Marching Band, was the first drummer selected and only the second to be nominated for Musician of the Year. Preferring to let his sticks do the talking, he provided a perfect back beat to music that personified the truism, "The Silver Dollar - Where There's Still Country Music."

Calling Walter "Tooter" Ripps "the most reluctant Living Legend ever," Schenk related this story. "For weeks, every time I talked to Tooter, he'd say something like, 'Aw - I don't want to be a Living Legend.' He did it so much and so often, I finally told him, 'Look, face it - people love you. You are the 2013 Living Legend, so suck it up and be gracious.' And he did."

The grudging Living Legend - aka the "Man with Ears of Gold" - even posed good-naturedly beside a poster showing his wardrobe malfunction at a now-R-Rated Cowboy Capital Opry performance.

To add to the prestige, Mayor Don Clark officially proclaimed Sunday, Oct. 27, as Walter "Tooter" Ripps Day in the City of Bandera.

Accepting his award, Ripps thanked his family for all their support, particularly his father "for taking me out to jobs at 13." Then, looking at the SRO crowd in the great room, he added, "And my family includes all of you, too."

The 2014 Bandera Music History Project Hall of Fame inductions will take place Sunday, Oct. 28. Plan now to be there!