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Festival celebrates food and music, and Eddy Arnold was among the elite For more than 30 years, the wonderful aroma of hickory smoked pork has wafted throughout downtown Henderson each summer during the Chester County Barbeque Festival. The three-day extravaganza draws in local folks, plus visitors from near and far to enjoy the county’s well-known delicacy, plus to hear some of the best music anywhere. During most years, youth and adult talent contests have taken place on Friday night and Saturday afternoon respectively. And the event usually culminates with a “big” act on Saturday night. Doubtless many of the entertainers also take the stage entertaining thoughts of one day making it really big-time. Chester Countians that have taken the stage at the Festival and also made a name for themselves elsewhere have included singer-songwriter Jimmy Melton, blues guitarist Waynel Jones,
and banjo picker Blake Hopper. However, Chester County’s most famous son in the music industry made his fortune long before the Barbeque Festival began. Eddy Arnold, 1967 Country Music Entertainer of the Year, and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, began his career right here in our community. Arnold even wrote a book a several years back named “It’s a Long Way from Chester County.” Unfortunately, Arnold passed away just a few years back, and most people now living in Chester County know very little about how huge a star he was in the music industry. The folks in Nashville remember, and when Arnold passed away he was afforded the very rare honor of having his body lay in state at the rotunda of the Hall of Fame. The Bible states a prophet hath no honor in his
own country. And while the city of Henderson once had signs at the outskirts of town noting Arnold’s heritage in this community, sadly Chester County seems to have forgotten Arnold’s great legacy in the world of music. Independent writer Marney Gilliam has extensively researched Arnold’s career, and his story is presented in a feature story in this special section. We hope you enjoy learning how his career got its start and the many twists and turns it took leading him to become one of the all-time greats. Food and fun will always be the center of attention at the Barbeque Festival. But when relaxing on court square and taking in all the event has to offer, just remember, the next act to take the stage just might, one day, be the next local boy or girl to “head to Nashville” to make their star on the walk of fame.
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Kimberlie Helton band to headline BBQ Festival By Mary Mount Dunbar Staff Writer
The Kimberlie Helton Band has gained much acclaim in recent years, but at heart, its members are still a local band. Lead singer Kimberlie Helton is a Henderson resident, and the band formed about two and a half years ago when Helton got more serious about performing and writing music as a career. Despite a winning performance at the 2010 CMA Country Music Fest open mic contest and performing background vocals on a chart topping new album by blues artist Albert Cummings, Helton remains true to her roots and enjoys performing locally in Henderson and surrounding areas. This year is the 35th anniversary of the Chester County BBQ Festival, and The Kimberlie Helton band will be the headlining act at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. “I’m kind of partial to performing in my hometown,” she said. See BAND, Page 7
THE KIMBERLIE HELTON BAND
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Band In addition to performing, Helton teaches voice lessons to about 30 students. Her students are slated to perform at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. “When I was in eighth or ninth grade somebody double dog dared me to get up on stage and sing a solo, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Helton said. She may have began singing as a hobby, but as her interest grew, she decided to make a career of music. She enjoys all genres of music, and she even writes some of her own songs. Her songs tend to lean toward the country music spectrum, but Helton’s favorite songs are bluesy. She has recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Jim Gaines as well as
performed in Nashville, on Beale Street, and in Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. The band has also opened for The Band Perry, a popular country group. As of publication, the band is booked through the end of the year, and they are beginning to book their 2013 calendar. Helton said that the biggest compliment she has ever received for one of her performances “is when at the end of the night, a woman came up to me and said she felt like we were best friends. I enjoy making the audience feel connected to me as a person.” Band members include Dustin Campbell on drums and vocals; Shane Brooks, bass and vocals; and Eric Woods, guitar and vocals. The band is currently writing new material and hopes to have an original album out next year.
The Kimberlie Helton Band performs at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, on the Chester County Bank Stage.
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Eddy Arnold: Tennessee Plowboy, Southern Gentleman, Chester County Legend By Marney E. Gilliam Staff Writer
owned. Everything was auctioned except for “two mules, two cows, and a few simple implements we were allowed to keep.” Only a few years later Eddy hired himself out to another farmer cutting timber in exchange for credit toward a “two-horse cultivator.” Many believe these were the most defining moments in Arnold's life and it really hurt his feelings when his career took off and people questioned his roots. They thought his nickname as “The Tennessee Plowboy” was just a cute media ploy. But it was truly who he had been and deep inside, Eddy carried his calloused hands, aching back and empty pockets with him his whole life even after his nails were manicured, he was dressed in the finest attire and his investments in real estate were secured. He never forgot his
The Chester County Barbeque Festival is known for fabulous food and great music. Musicians from all walks of life and every style take the stage to showcase their talents. Many may be inspired by our own legend of country music, the man who redefined how it was played and who it appealed to, a man who won numerous awards and set Billboard chart records, none other than Mr. Eddy Arnold himself. Eddy Arnold was born in Pinson. He, his father, mother, two brothers, and one sister lived on a farm there during the depression. While he was still a child, Arnold's grandfather, Richard Wright, came to live with them. Wright had cataracts, and according to Shannon Pollard, Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum Arnold's grandson, Arnold was the youngest of the family and therefore was responsible for leading his grandfaEDDY ARNOLD ther around. Wright shared stories with Eddy about his time as a Confederate soldier. He also was one of the first not by a long shot. He worked other jobs beyond the people to spur Arnold's interest in music. According to farm. He took gigs playing and singing at fairs, candy Pollard, Eddy said his grandfather also encouraged him to pulls, and church socials. Dr. John Rumble of the Country play the guitar and would say “Now Eddy ... Music Hall of Fame® and Museum that sounds real fine. Yes, sir, that's fine.”* explained, “It gave him some kind of (See page 19.) “I returned to Tennessee after the concert, and I remember diversion from his heavy, heavy labor Arnold described his father as “a very but also put some extra money in his strong, big guy, with a big voice and a hearty walking along the wooded ridge behind my home and reaching pocket because he was supporting his laugh” while his mother “was a quiet woman” out with my heart to the distant hills and valleys where I grew mom. And he was doing whatever he who “worked awfully hard … but she never could. He worked as an undertaker's complained.” He remembers his mother's up, and where so many memories were stored. I was a very driver in Jackson and he'd perform on singing when he was young. happy and thankful man.” the radio there picking up money from But an event would occur that would show dates. … There were hard times change his life forever. On Eddy's 11th birthfor Eddy so if he could better himself day, he recounts the toll of the dinner bell in making music, he jumped at the opporthe middle of the day. His father had been tunity.” And opportunity, she did come very sick for several years and Eddy knew a knocking. that the dinner bell being rung at anytime In Jackson, Eddy met Speedy other than “midday meal” meant someone died. As if that roots. He never forgot how fleeting wealth or security McNatt and together they performed on the radio there, loss was not agonizing enough, that fall, Eddy watched as could be. He remained humble until the day he died. and then moved on to Memphis and finally ended up in his family's farm was auctioned off and he and his family Though let's not get ahead of ourselves. For we know St. Louis where they played clubs. The clubs were not of became sharecroppers on the same land they had once Arnold didn't stop at getting that two-horse cultivator, See EDDY, Page 10
Eddy Arnold After singing at Carnegie Hall, 1966
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Courtesy of Eddy Arnold Estate
Eddy and Sally having coffee at home in Brentwood.
Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum
At left, movie poster from Feudin' Rhythm.
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Eddy the highest caliber and some were down right rough. “One night, I was singin' away and some guy walked up to me. He had a little beer left in his glass and he just leaned over and poured that beer right in the little ole hole in my guitar!” When faced with these situations, Arnold kept his cool because he needed the money and the experience. Romantic interests? Lady friends you might say? There was only one, and that was Sally Gayheart. Sally was from a farming family, too and had decided to move to Louisville, Ky. to work in a Woolworth store. Sally would then send money back to her family to help out. It was at the Woolworth soda shop counter where she first met Eddy. By this point in his career, Eddy had met Pee Wee King and was performing with his Golden West Cowboys and they were singing on the radio in Louisville. Eddy had stopped by the soda fountain for a drink. According to Dr. Rumble “he kinda had his eye on [Sally]. And he had met a friend of Sally's and he arranged through that friend for the four of them to have a double date. … And the friend of Sally's had arranged it so that Eddy and Sally would sit in the back seat which is what Eddy wanted.” In 1941, within a year of first meeting, they were married. Pollard believes that Arnold proposed over the phone because he was on the road with work. The Arnolds had two children, JoAnn born December 17, 1945 and Richard
Edward Arnold Jr. born in January of 1948. But work didn't slow down just because he had a family. If anything it was gaining speed. At this point, Eddy was traveling with Pee Wee's group while he was also singing at the Grand Ole Opry. He then joined the very famous Camel Caravan Tour of military bases all over the United States and in Central America. Dr. Rumble maintained “that got Eddy a lot of exposure and PeeWee realized that Eddy would have to go out on his own because he was just so popular. But touring with Pee Wee all over the country and being on the Opry really gave Eddy a leg up so in a way, going with PeeWee was Eddy's big break. But then he struck out on his own in 1943. WSM radio to this day broadcasts the Grand Ole Opry each Saturday night. The station manager at that time was named Harry Stone and he was a great believer in Eddy because Eddy had star power. He had a great voice. He was drawing a tremendous amount of mail. And that's what Harry Stone was trying to do is build up the star system.” Stone had already brought in many stars including PeeWee. “So he wanted to get Eddy on a record label and Stone was in Chicago for a convention. And Harry was talking to Chicago music publisher..., Fred Forester, and …was telling Mr. Forester 'I've got this wonderful young man. I'd really like you to get him a record label.' And Forester said 'Well when he's ready, you just let me know.' and Stone said 'Well, he's ready now.'” Forester talked to Frank Walker at RCA Victor and just on See EDDY, Page 11
Courtesy of Eddy Arnold Estate
Eddy Arnold with his grandfather, Richard Wright, in Chester County.
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Eddy the strength of Forester's word, Walker signed Eddy to a limited contract for a certain number of records. Eddy made his first records at WSM in December of 1944 and “low and behold his early records sold reasonably well and his career was off and running ... and the rest is history. He just recorded hit after hit.” As Eddy's career started to take off, he and Sally purchased a house and traded up cars. In 1945, he recorded “Cattle Call” for the first time. Eddy called 1946 his “golden year” and “the beginning of what I call the Eddy Arnold Years.” He believed that the song “That's How Much I Love You” was where it all began. Over the next four years he recorded several more songs that were destined to become hits: “Bouquet of Roses,” “Anytime” and “I'll Hold You in My Heart.” Soon Eddy was offered a position hosting a part of the Grand Ole Opry and then began to tour in 1946. But the fear of losing it all still played over and over in Eddy's mind. He “got a real satisfaction out of paying off the mortgage on that second house in 1948. ... I didn't like to owe anybody if I could help it.” In 1947, Arnold got his own nationwide show called Checkerboard Square. According to Dr. Rumble at one point “Eddy was on more than 1,000 stations across the United States sponsored by Purina. … So he had this tremendous radio exposure and that's what allowed him to leave the Grand Ole Opry.” In 1948, Arnold did just that and soon performed at El Rancho Vegas. Dr. Rumble explained that once Arnold left the Opry “he was free to book show dates all over the country and not have to get back to the Opry every Saturday night. He was no longer defined strictly in terms of 'Eddy Arnold, Opry Star.' He was 'Eddy Arnold, Star'.” Then came the movie contract. Arnold's agent convinced Eddy to perform in two films to be produced in a three-month period. Eddy really felt he would be a terrible actor but agreed to do the pictures. And so he starred in “Feudin' Rhythm” and “Hoedown.” The movies made money but Eddy said, “it seems odd to me that those pic-
tures didn't kill my career on the spot!” The movies led to a TV appearance on Milton Berle's show. Then he was the summer replacement for the Perry Como television show in 1952 and for Dinah Shore in 1953. While those stints weren't very long, Dr. Rumble calls them “a pioneering achievement.” Even though there had been country music groups on television at the time, Arnold was one of the first solo country music artists to appear. In 1950, Eddy and Sally started building their home in Brentwood, and Eddy's star continued to rise. According to Dr. Rumble, “In 1955, he made his own syndicated series, 'Eddy Arnold Time' and in '56 he was on 'The Eddy Arnold Show' … so he was definitely a pioneer in country music TV.” Arnold returned to play in Las Vegas, and then in 1966 Arnold played Carnegie Hall. Arnold was not the first country performer to play Carnegie Hall. Several solo country acts performed there before him and the Grand Ole Opry had staged multi-performer acts in the years leading up to his show there. But that did not take away from what a milestone it was for Arnold. Eddy recalled, “I returned to Tennessee after the concert, and I remember walking along the wooded ridge behind my home and reaching out with my heart to the distant hills and valleys where I grew up, and where so many memories were stored. I was a very happy and thankful man.” As to Arnold's hit records, Dr. Rumble asserts that Arnold's song “Bouquet of Roses” was on the Billboard Charts for 54 weeks; 19 of those weeks at number one. It became a number 13 pop hit. Within that same year he had another number 13 pop hit with “Just a Little Lovin’ Will Go A Long Way.” “Eddy had 147 chart records. I don't want to say well that's more than anybody, but (chuckling) I mean how many do you need? I added it up. His recordings span a total of 143 weeks at number one. He was in charts in seven successive decades and I don't know anybody in country music who did that. … You know, the man did sell some records and had an incredible chart presence.” But time marches on and tastes change. How did Eddy Arnold stay fresh and current with his music? Eddy reinSee EDDY, Page 12
Chester County Independent archives, April 5, 1952
Poster from Arnold's benefit performance for Chester County Tornado victims.
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Eddy vented himself outwardly, stayed true to his bread and butter love song style, and invented Nashville Sound to accompany his romantic lyrics. Dr. Don Cusic, author of “Eddy Arnold: I'll Hold You In My Heart,” suggests that Arnold reinvented himself with the help of Jerry Purcell. Purcell took him to a tailor and got him custom made tuxedos to perform in. “I remember Eddy Arnold saying, 'You know I could buy several suits for this.' You know the amount of money he was spending. But Jerry wanted him to be a class act and guided his career in the 60's with that.” Dr. Rumble adds “In the mid 50's [Arnold] pretty much dropped the steel guitar and the fiddle and he started using strings, violins... . And I know... he rerecorded 'The Cattle Call' in ‘55 with strings which he hadn't done that before. But in 1953, that's when he recorded 'I Really Don't Want to Know.'
It entered the charts January 9, 1954, went to number one, and was on the charts 37 weeks. Now in that song, accompaniment is very sparse and there are male background singers and the documents we have from RCA don't really say who they are. But that record really points toward the sound that Eddy wound up with. You know, the really laid back country-pop Nashville Sound developed in the late '50's and '60s which was emphasizing the very smooth pop leaning vocals, … pretty much dropped the steel, country fiddle replaced by string sections, vocal background groups, very sparse fills by lead guitar, piano, just a really solid, unobtrusive rhythm section. Eddy just made some really great examples of the Nashville Sound.” Dr. Rumble emphasizes that repackaging Arnold didn't change who he was “... Just because Eddy put on a tux, that didn't change the essence of who Eddy was. He got to you with sincerity, with authenticity, with conveying the emotion of the song to the audience and entertaining them. Not just 'well I'm going to sing this song, watch me sing
this and let's see how good my voice is.' It was all about getting the audience to feel what he felt as he sang the songs. If you were around him, you very quickly found out Eddy could be a really emotional guy. … As Eddy Arnold said 'there's a difference between just being a singer who gets up to the microphone and sings and being a performer who engages the audience and entertains them and draws the audience in.' And that's what Eddy was; … a performer.” And Eddy won award after award. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. He was awarded Entertainer of the Year in 1967 and received the Pioneer Award in 1984 from the Academy of Country Music. By 1992 he had sold 85 million records and had 145 weeks of No. 1 songs (more than any other artist at that time). The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences inducted the recording “Make the World Go Away” into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2000, Arnold was presented Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum
See EDDY, Page 17
Movie Poster from Feudin' Rhythm.
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Henderson/Chester County Chamber of Commerce 35th Annual Barbeque Festival Sept. 27-29, 2012 Thursday, Sept. 27 10:00 a.m. – BBQ ready to sell Live Music – Gospel Night 4:00 p.m. – Sara Powers 4:30 p.m. – Bonnie Eagle 5:00 p.m. – Bobby Hughes 5:30 p.m. – Christ Community Church 6:00 p.m. – Liberty Grove “The Grove” 6:45 p.m. – The Springs Praise Team 7:15 p.m. – Redemption, The Highlands Church
Friday, Sept. 28 10:00 a.m. – BBQ ready to sell Live Music 1:30 p.m. – Thomas Maness and Family 2:00 p.m. – Max Brown and Dianne Brown 3:00 p.m. – Bradley Holloway 4:00 p.m. – Kimberlie Helton School of Voice 5:15 p.m. – Girl Scouts
6:00 p.m. – Megan Jordan 7:00 p.m. – Thomas Media Youth Talent Show
Saturday, Sept. 29 9:00 a.m. -- Pig Trot 5K Race NoXcuse Fitness -- Cagle Memorial Bike Tour NoXcuse Fitness 10:00 a.m. – BBQ ready to sell 10:00 a.m. – Pet Show, sponsored by The Chester County Independent 12 noon – Praise Kids from First Baptist Church 12:30 p.m. – Anna Faith Howell 1:00 p.m. – Elisabeth Hibbett/ Hannah Frank/Sydney Frank 1:30 p.m. – Abbie Bayless 2:15 p.m. – Ashley Mitchell 3:00 p.m. – Thomas Media Adult Division Talent Show 6:00 p.m. – Kimberlie Helton Band
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Eddy the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton and in 2005 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy. But Dr. Rumble maintains “[Eddy] was dignified but he wasn't some stiff stuffed shirt. He was so down to earth.” Dr. Cusic adds that Arnold was “a very nice person. He was very much a gentleman., very professional. Had a lot of integrity with his music. Always very much the southern gentleman. Very diplomatic. Very polite. The word 'gentleman' just stands out above everything.” And Arnold never forgot Chester County. Even in the midst of his success, when Chester County was hurting, he was there. In 1952, when the county was tragically struck by a tornado, Arnold phoned a local attorney to ask if there was anything he could do. Arnold came up with the idea of a benefit for the tornado victims and he gathered other artists and headed home to help. They played for donations and raised more than $2,600. In his book, Arnold reminisces about that time and says, “I still have some of the letters people wrote me at that time-nice letters, homey and from the heart.” Every time Arnold came to town he was well received. He was honored at a lunch held by Freed Hardeman University and used to travel back to the Henderson area for family gatherings and funerals. Pollard thinks that Arnold “always had a really soft spot in his heart for Chester County and he was always proud to go back.” Especially as he got toward the latter years, it seemed to be more important for him to go back and try to rekindle some of the relationship with his family. “It made him very emotional every time we went back. ... You could tell there was real love there for where he was from. And he was proud to show me these places he grew up.” Pollard remembers one trip in particular. “He came down there one time. … We were actually trying to find his grandfather's grave. And he actually wanted to go visit City Hall because that was part of our quest to find this grave because he thought it was in the City Cemetery and ended up not
being. So we went over to City Hall and walked in and this was just completely unannounced. And, you know, here's Eddy Arnold in City Hall and the Mayor … he happened to be there so we ended up hopping in the car with the former Mayor and driving around Chester County, stopping at a place, I think it was called Arnold's actually, for lunch. And it was interesting because I think word had started to kind of spread around because I noticed the President of Freed Hardeman
showed up all of a sudden and all these people were kind of coming out of the
ther and shared that while Arnold tried to shield his family from the music industry, he still had many friends who were a part of it. Pollard recalls meeting Andy Griffin, Owen Bradley, Harold Bradley, Chet Atkins, and Johnny Cash. Pollard loved grabbing lunch with his grandfather when Arnold got together with Cowboy Jack Clement or Cash. Eddy Arnold fell and broke his hip in 2008. He was taken to the hospital, but See EDDY, Page 18
“He always had a really soft spot in his heart for Chester County and he was always proud to go back.” Shannon Pollard Speaking of his grandfather Eddy Arnold woodwork at the restaurant. But he enjoyed talking to everybody. And we spent the whole day there.” Pollard was very close to his grandfa-
Photo taken by Henry Flores, U.S. Army; courtesy of Eddy Arnold Estate
Eddy Arnold arriving in San Antonio March 6, 1967, to entertain wounded troops in a nearby hospital.
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Eddy while he was there Sally died in the health care facility she had been in. Eddy was crushed by the loss of his lifelong love. Dr. Cusic remembers, “Once he broke the hip, he never really got out of the hospital again. He was pretty devastated. He came to the funeral. ... He came to the service, but then he didn't go out to the graveyard.” Arnold died in May 2008, only two months after his beloved wife. Even in death, Arnold had a style and grace all his own. Arnold was the first person to have a public viewing as he lay in state in the Hall of Fame rotunda. Dr. Rumble recalls on one of Arnold's visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum “... Eddy walking into the rotunda and looking around and I don't think he necessarily said anything but I kinda figured what he might be thinking about because he
was getting up there in years. And I knew that he was doing his estate planning, you know making adjustments to his will and what all he was going to do with his money. … But I think that he thought it would be appropriate and it was appropriate. I mean he was a pioneer and a figure of great stature not just in country music but in the American music industry.” How would Eddy Arnold want to be remembered? Dr. Rumble feels, “he would want to be remembered as a performer who used his talent to entertain his audiences. Which he did. He reached millions of people and ... he certainly gave them their money's worth. And I think he'd also want to be remembered as … a recording artist who made classic recordings for the ages that will still be enjoyed decades from now.” According to Dr. Cusic, Arnold would want to be remembered as “a great singer. I really think as a great singer of love songs. I think that's See EDDY, Page 19
Courtesy of Eddy Arnold Estate
Eddy Arnold with his family at the Purina Farm. Little Dickie Arnold is enjoying himself.
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Eddy how he would want to be remembered.” Pollard sums it up, “I think what he wanted to leave to country music was the idea that you have two identifiable styles of music he influenced. I think he really enjoyed the fact that he was able to bring
country music into the homes of people that wouldn't have necessarily picked up a country music record before.” He would say that his greatest legacy was taking country music out of the South and spreading it worldwide. So as you enjoy the BBQ Festival this year with those young and old vying for the chance to make a name for themselves in the music industry, remember, once, long ago, there was a sharecropper
from right here in Chester County who had a voice like no other. He rose to stardom but it never went to his head. He raised a family fiercely protected from all the sordid parts of the industry and was known as a gentleman until the day he died. And though the fame and fortune change some people, it never had the same allure to Eddy. Eddy Arnold once said, “Sometimes I stand at the window and look down at the streets and the peo-
ple, and I find my heart returning to the few things that lay claim on my memory a patch of land near Henderson, Tenn., the simple good at WSM and the 'Grand Ole Opry.’” * Eddy Arnold authored “It's a Long Way from Chester County” published by Hewitt House, A Division of Fleming H. Revell Company in 1969. Quotes from Arnold came from his book, unless otherwise noted.
Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum
Eddy Arnold and his family.
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Metric Century Bike Tour to memorialize Dennis Cagle The first Dennis Cagle Memorial Metric Century Bike Tour is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29, and originates from NoXcuse Fitness on Front St. in Henderson. Cagle, a Henderson Police officer, was shot while stopping an armed robbery at Save-A-Lot grocery store in Henderson, in December 2009. Cagle later died from those injuries. After his death, Cagle’s wife Judy started the Dennis Cagle Scholarship Fund which is awarded each year to high school students. Proceeds from the bicycle ride will go towards the Cagle Scholarship Fund. The tour across southwest Tennessee is a bicycle ride through Tennessee’s state parks and scenic roads. After leaving NoXcuse it proceeds through downtown Henderson in a parade fashion led by friends and colleagues of Captain Cagle. It then proceeds through the back roads of Chester County. Ride routes will be 15, 32, 45 and 62 miles. This metric ride is expected to be one of the most challenging rides in West
Tennessee. For more information or to register, contact Ashley Heathcock at 731-4351016.
The Annual Pig Trot will also be held this year, beginning at NoXcuse Fitness on Saturday morning. Entry forms may be picked up at NoXcuse.
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Young phenom offers tips to tweens, teens with big dreams If you have a vision and a talent, don’t ignore it. At least that’s what Sydney Rose, 20, has learned. The singer/songwriter whose debut pop single, “Breaking Rules,” hit No. 23 on the national radio Top 40 chart in Sept., says she tried to put her dream on hold – and couldn’t. “I’ve been in love with music all my life,” says Rose (www.sydneyrosemusic.com). “I’ve learned it’s an important part of who I am and you can’t ignore that, no matter what your age.” Rose grew up honing her singing skills, then learning guitar (“My first chord was D”) and dancing. She overcame any lingering shyness about performing before audiences by joining two other girls in a pop/dance group called Rosemadayne. But when it came time to attend college, she decided it was best to put her dream on a back burner. “I was afraid,” she says. “I wanted to
experience college without the pressure of a music career, but I actually felt more pressure without my dream and I knew I had to nurture that passion that is so a part of me.” That’s when she wrote her newest album, “Rise,” an up-tempo celebration of life. It’s getting airplay on radio stations across the country, a development that never ceases to amaze and delight the rising star. “Listening to myself on the planet 96.7 right at this moment!!!” she posted recently on Twitter (@itssydneyrose). “This is surreal!!!! #bestdayeverever.” Rose offers tips for other young people who are determined to follow their dreams: • Get your support team together: Whether it’s parents, other family members, friends or teachers, you’ll need people who encourage and help guide you. Coaches, mentors or instructors can help you improve – because no matter what your talent and how much of it you’ve got,
you can always expand your abilities with help. Depending on your age, that may require financial and transportation support. “I started voice lessons when I was a tween, and to this day I get intensive voice training,” Rose says. “But the more skills you have, the better, so I also started working on dance when I was 13 years old. No matter what type of creative talent you have – singing, acting, writing or painting – if you want to become a professional, you need training.” Anyone who is supportive in your life, including friends, other family members and teachers, are reminders of why dreams matter to you. • Set realistic goals: You may dream of being in the movies or on TV, but don’t expect to start there! “I happily performed at bar and bat mitzvahs (bonus! – I met my manager through those), book stores, Best Buy stores, and at my vocal school,” Sydney says. “These were great opportunities to get used to being in front of live audiences and learning how to interact with the audience.” The smaller
goals are there for you to reach the bigger ones – Rome was not built overnight, she says. Those who are supportive will remind you of the big picture. • Remember, it’s OK to be scared: Doing something for the first time can be really scary, and it’s perfectly normal to be nervous. But don’t let that stop you from getting out there and trying! “From experience, I know that almost anything that seems scary the first time gets much easier, and less scary, every time you do it,” Sydney says. “Don’t let fear keep you from ever taking the next step.” • Have fun! “With ‘Rise,’ I wrote songs that are fun and upbeat. I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this for the rest of my life, I have to have an amazing time. Right?’ she says. Part of what has helped the album’s success is that she was genuinely happy and having a good time when she recorded it. No matter what you’re doing, your true emotions tend to color your work – they’re hard to hide, so work with them.
Page 22 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, September 27, 2012
Through the years – bigger and better: BBQ Festival celebrates 35th year By Holly Roeder Staff Writer
The first ever Chester County Barbecue Festival, June 23 and 24, 1978, drew thousands of local residents and visitors according to the June 29, 1978 edition of the Independent. Juanita Canada had presented an idea to the Jaycees for a community project, “something to involve everyone,” Canada said. “Everybody loved barbecue and that’s what Mr. Howard was known for, so that’s what they did.” The first barbecue was prepared on the court square by Bill Howard who, along with his wife, Helen, were later invited to participate in the 1986 Smithsonian Institutes annual Festival of American Folklore in Washington, D.C. The two proudly attended and taught the rest of the country a little something about barbecue and homemade chess pie. Chester County lost Mr. Howard on Nov. 19, 2006 at 94-years of age, but his memory will forever be preserved through the time-
honored traditions of the Chester County Barbecue Festival. Other features of the first annual barbecue included a sidewalk sale down Main Street, an arts and crafts exhibit, and a parade. The highlight of the event was a performance by Dale Evans, the 65-year-old wife of Western Star Roy Rogers. Evans was honored with a special luncheon and Mayor Gene Record presented her with a key to the city. When all was said and done that first year, it was deemed to be a success and the Jaycees began planning for the next year’s festival. Country comedian Cotton Ivy made an appearance at the second annual barbecue festival. Also on the agenda for the weekend was the Lions’ Club Pancake Breakfast, at the Senior Citizens Center, sponsored by the Henderson Civitan Club, and the Little Mr. and Miss Barbecue pageant, at Williams Auditorium, sponsored by the Chester
Jimmy Melton and 45RPM headlined the 2011 BBQ Festival. This year, The Kimberlie Helton Band will take center stage on Saturday evening.
County Young Democrats. Friday’s activities included a street dance held in the parking lot behind the Public Safety Building. Saturday brought a parade through downtown Henderson and live entertainment on court square. In conjunction with the Barbecue Festival, the Lions Club held their annual Horse Show on Saturday night that year. The third annual Chester County Barbecue Festival was held July 10-12, 1980. Activities included the arts and crafts fair, pageant, Reid’s World of Fun Shows from Gleason, which provided rides and game concessions, a carnival, the pancake breakfast, the Country Time Parade (wagons, horses and antique cars) and live entertainment. Thursday, July 16, 1981 Chester County Independent headlines read “Annual Festival Termed Biggest, Best.” Fried pies by the Senior Citizens and the BPW Club were a hit and quickly sold out. For the Third Annual Barbecue Festival, festival-goers were able to participate in the Hog Jog (a 10,000-meter race), the tobacco-spitting contest, the Civitan breakfast, a concert, Lion’s Club Horse Show, and for the first time, an Antique Car Show. As early as the fourth year the Jaycees began to see a need for a new
location to allow for growth of the festival. The Barbecue Festival’s fifth year fell during Chester County’s Centennial celebration. Opening day of the barbecue festival included an arts and crafts fair and a carnival on court square. A pancake breakfast was held on Saturday in addition to the craft fair and carnival, as well as the antique car show, live entertainment and a tobacco-spitting contest. Centennial events held the same day included oldfashioned stump speeches by local and state politicians, hot air balloon rides, burying of the time capsule, and special exhibits of centennial artifacts. Barbecue fest 1982 concluded with a street dance featuring Mercury recording artist Rayburn Anthony. Master Chef, Bill Howard, once again prepared the main event, the barbecue. The Thursday night gospel concert was welcomed in 1986, the Ninth Annual Barbecue Festival. This event was a big hit and continues to be much anticipated year after year. The Chamber of Commerce took over sponsorship of the festival in 1990. It boasted “something for everyone – from beauty queens to a light show, from See 35th YEAR, Page 23
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35th Year revved up trucks to gospel music – and to top it all, delicious whole hog barbecue,” according to the June 28, 1990 edition of the Chester County Independent. The schedule of events included gospel singing, pageants, lip sync contest, street dance, a truck show (with categories such as full truck, mini-truck, best paint, best interior, best engine, etc., and a Crank-It Contest), talent show, bench press, OldTime Politician Stump Speaking, and the Civitan’s pancake breakfast. New for the 13th festival was a Light and Sound show during the Thursday night dance and a carnival for the kids on the Courthouse lawn. Twenty-six whole hogs, 1,000 pounds of ribs, 400 whole chickens, a bake-off, pageants, a parade (with Lt. Gov. John Wilder, Sheriff Eric Bell, mayor Eddy Patterson, County Executive Anthony Bolton, State Rep. Page Walley and U. S. Rep. Ed Bryant participating), Bench Press Competition, Kiddie Tractor Pull, Hog Calling, Team Penning, Car Show, and 5K Pig Trot, all made up the 18th Annual Barbecue Festival in 1995.
1996 found the 19th Annual Barbecue Festival in September for the first time. The festival was moved to September to attempt to avoid the mid-summer heat. Along with the cooler weather, however, came winds and rain. Nonetheless, the barbecue sold. The events that could were moved indoors. Through it all, the year was again deemed a success, with no complaints. Chester County welcomed the year 2000 with the 23rd Annual Barbecue Festival. Despite congestion caused by the addition of a stoplight at White Avenue and Main Street, the crowds came as the barbecue went. Attendees welcomed a performance by Scott Tripp, a magician, juggler and fire-eater, and Dave Mitchell, ventriloquist and magician. The 24th Barbecue Festival boasted more vendors and more entertainment, with vendors selling everything from African headdresses to lemonade. What more can you squeeze onto the Courthouse Lawn? The 29th Annual Barbecue Festival added inflatable slides and jumping amusements. That was about all as the festival spilled over onto Front Street with the first ever carnival See 35th YEAR, Page 24
The BBQ Pit is always the focal point of the BBQ Festival, from the cooking of the barbeque to the first sandwich sold (above).
Page 24 CHESTER COUNTY INDEPENDENT • Thursday, September 27, 2012
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35th Year rides and fifth annual Antique Radio Swap Meet. Thursday’s Gospel Night filled the Courthouse lawn with spectators at standing-room-only seeking to have their sprits lifted by groups like the Pinson Lighthouse Apostolic Youth Choir, the Highlands Band, Cassie and Courtney Wilson, and three generations of the Thomas Maness Family.
In 2007, Master Chef Richard Leath barbequed 27 whole hogs, 210 racks of ribs, and 360 chickens, and in 2009, the Chamber opted to expand the festival grounds into the downtown area and closed a portion of Main Street and Cason Ave., where vendor space continues to be high in demand. Always trying to think bigger and better, the Chamber continuously “ups the ante” trying to outdo their own efforts. As a result, the 2012 festival is sure to offer lots of old favorites as well as a few new.
The Hog Calling Competition is always popular during the BBQ Festival.
Bill Howard (right) was Chester County’s first pit master. His barbeque was so famous that he went to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate West Tennessee barbeque cooking at the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklore in 1986.
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