Every year the Activity Directors Association and Robert and Billie Ferguson put on two Showcase events. These events introduce the Valley’s activity directors to Wintertainers™ that come to the Valley to entertain you. It gives them a chance to get an idea of what the Wintertainers™ are like, a sampling of what they do, and then an opportunity to book these Wintertainers™ for next season, or even the current season if spots are available.
This year’s Showcase was my first opportunity to attend and was stunning. All of the Wintertainers™ were given nine minutes to showcase their best work with montages and medleys that left the audience tapping their toes, singing along, and doubled over in fits of laughter. I left with a rather long list of my own of the Wintertainers™ I plan to go catch their full show or find at a dance the rest of this season. Be sure to look for my husband and I when you are out some Tuesday or Wednesday evening this season.
These Wintertainers™ provided a foot stomping, hand clapping, thumping good time for all present. Our Wintertainers™ may have even enjoyed each other’s performances more than the rest of us. It was a pleasure getting to see these people interact and put faces to so many names.
As current editor of the Winter Texan Times, and having worked for years with the parks calendar, ad layout and page design, I have seen many of the Wintertainers™ names, but never knew what they actually did or had a real image of who they were. There were over 30 Wintertainers™ present.
We were entertained with everything from classic rock to crooners’ standards, from interactive comedy to bluegrass, Minnie Pearl to Elvis, and country to gospel. Kai even left us amazed with the energy of his very own ukulele-country and rock-n-roll fusion – I don’t know if that is what he calls it, but we’ll stick with that for now.
Just some of the Wintertainers™ were Hot Rodz, Dale and Gayle, Hired Hand, Helen Russell and Company, Bill Chrastil, Kody Norris Show, Diego and Edith, Mario Rosales, Hank Williams revisited, Ralph Kuster, Castaway, Trailer Park Patsy, Kai, Rte. 66, Redneck Revival, Tom Wurth, The Hainings, Two Bad Apples and Festus Lives Comedy Show.
Hot Rodz was there with their Classic Rock and songs like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Play That Funky Music.”
Dale and Gayle had a delightful blend of comedy, classic country and gospel with a beautiful “Mary Did You Know.”
Naomi Bristow, the Yodeling Cowgirl, amazed the crowd with her tremendous voice big enough to fill any venue, lending her impressive vocals to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, and gave us a taste of something she recorded with Vince Gil, “How Great Thou Art.” She left us off with some of her impressive yodeling sharing that she taught herself how to yodel at a very young age, and at the still young age of 22, she is growing ever stronger.
Bobbi and Punch from the Punches family are the only two touring now since the “family has grown up.” They performed several songs including “Charlie Brown” and “Elvira.”
Jason Coleman, an extremely talented young man you probably already know, shared the piano music of his grandfather, Floyd Cramer.
Helen Russell and Company entertained with their fast-paced variety and impersonations, and even brought out guest star Little Richard, some banjo picking, and more toe tapping music.
Bill Chrastil, a Valley favorite for his Elvis impersonations, also knows how to liven up the crowd with some other favorites from the time period. He got the crowd involved with his salute to the armed forces medley of US military songs.
Diego and Edith were a fun couple. Edith, just about due with a child, danced, sang and kept the music active while she and her husband sang and performed a mix of classic rock and country music.
Mario Rosales, who sang several crooner songs, has been performing in other areas and shared that even though he loves the Winter Texans, he will be spending less time in the Valley, but we are still blessed to have him here for a few weeks. So be sure to catch him while you can.
Eric Kearns presented his Voices of Legends show. He performed some familiar favorites from Tony Bennet, Chubby Checker and Joe Crocker. He pleased the crowd with his music that ranged from the 50s to 80s.
Redneck Revival was a hoot and a holler. Everyone was left spinning as they tried to follow the twists and turns of a very humorous family tree in “I’m My Own Grandpa” and was delighted to see the familiar beloved character of their very own Minnie Pearl.
Some good ol’ country was performed by High Country Band. Susan Hudson Carmen kept the crowd active with her vocals.
Mike and Nancee of EznDil were fun with their Irish-Ozark blend of music. Fast pickin’, a set of spoons that just won’t be relegated to merely keeping rhythm, fun lyrics, and an Irish flute all came together in this fast-paced montage that is sure to leave everyone wanting more.
Johnny Ray Gomez on the accordion was a blast. While his fingers were quick on his accordion, his wit was even quicker as he engaged his audience – even calling me out when I went to snap a picture.
The Kody Norris Show was a delight. They work together seamlessly like a group that has known, worked and lived together much longer than their years could allow. Their banter and comedic timing were impeccable, and their music was even better.
The Hainings were a joy as well. They are a fun, lively sibling group with great harmony, comedy, interaction with each other and they threw in some yodeling to the mix.
Some entertainers that were a little different in the mix, were Two Bad Apples. They got the crowd clapping to their classic rock and old country songs.
A fun one that ended the day, was Festus Lives Comedy Show. This man has 100 different characters that he can perform. He was a real hoot and had the crowd laughing until they were crying.
These are just a taste of the Wintertainers™ that come to perform for you Winter Texans. Y’all are so privileged to bring this sort of talent to the Valley. These talents perform in other areas during the summer including Nashville and Branson.
It was fun to see these Wintertainers™ and how much they love to perform. They truly have fun in what they do. They enjoy bringing smiles to the crowd.
I invite you to go out there and see these Wintertainers™ when you can. We get some new ones each year.
These guys get booked fast, so let your activity directors know your favorites that you would like to see next year. A lot of these Wintertainers™ are featured on our website, and we add more as we get their information. Visit www.wintertexantimes.com to see who is listed. Also, keep up to date with the paper to see feature stories, schedules and park activities where they might be performing.
I am looking forward to the next showcase, and I know I won’t be disappointed. I am enjoying this new job and all that it entails. I look forward to getting to know you and these Wintertainers™ better.