Tonight at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock,TX, Lisa and I will join a great many others in congratulating our friend, Red Steagall as he is honored with the Boss of the Plains award. As we celebrate his life, achievements and contributions to the RHC and the ranching industry as a whole it is apparent that Red has meant so much to so many. To say that Red has been important in my life and career would be an understatement along the lines of “Texas is big”. So for this Texas cowpuncher turned western singer and entertainer I think it’s best to say it like this:
It has been a long trail, mi compadre and you’ve been there along with me every step of the way. Why, when I was just a kid I remember hearing you on my little transistor radio on those cold frosty mornings as I ran my Dallas morning news paper route. Later you kept me & my running mates company as we listened to you on “8 track tapes” while we chased our high school rodeo dreams. And who can forget those great rodeo dances & places like the Longhorn Ballroom, Panther Hall, the Fort Worth Stockyards & NFR in OKC.
Since then our trails have crossed, connected & run together many times. I have been blessed to call you friend, employer, mentor, peer, co-writer, pard & in many ways a father-figure. You’ve never been stingy about sharing the stage & spotlight or your vast knowledge of the music business. Many of the things you have taught me have been by example. Yes, things like the way you treat your fans, fellow performers, & audiences. The way you have used your expansive career to help those around you. These are just a few of the things I attempt to emulate. One of the most important things you have taught me is how a man stands up for his faith & his convictions. You have always done this with such impeccable class and non-apologetic authority.
Many people both here and abroad have asked, how I went from a cowpuncher to entertainer and how I’ve managed to get where I am now. I always smile & say, “Well, you can’t get there alone, you gotta have good friends”. I finish by saying that I was told early to pick out the best and learn from them. Red, that’s just what I’ve done because you are the best. Many thanks Red for all you’ve done for me, for all you’ve done for the Ranching Heritage Center and everyone on our industry.
What would you say to your hero if you had the chance?