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Bluegrass festival underway at Lincoln County FairgroundsTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Beverly Merrick
Mike Terry of the Radio Ramblers
Photo by Beverly Merrick
One More River sings gospel
Photo by Beverly Merrick
Duane Sparks of the Radio Ramblers
Photo by Beverly Merrick
Rancher David Hora
Photo by Beverly Merrick
Ben Patch

The entertainment at Nebraska's best bluegrass festival officially began at noon Thursday, with featured acts rotating onstage every 45 minutes through the afternoon and evening. 

The top acoustic musicians in the country perform each year at the festival at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.

The festival concludes Saturday evening with country musicians Wilson and Fairchild capping the show at 10 p.m. Wilson and Fairchild are the sons of two members of the renowned Statler Brothers.

Around the festival on Thursday, Mike Terry, a Kentucky native who plays with The Radio Ramblers, said he has played with bluegrass bands for 12 years. Singer and guitar player Duane Sparks of Richmond, Ind., has also played with the All American Bluegrass Band, a favorite on radio in the Midwest, besides the Radio Ramblers.

In the audience, David Hora, 80, a rancher near Tryon listens to The Radio Ramblers from the first row. Hora owns a 5,000-acre ranch, preferring to work with 10 breeds. He said crossbreeding usually leads to stronger cattle. His favorite breed is Black Angus. He has called the ranch his home all of his life. 

On the bleachers, Korean Veteran Ben Patch, 82, who retired in the Platte Valley near Gering, travels far and wide to attend bluegrass festivals and said the show at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds is one of his favorites.

Patch said Nebraska people are welcoming to visitors. The former New Hampshire native moved to Nebraska to take a job with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. He served as a director of 11 counties for 26 years. He wears a belt proclaiming his loyalty to the Boston Bruins, which he has rooted for for 45 years. His beard has sometimes been so long that it reached his belt, the said.

Talking about being a professional musician, Mike Terry with Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers joined Evan McGregor in noting that long times on the bluegrass road means working with home and family.

Fellow band member Duane Sparks said, "Family makes it work."

On Thursday, volunteer Melody Walker of Maywood, showed the afghan of autumn colors made by Kathy Jacobsen, for a raffle. Carol Schaeffer, of North Platte, showed the blue-and-white afghan made by Lois Beckman. A$5 raffle fee for either afghan will be used to help the show, where the proceeds go to support hospice care.

The following workshops will be held for musicians.
Saturday - 10 am Harmony * High Plains Traditions. 11 am Banjo * Chris Hill.

The schedule:


2  Wilson & Fairchild
      Country duo 
3  Feller and Hill and the  
      Bluegrass Buckaroos
4  The Larry Stephenson Band
4:45  Showcase winner
5  Dinner Break
6pm  Driven
7  High Plains Tradition
8  The Larry Stephenson
8:45  Raffle drawings
9  Feller and Hill and the
      Bluegrass Buckaroos
10  Wilson & Fairchild
      Country duo

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/25/2014
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