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38 Years the Cowboy Way!

Nov 11 | Posted by: Riders In The Sky

Riders In The Sky career odometer has rolled over once again, and we celebrate 38 years of taking Good Beef to Hungry People. How can it possibly be still fresh and fun for us and our audiences? I don’t know, but it is, and that’s what keeps us pushing the herd up and down the twisting trails of this beautiful Western landscape of wacky imagination and pure cowboy music. Here’s a saddlebag full of statistics for the young whippersnapper bands and future historians to shake their heads at and say, “Whoa! This band likes to play!”


Appearances…….6895 (averaging every other day for 38 years)


Miles Traveled…. 4,445,700


Vehicles Driven Past the Point of Recognition…14 (including 3 we actually drove the wheels off of)


Windshields Cracked….every single doggone cotton pickin’ one


Gallons of Fossil Fuel burned….438,696


Years as Members of the Grand Ole Opry….33


States Appeared In…..50


Countries Appeared In…..13


Albums recorded….37


Grammy Winning Albums….2


Unjustly Overlooked Albums…..35






Kids per Wife….1.8




Great Grandkids….1


Elective Surgeries….14


Total Yodels….48,265


Yodels per Appearance…7


Total Yucks Onstage….341,991


Yucks per Appearance….49.6


Total Yucks Offstage……a trillion. Easily.


Number of Times We’ve Been Asked “Where’s Woody?”….”as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore”


Guitar Strings Broken Onstage…..23


Fiddle Bows Broken Onstage……3


Bass Bridges Broken Onstage…..1


Wind Broken Onstage…..7128


Electric Campfires…….5


Autograph Sharpies Worn to a Nub….5,777 (note to Management: Sharpie endorsement deal?)


Times Woody Walked Onstage with His Fly Open….117 (“It’s part of my image.”)


Favorite Business Philosophy…”If they’ve got the dough, we’ve got the show.” (Thanks Ray Benson)


Folks Who Loved the Show and Clamored to See It Again….7,489,233


Folks Who Despised the Show and Threw Beer Bottles at Us….9 (Thanks, beer-sodden Louisville frat boys)


Folks Who Took a Nice Nap During the Show…..18,725 (Ah, those matinee bus tours)


White House Appearances….4


Waffle House Appearances….54 (“Steak and eggs, and a grilled cheese  w/ tomato to go!)


Wacky Diets…..92 (all carbs, no carbs, all meat, no meat, all sugar, no sugar, “nothing but fruit before noon and then you can eat anything you want,” flexatarian, “1/2 gallon butter pecan ice cream per day and that’s it”)


Road Food Obsessions…..211 (chitlins/souse/menudo, Red Hots/Atomic Fireballs, truck stop hot dogs “Just three for me. I’m cutting back,” Gates Kansas City Barbecue “May I help you?,” Joe’s Village Inn Chicago Pizza, RT’s Seafood in Alexandria, that great little roach coach across the street from The Wizard of Bras in Pasadena


Drunken Women Forcibly Ejected from Bus….1


Favorite Introduction…..”So here they are…The Hayseed Pioneers!”


Times We’ve Said “It’s the Cowboy Way!”…..38,940 (And we still mean it.)


Well, there you have it. Thirty-eight years. Seems like a hundred some days, but on most others, when the sound is good, the audience is hot and ready for a good time, and the boys are playing and singing their hearts out, it feels like that first night, Nov. 11, 1977, at Herr Harry’s Phranks ’n’ Steins. Theatrical magic right there by the campfire.


Join us thirty-eight years from today, Saddlepals, when we’ll hear Ranger Doug say “I used to be in Riders In The Sky.” And Too Slim say “Me too. Which one were you?” And Woody say “Ask that lady at the front desk. She’ll tell you.” And Joey say “Where’s Woody?”

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