LeMars, Iowa…..”When the ‘Rural Roots Music Commission’ was organized in 1980, we had no idea we would be able to expand the purpose, or the interest, into such a large arena of music appreciation.”  Bob Everhart is President of the National Traditional Country Music Association.  “We started what might be called our ‘music protection’ society in 1975, which eventually became the NTCMA.  We quickly realized that the very slow process of placing recognition and honor on those that have made a lasting impression on country music, was leaving a huge amount of worthwhile contributors without recognition.  That was the beginning of the Rural Roots Music Commission.  We also had to find a way to distinguish what we do, so we began labeling the musical genre ‘rural country,’ so as not to be confused with present day country music,” Everhart said. “Only a handful of those that have made significant contributions to this particular kind of music, were being honored.  We decided to seek out recording artists, performers, instrumentalists, songwriters, producers, promoters, even media specialists, that have been successful in ‘rural country music’ by making annual awards at the convention and festival promoted by the National Traditional Country Music Association.  And, we decided to do this on several different levels of interest, Local, State-Wide, Regional, National, and International.  In other words, we were, and are, dedicated to finding the very best participants in all areas of this genre of music.”
     Everhart went on to say, “We honor contributors to ‘rural country’ music in two ways now.  Some are inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame which is located in the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita, Iowa. Others, especially those active in ‘recording’ rural country music, receive recognition from the Rural Roots Music Commission.  The latter process requires a review of CDs recorded and made available to the public, prior to the festival which takes place this year August 29-September 4th, at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa.  CD’s received are reviewed in Tradition Magazine, the house organ of the NTCMA, and then forwarded to the Rural Roots Music Commission who decide the awards to be made.”
     “There are a number of categories for these honors,” added Everhart.  “We are extremely pleased to announce that Jordan Garner of New South Wales, Australia, will be receiving the RRMC “Junior Country CD of the Year” award this year.  Jordan has recorded a CD he calls “Just Like Slim” in honor of one of Australia’s most legendary country artists.  The award ceremony will take place on Wed., August 31, at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa, on the Main Stage.  The festival runs from Aug 29 through Sept. 4.  Jason will also be on several other programs, including an “Australian Outback Country Show” hosted by Charley Boyter, (who will be inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame), also of New South Wales.  According to Jason’s grandfather, Ray Garner, “I wrote “Just Like Slim” for Jason, because he really does sound like Slim.  Jason is only eight years old, and has been busking at every Tamworth Country Music Festival since he was two years old, and has even been on stage with Tanya Kernighan and Beccy Cole (top Australian country performers).  Jordan is a member of the Australian Bush Balladeers, and also the youngest member of the Blacktown Country Music Club.  Some of his more recent accomplishments has been he took 3rd place at the Bellbird Workers Country Music Club for “Junior Vocal Open” which is for 16-years old and younger.  He also took 3rd place in the “Senior Songwriters For Just Like Slim” at the Steel City Country Music Club, and he took 1st place in the “Sub Junior Vocal” (9 years and younger) also at the Steel City Country Music Club, last year.  Remember, Jordan is only eight years old, and we feel he is doing quite well.  He likes to play soccer, and he’s into drama and swimming, but his ambition is to be a professional country music singer, as well as being a famous guitarist.”
      The festival Jason Garner and his dad will attend, has been going for 36 years.  “We will have well over 600 country music performers at this event,” said Bob Everhart.  “We have ‘ten’ sound stages running for seven days to accomodate them.  9am-midnight every day for seven days seems like a huge production, and it is.  Getting everyone to the proper stage at the proper time can be a scheduling nightmare, however the end result is an absolutely unbelievable gathering of like-minded fans and participants who like their country music to be ‘rural’ in nature.  That means it’s real country music, not rock and roll called country, not heavy metal called country, not jazz called country, not blues called country.  We call it like it is…and it’s ‘rural’ country, the real-deal.  We’re also very pleased we are able to provide a clean non-alcoholic non-drug venue for the fans of this music to come to.  The Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa, is large, and totally flat.  Huge air conditioned buildings for shows, as well as outdoor stages. Great country cookin’ and some of the best Iowa corn-fed beef steaks anyone is likely to ever eat.  LeMars is also home of Bluebunny Ice Cream, the largest ice cream manufacturer in the world, so we combine all the ‘best’ of everything.  Country music, country food, and country ice cream.  You just can’t beat a deal like that, not at the prices we charge.  General admission is $15 per day per person, a seven-day open-gate pass is $60 per person.  This includes everything, all ten stages, and all celebrities.  This year, Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, and Jeannie Seely will be with us.  Bonnie Guitar, the recording artist of “Dark Moon” will also be with us, and well over 600 pickers, singers, players, musicians, and performing artists.  We have excellent RV camping facilities too, with 30-amp hook-ups at $12 a day (no reservations).  A Tipi Village in an old ghost town setting is a great place for ‘jammers’ to gather, and throw in six old time dances in the Dance Hall, and it’s a pretty good deal for the dollar.  We keep telling folks, don’t put all your money in your gas tank to drive hundreds of miles to see one show, come be with us and see a thousand.”
     More information about the NTCMA and the Rural Roots Music Commission, the Pioneer Music Museum, and the annual festival of Agricultural Arts, Crafts, and Rural Lifestyle is available at their website at

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