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March 16, 1998-
November 19, 2005

                       
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Ron Lutz



In the Presence of a Legend

The first time Ron called Midnight Country he asked in a deep voice "How long you been doing Country son?" Fortunately Ron called a couple of more times before he told me he was a retired Country DJ of 43 years. If Ron had told me this the first time I might have fainted right there in the studio. Needless to say I was still awe struck when I found out. Anyone who did for 43 years what I had dreamed all my life of doing is certainly my hero and Ron calling my show was the ultimate compliment. Ron was a DJ at KFAL 900 AM for 38 years and for 5 years prior to that at stations in Brookfield and Moberly. Ron retired in 1995. Ron and his Rooster Creek Boys still do a live Country Music show called the "Rooster Creek Show" every Saturday from 11:25-11:55 AM on KFAL 900 AM in Fulton. The Rooster Creek Show is the second oldest live radio show in the country, second only to the Grand Ole Opry. Ron ran across Midnight Country one night when he couldn't sleep after his dear wife Mary had passed away. It always makes my night when I hear "Sounding awfully good tonight son" on the requests lines. Few late night DJ's are as blessed as I am to have the Legendary Ron Lutz as a faithful listener to Midnight Country.

Ron Is a Member of the
Country Music Showcase International
Hall of Fame!

Learn more about this Country Music Icon in the following biography written by Ron's friend Howard Hinkley.

MY FRIEND - RON LUTZ
by Howard Hinkley

For thirty-eight years one of the best known names in Callaway county and surrounding areas was RON LUTZ. When that big, deep, booming voice came through your radio on KFAL you knew it was Ron. People used to arrange their schedules to be free to hear "Ron's Ranch", Ron's daily country music show, where he played real country music. It's the same with the "Rooster Creek Show." In the "Kingdom of Callaway" you just don't miss the "Rooster Creek Show". I can remember Ron, Bob Haywood and Ambrose Haley, and so many others, coming to my house for a jam session. The 'jam' was adult beverages and the 'session' was good ol' country music.

He's 6'6", weighs 425 lbs., 80 years young and still going strong! Ron was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1928. The story goes around that he was such a big baby when he was born that it took two full days to celebrate his birth. He still tries to get by with celebrating his birthday for two days each year.

Ron has the honor of having the longest running radio show in the country, except for the Grand Ol' Opry. Ron's "Rooster Creek Show" has been on the air every Saturday morning for more than fifty years. It's still running today on KFAL Radio, in Fulton, Missouri and even still has one of its original sponsors.

Ron's radio career started in Brookfield and Moberly, Missouri. He worked at the radio stations there for about five years. Ron read in a trade paper that KFAL Radio in Fulton, Mo. was looking for a full time DJ. He applied for the job, which started out paying $80 a week, and got it. He retired thirty-eight years later from KFAL on August 25, 1995.

Shortly after Ron started working for KFAL he was doing a lot of dances and needed to get the word out. He asked the station manager if he could put on a live radio show on Saturday mornings to promote his dances. He said it wouldn't cost the station anything. The was the beginning of the "Rooster Creek Show". The show is done live with no rehearsal - just Ron and a bunch of local pickers, sitting around the mike, jokin', pickin' and singin' the 'old country goodies'. Sometimes the pickers weren't local - many times young people from the University of Missouri st Columbia came up to the "Rooster Creek Show". They knew how to play but they wanted to learn how to play 'country'.

Ron, George Rutherford, Seth Bradley and Loren Gordon, better known as Cousin Loren, were the original "Rooster Creek Boys". Ron said he had the utmost respect for these guys and learned so much from them. Seth Bradley played the fiddle and Ambrose Haley was an old vaudeville entertainer, a roving minstrel. Ambrose toured the country playing bass, guitar and singing with his real high tenor voice. He was in his sixties or seventies at that time - quite a character.

He was also a piano tuner. He stayed busy just going here and there. Ambrose would stay at Seth Bradley's place on his rounds. There was an old rock house there where Ambrose had his bed. He had friends and places like that all over, so he wouldn't have to pay for a motel room. Seth and Ron were the best of friends. They would sit out beneath the stars and listen to the frogs and crickets and pick music.

One night Ambrose and Seth decided they would go into the chicken business so they ordered 150 straight run chickens. It seemed as if they'd waited forever but finally they came, in a box full of holes. Seth and Ambrose were so excited! They went to town and bought chicken food and all the supplies they would need. They babied the chickens, just as if they'd sat on the eggs and kep them warm until they were hatched. After a few short weeks the chickens started to feather out.

Ron said in early May or June he went down one morning to go squirrel hunting. There was a small bluff along the creek where Ambrose and Seth lived. Before Ron got to the bluff he drove around the corner up on Auxvasse Creek. He pulled over just as the sun was coming up. It was such a beautiful sunrise the he just parked and shut the motor off to capture the moment of such a glorious morning. When he shut the motor off the peace and quiet of the countryside fell by the wayside. He heard the biggest racket he'd ever heard in his life. He got out and looked on the side of that bluff. There was 137 young roosters, all learning how to crow at the same time.

Ron then went to the house and told Seth and Ambrose about the chickens. Seth looked at Ambrose and remarked, "I think I know what 'straight run' chickens means." Ron said, "Boys, I've got a name for the show! The "Rooster Creek Show"! They voted and the name has stuck for more than fifty years. They didn't have many eggs to eat that fall but sure had a lot of fried chicken.

Seth had a soft spot for animals. He had a little dog that rode around with him, always sitting in the back seat, every place he went - he was his buddy. It was also Seth's habit to stop at the Hams Prairie store and get a little refreshment on his way home. Seth had driven just a short way when he started smelling this gawd awful 'fragrance'. He reach back and slapped his dog. The smell kept getting more horrendous. He kept slapping the dog. Finally, it was more than he could stand. He stopped and put the dog out (yes, he later got the dog back). He looked the car all over and couldn't find where the dog had left his calling card. Unknown to Seth, when he was stopped at the store some 'friends' had put some limburger cheese on the manifold of his car. Seth never could get the smell out of his car. He finally ended up having to sell the car.

Ron remembers his first live-on-air interview with major stars. The manager of the radio station told Ron the some stars were in town and asked if he'd like to interview them. Of course Ron said yes. Ron says he almost fainted when Jeannie Shepard, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Porter Wagoner and Cowboy Copas walked into the studio. That was just the first of many stars he interviewed live-on-air. Ron worked with a lot of stars and became close friends with them. Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadors stopped by KFAL one day. That was the beginning of a life long friendship between Ron and Ernest.

Ron was also close friends with Tex Ritter, whom he'd met in Nashville, Tn. When Tex recorded his hit song, 'Hillbilly Heaven', he sent Ron a copy of it. Ron's name was listed, along with many others, that would go to 'Hillbilly Heaven' in the next 100 years.
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Be sure and listen to my conversations with Ron from the show.










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It is fascinating to talk with Ron because he has so many stories to tell. He talks about the time he, Tex and a bunch of other stars went to Tex's hotel room after the Opry. Tex smoked his pipe, they drank some of Tennessee's finest, picked and sang and had a great time. Much later that evening the party broke up and they all went back to the own rooms. About an hour later the fire alarms went off. There was smoke all over the place! Tex had put his pipe in his coat pocket and forgot to put it out. No real damage was done but they all rode Tex pretty hard about that fire for years.

Ron was married to a sweet, little redheaded woman for fifty-three years and they had three daughters, Vickie, Beckie and Chrisi. His beloved wife died on April 2, 2003. That was the saddest day of Ron's life. He had Mary laid to rest on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. That seems quite appropriate because Ron always said that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri.

Ron didn't always take the time to tell his family all of his friends names. He laughs about the time his phone rang early in the morning. His daughter, Vickie, answered it. A voice asked to speak to Ron. Like a good little girl would do, she asked who was calling. The voice said it was Tex Ritter. Tex tried real hard to convince her he really was 'the' Tex Ritter. Vickie went to her Dad and told him, "Dad, one of your pickin' buddies is trying to convince me he's Tex Ritter, but I know better. Of course it was Tex Ritter. After that incident, it was easy to talk to Ron if Vickie answered the phone.

John Hartford came to town pretty down and out on his luck. Ron got John a job at KFAL and let him stay at his home for a while. John went on to write, 'Gentle On My Mind', which turned out to be a #1 hit for Glen Campbell. About three months before John died he came down to visit Ron and brought his entire band. They sat in with the "Rooster Creek Boys."

One night Ron couldn't sleep and he was passing the time by turning the radio dial. He ran across "Midnight Country" on KOPN Radio in Columbia, Missouri. He heard a young DJ playing all the old stuff Ron used to play and loved. The first time Ron called Midnight Country he asked in a deep voice "How long you been doing Country son?" Fortunately Ron called a couple of more times before he told Woody he was a retired Country DJ of 42+ years. If Ron had told Woody this the first time he might have fainted right there in the studio. Needless to say Woody was still awe struck when he found out.

Woody has talked to Ron live on his show several times and Ron calls every week or so. Ron has been a great help to Woody. Ron appreciates a man like Woody, that is on the radio 'live' and even 'takes requests' and talks to listeners. A live DJ and getting a request played is almost unheard of anymore.

Woody looks to Ron like a father figure. Woody's own father died in 1997. Ron talks to Woody about how he'd have to get up and go to the shelf, look up and pull out his next record before the one he had playing was over. Woody is amazed that was possible. Woody says he is still aw struck at having met and being friends with a guy that has done for forty-three years, and become a legend in the process, what Woody has wanted to do all of his life. Ron said Woody's show was the first radio show he'd ever called. I think we've got in these two men a mutual admiration society.

At the ripe old age of seventy-nine Ron recorded his first CD. It's called 'Jack of Diamonds'. At this age Ron still has that big ol' deep booming voice he had when I first met him in the early sixties. I guess that just goes to prove you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Ron put me on the "Rooster Creek Show". I was just a teenager at that time. Being on his show was such a big deal to me. I went on to record in Nashville, be on stage and television and work with the stars. All of those things were great, but none was a bigger honor than having Ron Lutz put me on the "Rooster Creek Show." Ron has been such a help to so many of us over the years. Thanks so much, Ron.

Ron plays guitar, harmonica, trumpet, auto harp and he sings a great country song. Ron's radio show on KFAL every afternoon was called 'Ron's Ranch'. He used Chubby Wise's recording of the old fiddle song, 'Lost Indian' as his theme song. Later in his career Ron got to be in session with Chubby in Nashville.

In July, 2008, Ron was inducted into the Country Music Showcase International HALL OF FAME. It was my honor, as a member of the Hall of Fame, and as a representative of the Hall of Fame, to present his Certificate of Induction to him at his home in Fulton, Mo. His daughters and other friends were present. I was proud to be a part of helping Ron get a little of the recognition he deserves. I want to thank Woody Adkins for all his help. Ron doesn't realize what a part of country music history he is. Ron has been a friend to country music for forty-three years as a DJ and years before as a country picker and singer, doing shows and dances all over the Midwest.

I'm sure these "Rooster Creek Boys" that have gone on to 'Hillbilly Heaven' would be so pleased to know that Ron has been inducted into the CMSI Hall of Fame:
Seth Bradley
Ambrose Haley
Bob Haywood
Russ Orchard
Francis Stevens
John Hartford
Carl Russell
Cousin Loren Gordon
Gary Sparks

Ron, all of us just want to say thank you. We love you, big guy. You have been such a great friend to country music and an old 'redheaded' Callaway county boy. We thank you for your friendship and all your help. You're only eighty years young, so we expect several more years of great country music, along with good advice and friendship.




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