West Virginia Interstate Fair - Mineral Wells, WV on July 21, 2001
Finally July 21st had arrived and it was time for a Marty Party in West Virginia. Mom and I headed out around 8 a.m. and drove for about 5 hours, including stops, and arrived in Mineral Wells, WV. We checked into our hotel around 1 p.m. and rested for a little bit, then freshened up and decided to head on over to the fairgrounds. This was truly a "country fair." It reminded me so much of places right in my own backyard. Luckily they had signs up giving directions to the fair as we went along the kind of narrow, two-lane road. The fair was situated in a large field beside the road. We found a parking spot and headed to the gate. We went in and walked through the grounds looking for the stage, so we'd know where we needed to be come showtime. Found a tent for the radio station that was sponsoring the event and the stage was nearby. They were giving away a free meet-and-greet with Marty for the winner and a friend. We didn't register on the hopes that we'd get to do the Fan Club Meet and Greet. The sun was very hot and not many clouds to help cool things off. We found another little stage area and pulled up some chairs to watch a kids talent show. As we were sitting there enjoying a breeze and some shade, Glenda and Clarence Rummell showed up and came over to vist. Shortly after, more fan club members began showing up. Unfortunately I didn't know any of them, but it was great to see Marty's fan support was going to be strong. We all could see the main stage from where we were sitting and Glenda saw Maria-Elena up there setting things up on stage.
Around 5 p.m., we headed for a quick supper in the 4-H kitchen, it's always good to support local groups, plus the food was great! Afterwards we headed toward the reserved seating area. On our way we ran into Margie Brodmerkle. I was so glad to see her. I knew she was gonna be running a little behind because of her drive and everything and was please she made it with plenty of time to spare. She and I headed back to our cars to collect a few things -- me some items for autographs and she got her seat cushion as the reserved seats were metal chairs. Everyone had pretty good seats. Around quarter till seven, my cell phone rang and who is on the line but Cindy Allred. She and Lisa Phillips had driven all the way from Alabama and were stuck in traffic about a half mile away. I told them I'd go see if I could find any more reserved seats for sale and have them for them when they arrived. They got there just in the nick of time. They had 5 minutes to spare.
Now it's time for the big event. The Rock-n-Roll Cowboys are already on stage, all dressed in their black and looking fine. The lady beside me kept saying, "I see him over beside that truck, look, look can you see him?" Marty hit the stage pretty much on time and wowed the crowd wearing those black leather britches, a white shirt and black jacket with pink trim WOW!! I can't for the life of me remember the order of the songs but hopefully I can remember some of them. "Tempted," "High on a Mountaintop," and "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' Anymore" were a few. He told everyone that he and Connie, who was there also, flew in on Friday and had been visting some of Ohio where she was originally from. Of course, he had to pick at her some too, first by saying she was there but she was drunk, which he quickly retracted. You know how that rumor would have flew. LOL! He then asked the crowd if they wanted to hear some old country and everyone yelled their approval he laughed and said, "Okay let's get Connie Smith up here then." His next comment was, "I might need a place to stay tonight!" Someone came up the center aisle to take a picture and the band gathered around for their "famous" bow. They bowed to the audience and then gave us the "rear view". Marty asked for requests and got some for "Long Black Veil" and "Burn Me Down". They closed the show with "Hillbilly Rock." That ended the first show.
Got to meet Kim Moore in between shows and to talk with Cindy and Lisa, and others. Went up and visted with Brad, Gregg and Steve with some of the other fan club members, then wandered over to where Marty was signing and gretting people. We ran into Maria-Elena and she chatted with Cindy and Lisa, then we moved on over where the crowd was. They didn't announce a Fan Club Meet and Greet. I think because the place was rather small, they let anyone that wanted come up to see him. It was about quarter to nine and almost time for the next show by the time I got near him and he said he'd come back after the second show.
Now back to our new seats for the second show. Once again they hit the stage at a run and didn't stop! Now I really can't remember too many songs from the second show. Shame on me, but after almost two years of no concerts, I was just too excited, I do remember him doing "Today I Started Loving You Again." Marty and Brad did the "cross picking" on each others guitars, and got a standing ovation from the crowd. Really cool!!! Marty picked up his mandolin and played "Dark As a Dungeon." That was another crowd favorite. At one point, he was dancing all over the stage and unplugged Brad's guitar. When it was time for Brad's solo, no music!! Marty had a big laugh out of that, but they got him plugged back in and he played his solo. Near the end, lots of people stood up and moved up to the edge of the stage. They did an encore and Marty told us that someone had given him a present that their Mother had made for him and their Mother had since passed on and he wanted to do a song for her Mother. He played "Hobo's Prayer." Such a beautiful song. He really wowed the crowd!! What an awesome show and worth the trip.
We headed back over to where he was signing autographs earlier and waited to see if he would return. Someone in the security area told us he would not be coming back out, but most people didn't leave. Then after about twenty minutes or so, he reappeared. He had changed shirts and looked so exhausted, but he smiled, signed, and talked with each one there. I didn't have him sign anything just told him I wanted to say "Howdy"! Got a hug and had a picture made with him. The picture shows how really tired he was, poor thing, but he was so sweet, as usual. Thus ended another Marty Party! Can't wait for Gray, Tennessee.
Review and photos by Serena Wimmer, Copper Hill, Virginia
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