Sons of Pioneers celebrate 80 years

The Pioneers have been referred to as a “national treasure” by the Smithsonian Institute and have been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Western Music Hall of Fame. The group also has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Celebrities, community leaders and fans jammed into the lobby of the Baldknobbers Theatre Monday afternoon as the Sons of the Pioneers celebrated 80 years in the entertainment industry as well as their first year performing at the Baldknobbers Theatre.

“We’re making plans right now for the 100th anniversary,” quipped Luther Nallie, known as the “trail boss.” “We plan to keep on going as long as we can, and we really love to do those old harmonies, and folks seem to like (hearing) it.”

The group has been performing continuously for the past eight decades and have never disbanded. Throughout that time, only 28 men have called themselves members of the group.

“That few of guys over that many years, it’s pretty impressive once you think about it,” said agent for the Sons of the Pioneers Nolen Berry. “I always thought they were akin to the New York Yankees, because as soon as one member retired, another member was carefully chosen … to fit that ‘Pioneer sound,’ which has become famous the world over.”

The Sons of the Pioneers began March 13, 1934, when the Pioneer Trio, Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan and Missouri native Tim Spencer were performing on a radio show in California. The announcer didn’t care for the name, changed it to the Sons of the Pioneers, and the rest is history.


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