Twenty years and counting for Reilly Springs Jamboree organizer Enola Gay Mathews as she will celebrate her anniversary of producing country shows this spring.
According to Enola Gay Mathews, who is a radio personality for KSST 1230 AM, “The idea was born in 1990 when I heard vintage recordings of Hopkins County's ‘Shelton Brothers’ singing duo.”
With research and the help of friends, she decided to try to resurrect the Shelton's 1950's-era stage show, as a one-time gathering of past performers and with that the “Reilly Springs Jamboree Reunion” was born and held on April 8, 1995. Music was provided by the Pat Minter Band, the VFW Post in Sulphur Springs served as a host location, and Bill Bradford of KSST Radio contributed a live radio broadcast and taping for Channel 18 TV.
“Over two dozen Jamboree alumni came back to entertain the standing-room-only audience. The successful Reunion paved the way for subsequent shows and eventual return to the Reilly Springs Community Center, the Jamboree's original home. Today, a country music concert is staged there on the third Saturday night of each month,” said Mathews.
The musical variety show began on the quaint Reilly Springs schoolhouse stage in the early fall of 1956. Others appearing often at the Reilly Springs Jamboree were The Carter Brothers (Don and Charles), Charles McGuyer, The Asbill Trio, The DuValls (Rita and Mae), Randy Byrd, Darrell Felts and the Rebels, Francell Lawrence, Billy Don Williams, Connie Coker, the Underwoods and many others.
A 20th Anniversary Celebration for Enola Gay will be held on Saturday April 18 at 7 p.m. Music will be provided by J.W. Kinkaid and the Hard Times Band, with Hanah Breck and Hailee Kristee of Scatterproof and other singers, fans and friends.
The public is welcome especially those enthusiasts of traditional country music and refreshing, old-fashioned hospitality.
The Jamboree seats 200, and is a smoke-free, alcohol-free family venue. Admission is $10 person. Plan to arrive early, view the Wall of Fame and enjoy supper in the Reilly Springs Kitchen including an array of homemade desserts.
The Reilly Springs Community Center is located in southeastern Hopkins County at 109 CR 1439. For information, contact Mathews at 903-438-3568 or reillyspringsjamboree.com.