Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 3:34 PM on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Riders in the Sky ride the range to Homer

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


If you see some tall strangers ridin' into town next week, 10-gallon hats flappin' in a stiff breeze, the tassels on their fancy shirts catching the sunlight, don't be alarmed. There's no need to get the sheriff, because these dudes are just a bunch of good ol' rootin-tootin cowboys. If they look a might familiar, that's because they've been roamin' the range for more than 30 years.

Ayup, pilgrims, it's Riders in the Sky, coming into good ol' Homer. More than 5,400 appearances, 3.6 million miles traveled in all 50 states and 42,000 yodels later, they've made it to the End of the Road.

The Grammy Award winning group and the only exclusively Western Cowboy act to be inducted into the Grand Ol' Opry, Riders in the Sky performs at 7 p.m. next Thursday at the Mariner Theatre. Riders in the Sky also does a free performance for students in grades 3 to 6 earlier that day, also at the Mariner. Tickets are $10 youth, $20 Homer Council on the Arts members and $30 general admission.

"Community support has made it possible for us to bring Riders in the Sky to Homer," said HCOA executive director Gail Edgerly. "Because of our generous sponsors we can offer a free performance for school kids and keep ticket prices affordable for the public performance."

One of the original C & W — Comedy and Western — acts, Riders In the Sky has been performing since 1977, living the cowboy way and "bringing good beef to hungry people" — their slogan. They were the first Western group to win a Best Musical Album for Children Grammy, for "Woody's Roundup," music for the fictional TV show featured in "Toy Story 2." They won a Grammy in the same category for "Monsters Inc. – Scream Factory Favorites," the companion album for the Pixar movie. They're also in the Western Music Association's Hall of Fame, the Country Music Foundation's Walkway of Stars and the Walk of Western Stars. The Western Music Association has named them Entertainers of the Year seven times, and Traditional Group of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year multiple times.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael. armstrong@homernews.com.