There seems to be talent with every turn of the head in Branson, Missouri. There are so many venues showcasing immense vocal and instrumental skill and comedic ability, it’s virtually impossible to leave without having spent at least one evening being entertained. But where did the entire idea originate? Who started the entertainment revolution in the Ozarks and how did it spread like wildfire throughout the area?
Disclaimer: I attended a media event as the guest of Niccole from The Creative SAHM. While this was an event sponsored by the Stone Castle Hotel and Conference Center, all opinions listed below are 100% authentic and mine alone.
The History of Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers
It was 1959 when the Mabe Brothers (Jim, Bill, Lyle and Bob) came together to start the tradition that would literally change the course of entertainment history in the Ozarks. On the lakefront of Taneycomo, the brothers pooled their talent and started Branson’s very first show, The Baldknobbers. Their performance put a stamp on Branson’s entertainment development and their humble beginnings became the pioneering force that influenced an industry that would flourish for years to come.
When the Mabe brothers formed the group, they decided to take on a name that was familiar to that area…and perhaps that area alone. The term “baldknobbers” is not very commonly heard or used anywhere else in the country and, I admit, even had me stumped. Of course, thank God for great hosts and tour guides because teaching us a thing or two was on their list of things to do!
The name “bald knobbers” actually refers to a historically popular group of vigilantes from the 1880s who would meet on the treeless tops of the Ozark hills (bald knobs). A great deal of this we learned during our visit to the Branson IMAX theater where we watched a movie called Ozarks: Legacy and Legends (a must do if in the Branson area.) The term had meaning. The brothers felt it was relative. It was unique. It fit like a glove…and it stuck!
Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers Today
Years later, the Mabe family continues the tradition of performing for tourists visiting the Ozarks with Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers show. Since 1959, they have been joined by a multitude of other talented families and groups who moved into the area to share their same passion for God, family and country. The performance today incorporates second and third generation family members, as well as numerous other individuals whose love for music and entertaining shines up there on the stage.
Experiencing the Talent Firsthand
Tim and Patty Mabe are the patriarch and matriarch of the current crew and are both intricately involved in the performance. Tim is hilarious as Droopy Drawers, Jr, and Patty has a spectacular voice that I don’t think was showcased enough during the show. Brandon Mabe, their son, and his wife, Megan, stun audiences with their duets and their chemistry on stage is more than evident. They are a beautiful couple to watch interact with each other up there.
Joining the family is Jerl Adams, who works closely with Tim on the comedy portion of the show. The sidesplitting antics of Hargus and Droopy Drawers, Jr, are more than just wholesome entertainment. They truly bring laughter to a whole new level and set this show apart from any of the others we saw during our stay. I have to say that Hargus was probably my favorite part of the entire performance. He had me laughing so hard I think I had trouble catching my breath at one point!
In addition to Mr. Adams, the Mabe family is accompanied by a plethora of musical talent, ranging from amazing background vocals to instrumental expertise. Yes, expertise! I was floored by the skills demonstrated by both the lead guitarist (Dustin Gross) and fiddle player (Nathan Agdeppa). Talk about mind-blown!!! I played violin as a child…but apparently underestimated the potential a violinist could achieve. Most importantly, though, is the fact that the entire team works so well together and delivers a show that has you foot tapping, laughing hysterically and thanking God you are alive to enjoy this!
I don’t think it’s too much of a secret that Branson has a very pointed focus ~ God, Family, Country. Wrapped into this adorable show, these three elements stand out as clear as day. They have strong faith and the words to their chosen songs reflect that. They love their family and that is more than evident through the chemistry you see on stage among them.
Of course, like many other shows performed in that town, the Baldknobbers crew also loves their country and those who have served it in any capacity.
Towards the end of the performance, the Mabe family took a moment to recognize those who have served and are serving in our US Military. As these men and women rose to their feet, they were met with thunderous applause. In the moments following, the entire team on stage honored them with an anthem that clearly poured out their hearts and love for this country. It was a beautiful moment all around.
Meeting the Team
Once the curtain closed, our crew had the opportunity to meet pretty much the whole Baldknobbers crew. I cannot tell you how much fun this crew has together. They were laughing with each other and at each other and shared some of the most hilarious stories with us. It was fascinating to hear how each of them found their way into the show. It was a fabulous way to cap off an energizing evening that was already packed with moments of joy and laughter.
Calling it a Night
It was another night full of amazement and wonder. Music to fill the soul, humor to lift the spirits. The show is a beautiful picture of family and friends coming together to bring a smile to the masses. I’m sure this will not surprise you. I honestly believe this is another show you need to add to that Branson Bucket List!
So, let’s say you find yourself traveling to Branson, Missouri. You want to spend an evening singing your heart out, laughing your head off and enjoying every single moment of the performance. Well, this is a show you do not want to miss. I kid you not. The antics of Droopy Drawers, Jr, and Hargus will have you out of your seat, on the floor, unable to get up from laughing so hard. The vocals and instrumental talent will dumbfound you and the chemistry on that stage will energize you.
Don’t miss this opportunity. I know I’m looking forward to seeing the Mabe family again upon our return to the Ozarks. Will I see you there?
New show. New Attitude. Same great Mabe family tradition.
- Brandon Mabe – 3rd generation/Co-Owner/MC/Vocalist Nixa, MO
- Megan Mabe – Brandon’s wife/Vocalist Pella, IA
- Tim Mabe – 2nd generation/Co-Owner/Comedian (Droop, Jr.) Nixa, MO
- Patty Mabe – Tim’s wife/Vocalist Tacoma, WA
- Jerl Adams – Comedian (Hargus Marcel) Aurora, MO
- Todd Bradshaw – Vocalist Maryville, MO
- Layne Victoria – Vocalist Republic, MO
- Dustin Gross – Lead guitar/Vocalist Bradleyville, MO
- Nathan Agdeppa – Band leader/Fiddle/Acoustic guitar San Diego, CA
- Grant Moody – Lead guitar/Utility musician Branson, MO
- Josh Gabriel – Drums Branson, MO
- Tyler Stephans – Bass guitar/Harmonica Branson, MO
- Lance Conque – Keyboard Layfayette, Louisiana
- Bob Leftridge – Pre-show Ozark, MO
For more information visit www.baldknobbers.com.
**Recipient of 2018 Most Outstanding Influencer / Best Blogging Branson Video (video not available)**
For more info on things to do around Branson, check out these #BloggingBranson posts!
- The Titanic Museum
- Silver Dollar City
- Track Family Fun Parks
- Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction
- Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex
Other shows to see in town:
Before your trip, don’t forget to check out Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center for a great place to stay during your visit to Branson!