Bar J Wranglers ready to rope in DeJoria Center audiences
When the Bar J Wranglers pull into the DeJoria Center on Thursday to start a multi-night run they promise more than just evenings full of singing-cowboy entertainment.
The shows will feature humor, stories and some good old-fashioned good vibes, according to guitarist and singer Scott Humphrey.
"We splash our humor and entertainment with some inspirational seed planting," Humphrey said during a telephone interview from his ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. "We also include some patriotism in the shows and show appreciation to our veterans. We want people to walk away from our performances with something uplifting and encouraging."
In addition, the shows come with a dinner buffet that features green salad with balsamic and ranch dressing, dinner rolls with whipped butter, smoked briskets, barbecue chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, herb-roasted potatoes, desserts, lemonade and ice tea.
Beer will be available for adults to purchase and soft drinks will be available for kids.
These types of shows are what the Bar J Wranglers are about, Humphrey said.
"The kind of music we play comes from the era of the Singing Cowboy – Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and some of those folks," he said. "There is something about the cowboy culture that gives a splash of what the country used to be like when a handshake meant something. We’re proud to saddle ourselves with that kind of reputation and carry on the tradition and reputation."
Humphrey’s father, Western Music Hall of Fame inductee Babe Humphrey, formed the Wranglers back in 1977.
"He had a dream to start a business on a working cattle ranch," Scott Humphrey said. "He wanted to invite the folks who visited Jackson Hole to the ranch for a little Western atmosphere and feed them a hearty meal and have them hear some old cowboy songs sung live while the sun set in the west."
That’s how the Bar J Chuckwagon and the Bar J Wranglers officially got started.
"During the first few years me and my brother Bryan washed the dishes, parked cars and picked up cigarette butts before going to college," Humphrey said. "Dad wanted us to get an education prior to getting into the family business if that was, indeed, what we wanted to do."
Although the Humphrey brothers did have some stage experience by occasionally playing with their father, they had to audition to join the stage show once they graduated college.
"That’s how we worked our way in," Humphrey said.
The band began touring after the father and sons established the family trio.
"The phones started ringing and people wanted us to come off the ranch and take our show on the road," Humphrey said. "Because our chuckwagon business runs from Memorial Day and runs through the last Saturday in September, we decided to go on the road during the winter. So, we made ourselves available to travel and play from October until mid May."
Over the past three decades, the Bar J Wranglers have expanded their audiences to include Southern Utah, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska and Colorado.
"We do a lot of fundraising in our community, but also extend that into other communities," Humphrey said. "High schools, nonprofits have hired the Bar J Wranglers to perform live music during fundraisers and other benefits and in the process, we’ve had people attend our shows from all over the United States."
That has led to performances in Alaska, Florida and at the White House in Washington, D.C.
"We still aren’t known as a national group," Humphrey said. "Our vision was to recruit some pretty good talent and have them return year after year and develop a local fan base."
Although his father retired from the stage a few years ago, Humphrey said the group has recruited some great musicians to continue the band’s family-friendly performances.
The group now features two-time National Men’s Champion fiddler Tim Hodgson, dobro and steel guitarist Donnie Cook and bass vocalist Danny Rogers, he said.
That fits perfectly with the DeJoria Center’s mission – to present quality shows for all ages.
"Our show has always been family oriented," Humphrey said. "You can take everyone from grandma to the little tykes.
"We love turning the heads of teenagers who come to our shows with their thumbs in their pockets and poke fun of the Western culture," he said. "Because after an hour of seeing and hearing us, they are usually the first ones who want an autograph or a CD."
The DeJoria Center, 970 N. S.R. 32 in Kamas, will host a string of dinner shows featuring the Bar J Wranglers from Thursday, March 17, through Saturday, March 19, and Thursday, March 24, to Saturday, March 26. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $65 for adults and $45 for kids ages two to 12. For more information, visit dejoriacenter.com.
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This year’s event will feature a “Virtual Shredder” option for those who would like to participate in the fundraising from home.