It's that time again for Marty Robbins weekend, as Willcox plays host city for the 22nd annual tribute to Marty Robbins.
It will be held Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Railroad Avenue.
The event will feature vendors, food, and music in Railroad Park both days, and this year there will be a couple of fortune tellers “for entertainment purposes,” said Juanita Buckley, founder and president of the Friends of Marty Robbins.
“Come and learn more of the history of Railroad Avenue and Willcox during a fascinating walking tour,” which will be offered at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, said Don Hammer.
“Watch while the re-enactors stroll the street as real cowboys and badmen did over 100 years ago, and as Marty chronicled in his Western ballads,” he said.
“Enjoy the dance hall routine performed by the Shady Ladies in full costume,” Hammer said.
Then join the karaoke sing along under the ramada.
On Saturday afternoon, there will be a free jam session in the rear of the Marty Robbins Museum, 156 N. Railroad Ave.
This weekend’s event will feature one tribute concert at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Willcox High School Auditorium, 240 N. Bisbee Ave. Video and flash cameras are not allowed during the show.
The J.R. Garner and the Three Wheel Drive Band “will play and sing Marty’s music during the memorial concert,” Hammer said.
Other local and national talent scheduled to perform include Ray Harrison, Jan Phillips, Ernie Menehouse, Mike Ewing, Chris Campbell, Sarah Mead, Ronnie Hazelett, and John Edmonson.
Tickets for the concerts are $15 for all seating, on a first come, first served basis.
The Friends of Marty Robbins is selling raffle tickets for a 50/50 drawing for cash, along with a couple of door prizes of Marty Robbins souvenir items.
2013 Rex Allen Days Rodeo Queen Shannon Radke will draw the winning ticket during the March 2 concert, Buckley told the Range News.
“Join with us as we honor and celebrate the music and memory of Marty Robbins -- singer, songwriter, author, actor, NASCAR driver, and father of Western gunfighter ballads,” she said.
“Even though Robbins was born and raised near Glendale, I feel that the rich western and ranching history of the Willcox area is much more in keeping with Marty’s principles and philosophy of life,” Buckley said.
“The Marty Robbins legend started in the Arizona desert. It’s a legend that will live forever in the worldwide history of country music.”
“The Friends of Marty Robbins is a nonprofit 501(c)-3 organization dedicated to the memory of one of the greatest country music talents of all time,” Buckley says.
“Our goal is to maintain a permanent memorial to Marty in his home state of Arizona.”
The Marty Robbins Museum is located at 156 N. Railroad Ave., in historic downtown.
Robbins was born Martin David Robinson in Glendale on Sept. 26, 1925.
He acquired his love of all things western from his maternal grandfather, and his love of music and performing from legendary cowboy movie star, Gene Autry.
Robbins joined a local Arizona band and in 1947 was hired to sing at a Mesa radio station before moving to KPHO radio in Phoenix, where he starred on an hour-long show called “Chuck Wagon Time.”
He soon entered the new world of television and for 15 minutes four times a week entertained on “Country Caravan” before being signed by CBS records in 1951 and recording “Singing the Blues,” “A White Sport Coat,” and his signature song “El Paso.” Robbins’ career soared until his first heart attack in 1969. He underwent a triple bypass, which was still considered experimental surgery at that time.
While recovering, Robbins wrote the song that earned him his second Grammy Award -- “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife,” in honor of his wife Marizona.
He was elected to the Nashville Songwriters International Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, and even found time to pursue an acting career and NASCAR racing.
Robbins suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 57 on Dec. 8, 1982.
For further information on Marty Robbins Tribute, contact Juanita Buckley at (520) 766-1404, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the Friends of Marty Robbins website at www.friendsofmartyrobbins.org
Vendor space is free if you set up for both days, but $10 for only one day, Hammer said.
Make reservations, then bring chairs, table, and shade.
(Editor’s Note: Some information in this article was obtained from Don Hammer, as well as the Friends of Marty Robbins and its website.)