Polish your cowboy boots and dust off your 10-gallon hat. Bobby G. Rice is coming back to Southwest Wisconsin.
The area native son will perform along with the popular Monty Berger and Country Gold Band at the White House Banquet Center in Richland Center Sunday, Oct. 13 from 1 to 6 p.m.
The performance is being sponsored by the Richland Lions Club and Richland County Veterans Memorial.
Tickets may be purchased at the door, or ahead of time at Burnstad’s Market, Ed’s Family Foods, or WCCU.
Dancing is encouraged and food will be available from Country Kitchen.
At age 25, in 1969, Rice left Southwest Wisconsin to pursue his music career and has ever since lived in the Nashville area with his wife Alice Briskey, a 1962 Richland Center High School graduate. Rice also attended Richland Center High School, although only for one-half of his freshman year, subsequently moving to Madison and graduating from East High School.
Throughout the remainder of the ‘60s Rice performed on stage and on regional TV shows, honing his talents with his fellow musically inclined siblings and with a changing roster of area musicians.
During the early ‘70s Rice had a string of hits on the country music charts, including remakes of pop tunes “Sugar Shack,” “Hey Baby,” “Lover Please” and “Mountain of Love.” He reached the pinnacle of success with his smash hit “You Lay So Easy On My Mind,” which he co-wrote and which was later recorded by stars including Roy Orbison, Pat Boone, Andy Williams, and a duet by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.
“I try to come to Wisconsin once a year,” he said. Sometimes he has a gig somewhere in the area, such as the Hodag Festival near Green Bay, Midwest Country in Minnesota, or on the RFD TV cable channel, but even if he doesn’t he still comes to the Badger State to visit relatives and friends.
Rice’s brother Everette died in January, but his sisters Lorraine, Janice, Mary and Beverly all still live in various state locations.
Three years ago Rice performed at the Richland County Fair and two years ago he had a gig in Dodgeville set up by old friend and fellow country music performer Lyle Foley.
“Those were special times,” said Rice. “I ran into people I knew from school and growing up who I hadn’t seen in all these years.”
Monty Berger is another person Rice met long ago. Berger recalls a time about 50 years ago when Berger had a gig lined up in Lone Rock, but the rest of the band didn’t show up. Luckily, Rice and a couple of his band members stopped by the event and agreed to sit in with Berger for a quick show.
“We never met again until the Richland County Fair three years ago,” said Berger.
Rice is pleased with the way his career has gone over the years. He says, “This business has allowed me to have many special times and see many places. I’ve worked in all 50 states.”
Recently, Rice was invited to record an album for Heart of Texas Records in that state.
“I enjoyed doing that,” he said. “They’re traditionally artists and a lot of performers have done projects with them. For the first time in my career I recorded an LP in Texas.”
Rice wrote the title cut, “Down in Texas,” and some of the other songs. “I’ve got serious promotion behind me,” he said. “I’m really excited about that.”
Even more recently, Rice was invited to release product assigned to Century II Records of Nashville. Rice’s song “Down in Texas” was released as a single through that company.
Rice’s new single, also on Century II Records, called “Is This the Way You Say Goodbye,” which resulted in Rice’s first video, which will be released in mid-October. The entire LP will be released on Heart of Texas Records.
“I’m excited about what’s being done for me,” he said.
At the Oct. 13 performance in Richland Center, Rice will be backed up by Monty Berger and Country Gold Band. Berger says that his band will open the show and then back Rice for a while, after which Rice will take a break to sign autographs. Berger and the band will continue to entertain and then Rice will return to the stage.
“Bobby’s new material is exciting,” Berger says. “His songs are doing really well on worldwide charts.”
Berger says that he, the band, and Rice are glad to partner with the Lions and local vets for this show.
“They’re two good civic organizations in the community,” said Berger. “I hope they do well. They’re worthy.”