August 2013


Annette Hawkins & Kim Copedo with our Awards for Classic Country CD Of the Year for Album - Something Between Us- LeMars Iowa 2013 173 NZ Wall of Fame in the Hall Of Fame in Anita.Iowa 2013 527 On Friday 23rd of August 2013 we set off on our journey to America to be inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. This would take place during the 38th Annual National OldTime Country, Bluegrass and Folk Music Festival being held at the Plymouth County Fair Grounds in Le Mars Iowa. We flew out of Auckland at 6:00am heading for Chicago via Sydney and Los Angeles and finally arriving in Sioux City at 9:30pm Friday night, their time, which would have been approx. 20 hours flying. We were doing quite well until we got to Chicago where we kind of lost track of time and missed the final connecting flight to Sioux City (oops panic stations). However, the airline people were on to it and organized overnight accommodation for us and transferred us to a flight the next day. We telephoned the people that were going to be hosting us in Le Mars to explain the situation and looked forward to meeting them on our arrival. Saturday the 24th we arrived at Sioux City Airport to be met by Marlene and Gary Gearke our hosts for the week of the festival. We collected our luggage which had arrived the previous day and headed to Marlene and Gary’s home situated on the outskirts of Le Mars. Any apprehensions we may have had were soon dispelled on meeting this wonderful couple. They made us both feel so welcome and looked after us so well during the week that it was hard to believe that we were 13000kms away from home. We were able to chill out for a couple of days and have a look around Le Mars, the ice cream capital of the world according to the makers of Blue Bunny ice cream, and get ready for the festival to begin.

LeMars Iowa 2013 252 Welcome to LeMars Iowa 2013 155 Winterset.Iowa 2013 427
We had over a dozen shows to perform during the weeklong festival which would include the presentation of our induction certificates and also the” International Classic Country CD of the Year 2013 Award” for our duo cd “Something Between Us” from the USA Rural Roots Music Commission which was an unexpected but pleasant surprise to us both.
Annette & Kim LeMars Festival Iowa 2013 126The festival was fantastic. A little bit hot, 35 degrees and over 90% humidity for most of the week, and a little nerve racking to begin with but everyone was so friendly and received our music so well that we both began to feel very proud and very privileged to have been nominated by Anne George and to have decided to travel to Le Mars to be a part of this great tribute to traditional American country music many in the audience finding it hard to believe that two people from a little country on the other side of the world had been so influenced by their music.
Once we began to perform it just felt as though we were meant to be there and as I mentioned earlier the people were wonderful to us. In particular we would like to thank Rick and Harriette  Anderson, and Danny and Donna Dee who supported us on stage during the week and who gave their time so willingly. We were truly blessed to have them share their wonderful talents with us. Rick was always there to play harmonica for us with Danny orHarriette playing bass. We would also like to thank Lee Muller, a very good friend of Jenny Blackadder’s, for providing lead guitar work for us and also Jacob Austin a young man who played an awesome mandolin.

Annette Hawkins & Joanne Cash & Dr Harry Yates & Kim Copedo at LeMars Festival Iowa 2013 183The festival also featured performances by Mickey Gilley, Barbara Fairchlid and Roy Morris, Joanne Cash and her husband Dr Harry Yates , Kenny Serrat and Terry Smith. The whole week went too quickly and before we knew it we were saying goodbye to so many wonderful new friends. We hope to see you all again soon; Bobby Awe, such a gentleman, Paul Martinez,Bill Lear, Jackie Shewey, Darrel Hamilton, Dale Eichor, Boxcar Bob and his good wife Brenda, Francis Hahn, Bill Hendren and Whats her name, Michael Thoma, Storm and Snow Seymour, The Austin family, the Wilburns, Larry Harms, David Green, JeremieFaga, Frank Tuma and all those that travelled so far to support the festival and welcomed us into their world of country music. As I said before we both felt very privileged and honoured to be a part of your festival.A big thank you to Bob and Sheila Everhart for organizing such a massive event and for giving us an open invitation to return to the festival when we are able to.

We also had to say goodbye to our kiwi friends Denise and Roger Tibbs. Roger was also performing at the festival and is doing a great job. He is very popular in the Midwest United States and is having a great time touring with Mary and Tex Schutz. Roger kindly invited us to sing with him during one of his spots which was a bit of a buzz for us. We definitely hope to catch up with Roger and Denise at the Marton Country Music Festival in January 2014.

Well, the festival had come to an end and so had our time in Le Mars. We spent Labor Day holiday with Marlene and Gary and their family enjoying a lovely home cooked meal. On Tuesday they drove us down to Sioux City where we hired a car to head off and see a little bit of Iowa before we headed home. It was a very sad moment to say the least. Saying goodbye, to Marlene and Gary, was a little difficult, they had made our stay with them so enjoyable that we do look forward very much to returning in the near future.

Once Gary had directed us to the right off ramp we were on our way, a quick stop at the information centre to gather maps and brochures, and a check that we were on the right side of the road. All was good. We had decided to make our way down to Anita, where the Hall of Fame was situated, and had arranged with Bob to meet him there on the Thursday before we flew home so we had a couple of days to tiki tour around. We thought we might head for the hills, the Loess Hills that is, and a place called Preparation Canyon State Park where some of the first pioneers had arrived and discovered the vast Iowa plains.Today most of the land is planted in either corn or soy beans as far as the eye can see. Once you get into the hills it is the most beautiful countryside. We had asked Gary about wild animals that we needed to be aware of in the area and he had told us that it was notuncommon to see coyote, deer, badgers, foxes,squirrels, raccoonsand the odd story of a Moose wandering down into Iowa in the past. We were on gravel roads checking out small town America. We made our way to Missouri Valley and then west to Desoto National Wild Life Refuge with a small detour over the Missouri river and into Blair Nebraska by mistake while looking for the entrance to the refuge. There is nothing like a hundred carriage train to divert your attention. We arrived at the refuge in the late afternoon and once we had taken in the museum we drove into the refuge itself. We were just at the right time to see the deer coming out to forage near the roadsides and also caught a glimpse of the tiniest of humming birds flitting around the flowers, which was amazing to see. The day was drawing to an end so we made our way to the interstate to head south and find a place to spend the night. We settled on a small town called Shelby. We checked into the motel before heading to the truck stop and diner for dinner. The following morning after breakfast at the truck stop we took photos of the bicycles of Shelby and the main street and made for our next stop, Winterset, the birth place of John Wayne and where the movie, ”The Bridges of Madison County”, was filmed starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood (Check out the photos on our website of this amazing town). We did the touristy things i.e. visited the house where John Wayne was born and the bronze statue where the museum is going to be built and also the many bridges of Madison County. There are 7 to be exact, including the stone bridge where they filmed the picnic scene. If you are ever in Winterset be sure to go to the Northside Café if only to sit on the same stool Clint Eastwood sat on in one of the scenes from the movie. We managed to see all the bridges bar one on the Wednesday so decided to check into a motel for the night and catch the final bridge the next day on our way over to Anita.
We arrived in Anita at approx. 11:00am Thursday and without realising it had pulled up right outside the Hall of Fame. I am not going to explain or try to describe everything Bob and Sheila have in the building. Bob did give us a tour which Annette videoed so we may have some of that on the web page in the future. Suffice to say Bob is a very knowledgeable man when it comes to traditional country music and the memorabilia that he has collected for the Hall of Fame. It was definitely worth all the travel just to visit with Bob and Sheila. We wish them all the best for the future and are proud to be members of the Hall of Fame.
Our trip was coming to an end and our final destination was Omaha, Nebraska. We arrived Thursday afternoon and once we checked into a motel again we drove into the city to look through the old market area and to have a nice meal at one of the market restaurants. Friday morning we were up early ready to find Omaha zoo or Sheplars western store whichever came first. It was Sheplars, and by the time we had finished looking through all the western gear there was little time left for the zoo. So instead we visited two locomotives gifted to Omaha city to celebrate Union Pacific’s 150th anniversary. Check out the photos of the Big Boy steam engine and The Centennial Diesel locomotive on our web site also. From there we delivered our car back to the hire company and flew out of Omaha at 3:00pm Friday the 6th September and via Dallas/Fort Worth and Brisbane Australia arrived back in Auckland at approx. 2:30pm Sunday the 8th of September. What an awesome adventure.

Keeping it Country

Annette & Kim