Country music legend steps down from host post
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Oct. 2, 2011 at 5:02 a.m.
Country western fans recognize show business legend Red Steagall for generating more than three decades of chart-topping records.
But organizers and participants of the annual Bluebonnet Youth Ranch Celebrity Golf Tournament recognize Steagall for his two decades of off-stage benevolent contributions.
Since 1981, the 72-year-old Texas native has dedicated his time and talents to hosting the golf tournament's annual celebrity concert, while helping recruit prominent musicians to participate in the fundraiser.
"It's been a marvelous experience, it really has," Steagall said. "The best part about the tournament every year is seeing old friends and making new ones."
Money raised benefit the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch in Yoakum, a nonprofit residence for neglected and abused children.
Steagall's involvement in the tournament, Sunday and Monday at the Victoria Country Club, is now in its 30th year. Since Steagall's hostship began, the Bluebonnet Ranch has raised more than $4 million, or about $100,000 to $250,000 annually for the ranch, helping offset operational costs.
And even though Steagall said he's enjoyed his time as concert host, two years ago, he decided 2011 would be his last year hosting the event.
He decided to pass the torch to Allen Shamblin, another home-grown Texas country musician. Shamblin, one of 22 acts performing in Sunday's concert, is slated to assume Steagall's role in 2012.
Shamblin is known best for writing the Mark Wills hit "Don't Laugh at Me," and co-writing the Bonnie Raitt chart-topper, "I Can't Make You Love Me."
"I'd just tell him to relax and have fun. These are the most wonderful people in the world," Steagall said about Shamblin. "He'll do a great job."
Reflecting on Steagall's exit from the tournament, chairman emeritus and event founder Claud Jacobs said the past 20 years working alongside Steagall have been worthwhile.
"We love him. He's a loving, caring person," Jacobs said. "He's not going away, though. He'll still be involved with the tournament on a smaller level."
Jacobs, who started the tournament in Yoakum with his wife, Mary Virginia Jacobs, said the reason the tournament is a success each year is because the participants are loyal.
"The people keep coming back and back and back," Jacobs said. "And Red will tell you, we couldn't do this without our volunteers."
Steagall's final celebrity concert lineup at the Spring Creek Place Event Center Sunday night featured musicians such as Mundo Earwood, Johnny Bush, Dusty Drake, Jan Howard and Marilyn Sellars.
Past entertainers have included entertainment greats such as Charlie Daniels, Roy Clark, Ray Benson, Tracy Byrd and Con Hunley.
Jacobs said he's looking forward to Shamblin taking over Steagall's role next year and wishes him well in the new role.
"He's absolutely phenomenal. He could not have made a better choice," Jacobs said.