Roy Hendrickson inducted

Roy Hendrickson of Custer was inducted into the Legends of South Dakota Country Music (LOSDCMA) Hall of Fame Sunday in Rapid City. 
South Dakota has a long history of country music and the LOSDCMA was created to retain and honor the legacy of country music and preserve its history. Country music was played around cattle drives, campfires, on front porches, family gatherings and many other places.­
Radio stations started playing country music as early as 1922. Barn dances, saloons and honky-tonks were underway and later came street dances, ballrooms and nightclubs.
An annual event is held each year to induct those who have given so much of their lives to entertain and keep the spirit of country music alive.
Roy was raised west of Custer on the 160-acre Hendrickson homestead which was settled by his great-grandfather in 1897. His grandparents raised 12 children at Four Mile, with Roy being the youngest.  
No one else in the large family played music. However, as a youngster, Roy quickly developed an interest in it. His early musical influences were Elvis, Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Don Gibson and family member Johnny Thomsen.  
His mother encouraged Roy to learn guitar at the age of 8.  He tired of lessons and quit and taught himself to play by ear. He sang so often that family members remarked, jokingly, that the milk cows could not give milk because of his constant singing! “Cattle Call” was one of the many songs he sang to the expressionless cows.
A turning point in Roy’s life came when a teacher overheard his rendition of “Blueberry Hill” on the playground and insisted he perform the song at the Four Mile one-room country school for the school play. This was Roy’s first time singing in public and he found the experience more intimidating than singing to the milk cows.  
He quickly decided that if he wanted to entertain, he would have to push past his bashfulness. So that is what he did. 
In the early years of his musical career, he played bar venues. Mari, Roy’s wife, encouraged him to leave the honky-tonk show circuit so he would have more time for family life and he did so. He began playing gospel music in church and at Christian events. He believes the foundation of a good family life starts with God and His saving grace.  
In 1972, Roy learned the “Auctioneer” song and the audiences actually  thought Roy was an auctioneer. He attended Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Mont., and starting in 1976, operated Hendrickson Auctioneering for 30 years.    
Roy loves music and entertaining and has been a part of numerous musical adventures over the years.  He delights in singing Western, country, country Western, country swing, saddle songs, ’50s, gospel, basically all music, you name it, he enjoys it.  He has earned the nickname “Cowboy Roy.” 
He has played in various chuckwagon shows in the Hills, including Mountain Music Show, Ramblin’ Fever, The Crawford Family, Circle B Cowboys, Flying T Wranglers, The Fort with the Dakota Country Family Music Show, Hill Billy Heaven, Dakota Jamboree, Fort Hayes, Tri County Riders and Palmer Gulch Chuckwagon.  
He has also played in Wagons of the West Jamboree in Colorado, a Southern Gospel show in McCall Creek, Miss., and a gathering of musicians in Thermopolis, Wyo. Roy played as the Chuck and Roy duet for many years with his long-time friend and musical ally, the late Chuck Biegler.  Often, Roy’s son, Brenden, would join the duet. Roy was with the Crawford family from Canada for many years.
He has entertained troops at Ellsworth Air Force Base, the veterans at the VA Center in Hot Springs, an assisted living center in Arizona where his mother and step-father lived, and at senior citizen centers and manors. He has also performed at the Shrine Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., Buffalo Ridge Theater, Burning of the Beetle and bluegrass events in this area as well in Mississippi. 
He sang and played with Buddy Meredith and the Buddies and The Buffalo B Band (Roy’s son Brenden’s band). He plays for family gatherings, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, hootenannies, funerals and celebrations of life and many other occasions.  Roy recalls one such event for an auctioneer friend, Bud Knight, where he was requested to sing “In the Garden.” Minutes before the funeral started, a family member asked Roy to also sing the “Auctioneer” song and “Wabash Cannonball.” The “Wabash Cannonball” turned into a “hand-clap’n, foot stomp’n, guitar strum’n, fun lov’n and feel’n,” thus touching the heavy hearts in the funeral parlor that day. 
Roy’s performances have spanned 50-plus years and were always infused with  humor. He expertly plays guitar, bass, harmonica and says he plays “just enough fiddle to be a menace to society.”  
The love of music is a legacy Roy has tried to pass on to his family.  While his children were growing up, Roy taught them how to play music and sing. In 1985, he and his 9-year-old son, Brenden, recorded an album called “What Generation Gap.” Brenden started playing with Roy at the age of 2 and they have played together over the years. Brenden still plays with Roy, singing and playing the bass at multiple events. Roy’s daughter, Rhea, sang with him at the Mountain Music Show at the age of 7. Rhea’s 17-year-old daughter, Jiselle, plays guitar and drums. Justine, Rhea’s oldest daughter, performed with him at the Dakota Jamboree Show at age 6 and later learned the violin in the fifth grade and participated in the Blue Bell chuckwagon in Custer State Park.  Roy recalls that Justine, at the age of 10, made more tips playing Blue Bell than he did.  
Roy loves to listen to his great-grandson, 2-year-old Zaiden, who is finding his own singing voice and his great-granddaughter, 10-month-old Aisley, who is very amused when she gets a special performance from her great-grandpa. 
Roy will play this summer at Dakota Cowboy Chuckwagon in Custer.  He says, “Music is in the blood. I will be done when no one shows up to listen.” 
Roy said he is thrilled and humbled to have been nominated to Legends of Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame. 

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