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Fairmont’s Sagebrush Round-Up inducts ‘Pioneers’ into W.Va. Country Music Hall of Fame

By Eric Cravey, Times West Virginian

BUNNER RIDGE, W.Va. — While 87-year-old Ronnie Vandergrift was serving in the U.S. Army, his two older brothers Richard and Don were back home in Fairmont becoming famous.

Until has passing at the age of 21, Richard Vandergrift played the dobro, performed a lot of backup singing and, along with Don, had been broadcast live on the WMMN Fairmont radio show, “The Sagebrush Round-Up” and the “Wheeling Jamboree” on radio station WWVA.

Saturday night, the West Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame at the Sagebrush Round-Up and Museum on Bunner Ridge inducted Don, Richard and Ronnie Vandergrift — who became The Famous Vandergrift Brothers — as Pioneers of West Virginia Country Music.

“It’s such a great honor to just be happening, I mean,” Ronnie Vandergrift said. “It’s hard to explain. It is hard to put into words how I really feel.”

Country gospel artist JoAnn Davis, Doc and Chickie Williams’ daughter Karen McKenzie, Roy Scott’s daughters Lori, Lois and Janice Scott of Harmony Scott, Roger Hoard, Johnny Cochran and the Cochran Family were also inducted into the Hall of Fame as West Virginia Country Music Pioneers on Saturday.  

Davis and her late husband Jimmy Stephens, who was inducted and honored Saturday as well, were dubbed “Sweethearts of the Jamboree,” after becoming an audience favorite.

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