Bill Tucker's 5 Cent Postcard and 40 year Frindship with Country Music Star Bill Anderson
Bill Tucker was eleven years old when he tuned in to the radio and ........................the story goes a little like this.
The special contest across the nation was being promoted by K-OY L in Odessa when Bill Tucker tuned in. He heard that by sending a postcard to the station he could enter the contest just by writing his name and his favorite Bill Anderson song. The prize, if he were lucky enough to have his card pulled out of the barrel, was to be a replica of Anderson's famed "Golden Guitar", a Fender product. A young fellow like Bill doesn't have too much cash lying around loose so he only sent in the one postcard he could afford and he did it in a hurry. That one entry was enough to turn the trick.
Almost immediately after the winning card was chosen long distance telephone calls from the Hubert Long office and K-O-Y-L began to relay the news to the Tucker residence. The world began to turn a little faster for the tow-headed boy from the western oil town. An even bigger surprise was planned by Bill Anderson when he found that the winner was a young boy.
Originally the winner was to be named during the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, November 18, but Bill decided that young Tucker should come to Nashville as his personal guest and receive his award in person on the Opry stage. From this point, Bud Brown, Bill Anderson's personal manager, took over the affairs and planned a full round of activities for the young winner and his mother, reserved luxury accommodations for the two, and arranged round-trip airline tickets.
When Bill Tucker stepped off the plane at Nashville's Metropolitan Airport on November 17, he walked right into a country music fan's paradise. He was whisked off to downtown Music City for his first face-to-face meeting with his idol.
They were inseparable as they toured the popular Country Music Association Hall of Fame and Museum. The younger Bill became completely engrossed in the exhibits. They stopped by each plaque in the Hall of Fame and read every inscription.
They proceeded to the animated industry displays, the continuous movie, and finally spent much of Friday afternoon in the artifacts and mementoes section in the second floor museum. When they left, they paused for a look at Anderson's "Star" on the famed Walkway of the Stars leading to the front of the museum
The next morning found them continuing their march on Nashville. First was a stop at the terminal for the Music City tours near the Opry House. Bill Anderson and Bill Tucker joined one of them and spent two hours cruising past the Nashville landmarks and the homes of the country music stars.
For the evening, one of the best shows of the year had been assembled at the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry and all the top performers were on hand. As special guests of Bill Anderson, the Tuckers were granted a special privilege and watched the entire performance from backstage. Young Tucker's knowledge of the stars from radio and records was suddenly expanded as he met the men and women in person. It was a real moving experience for an eleven-year old.
Then his special moment arrived during the Bill Anderson segment of the Opry. Bill and his Po' Boys stood aside and called the young winner out beneath the spotlights where Eddie Miller of the Fender Guitar Company and Anderson presented him with his own "Golden Guitar."
Since that big night in Nashville, the old world has turned around a few more times and Bill Anderson has met many more fans, but he never forget little Bill. Despite the passage of time, the strings on young Bill's personal gold guitar will hold a special luster and the glitter of his memories will remain undimmed.
The visit will have a lasting effect on both Bills, for they each realize that it takes fans and performers both to keep up the driving force and vitality that gives country music its popularity and vibrant good health.
Bill Tucker has since learned to play that guitar and has played many other guitars in many bands over the years. He lived and played in Nashville, Tennessee from 1998 until 2005. He now resides in the small Central Texas town of Lexington with his wife Sharon with their children and grandchildren close by. He continues to play guitar and sing when the opportunity presents itself. And in case you're wondering, Bill still has his "Golden Guitar". It is a valuable piece of
Country Music History, as well as a very valuable instrument.
Since that special night over 40 years ago, the two Bills have kept in contact and have visited together many times in Nashville and many other places in the country where Bill Anderson has taken his show. Their most recent visit was when Bill Anderson brought his show to Llano, Texas in June 2008. Some things never change. They were just like they were that special weekend over 40 years ago, "Friends."