BRANSON, MO. — My granddaughter had her pick of the Branson venues, and she chose a second visit to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede.
Jordan is 15, and it was our third trip to Branson. This year she was introducing her cousin Ashleigh to the magical little town in the Missouri Ozarks, and she felt certain the 11-year-old horsewoman from Texas would go crazy over Dolly's trick riders.
We arrived well before show time, because Jordan didn't want to miss the warm-up act, remembering it as a big part of the fun at Dixie Stampede. Tuey Wilson's skills as a juggler and an acrobat are almost beyond belief, and his witty running commentary is only icing on the cake.
Perched high above the crowd on a footless ladder, about to execute a scary-looking stunt involving burning objects, Wilson paused to suggest a few nervous parents might be wishing for a “don't try this at home” disclaimer.
“But hey, that's where I learned it,” he pointed out. “You don't get this stuff at school.”
The Dixie Stampede offers two to three performances a day and is a model of efficiency. A few minutes into the show, the announcer begins to sing a catchy tune about dining country style, and the assembly-line food service begins. Generous servings of soup, bread, meat, veggies and dessert show up on one's plate in rapid succession, all designed to be eaten with no silverware, which just adds to the atmosphere.