If I were to ask you the name of the biggest celebrity to ever come out of the state of Arkansas, I’ll bet I would get several answers ranging from Cash to Campbell to Thornton (Billy Bob) to Brown (Jim Ed) to Powell (Dick) to Adams (Julia) to Lawrence (Tracy). Any of these would be great choices, of course, but I’m going to throw out a new name for you to consider today, and he may wind up being the biggest of all (and may already be).
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about 40-year-old Bobby Bones, whose meteoric rise to fame has been nothing short of incredible.
However, Bobby’s growing-up years makes for fascinating reading as well. He grew up poor in Mountain Pine (near Hot Springs).
He was bullied as a child and mostly blind in his right eye. He slept on a sofa growing up because he never had a real bedroom. He landed a DJ job as a teenager and went on to earn his degree from Henderson State University in 2002.
After successful gigs in Little Rock and Austin, Texas, Bobby packed up and moved his show to Nashville, Tenn., in 2013. To say success came quickly would be the understatement of the year as these major accomplishments indicate: He’s the host of the nation’s No. 1 country music show (heard on 150 stations) and serves as a mentor on the hit show “American Idol”.
In addition, he is the author of two New York Times best-sellers, as well as the winner of “Dancing With The Stars” season 27.
The avid Arkansas Razorbacks fan is the youngest person ever inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. He has his own podcast called “Bobbycast” and his own band, Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots.
Finally, let’s look at the philanthropic side of this remarkable young man. He has raised millions for St. Jude’s, and in a touching example of never forgetting where he came from, he buys shoes every year for the kids at his beloved Mountain Pine school.
Bobby has shared that he wants to be governor of Arkansas. My comment to that is with a resume like his, I don’t think there will be many lining up to run against him!
Tommy Jackson is a former daily newspaper editor who now writes a weekly entertainment column. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.